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Moor Street Passenger Station (65) Moor Street Goods Station (39)
GWR Article - Operating Moor Street Station GWR Article - Electrical Labour-Saving Equipment
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GWR Article - Traversing Tables GWR Article - District Inspector
GWR Service Time Table - Instructions Engine Whistle Codes

Robert Ferris has transcribed the following information on operations in the Birmingham area, including Moor Street station, from copies of the Great Western's magazines.

No. 25. A District Inspector, by W.J. Barnes

Extract from Great Western Magazine Vol. 51. No.6, June 1939

It is the responsibility of a district inspector to ensure that the rules and regulations for the safe working of the railway are carried out by the Traffic Department men who signal and work the Company’s trains. One effect of this is to introduce into a particularly varied job one factor which may be termed regular – the continual round of tests and examinations of the men in his district.

At the moment I have 108 signalmen in my district, which is a triangular one extending from Birmingham to Hatton, Hatton to Stratford, and Stratford to Birmingham, over the North Warwickshire line. Each of these men has to be examined every year in his knowledge of the rules. Then every candidate in the Traffic Department for appointment to the guard and signalling grades, and in the Engineering Department for fog, snow and emergency work, has also to be put through the appropriate examination. To complete the inspector’s responsibility in this direction, every man in his department concerned with the operation of trains has his eyesight tested at least once in five years.

Although this appears to be a formidable list, the examination work is dove-tailed into the other duties that, actually, it serves only to emphasise their variety. I have rarely looked through the correspondence in the morning before something comes along to upset any plans I may have made for the day. It may be to attend an enquiry as the representative of the Company or the Department; perhaps to solve an unexpected problem of relief working, this and the annual leave arrangements being the responsibility of a district inspector for the signalmen in his district and for the staff at the smaller stations.

Emergency working is another factor which may upset our best-laid plans. Snow, flood or gale, with the unfortunate possibility of damage to the line, may demand the presence of the district inspector at a moment’s notice, to supervise the working and see that the emergency regulations are correctly carried out. Even when off duty the inspector is ‘on call’ for such work. When it does come along, it may involve him in something like twenty-four hours’ continuous duty, perhaps under weather conditions which are anything but ideal!

Apart from emergencies, it there is any exceptional working anywhere the district inspector is in it. A few weeks ago I was dealing with the Cup Final traffic: sixteen special trains to be worked into that already-crowded early morning period when the workers of the Black Country are pouring into our stations and trains. This week it is the movement of a circus from Oxford to Banbury; arrangements to be made, staff to be provided, and the operation to be carried out on the day. Stratford races give us one of our regular special jobs. There we have a racecourse station but no regular station master of staff. So along we go on the day, taking a staff with us, and see the whole thing through. Engineering work comes along fairly steadily, too, with single-line working and the various steps necessary to meet the conditions of altered working. These items are just typical of life as a district inspector sees it.

Whatever job a district inspector may be doing, he always keeps a watchful eye on the working at stations and signal-boxes; he is always available to straighten out any minor difficulties that may arise – as for instance, in the interpretation of a regulation; and he is always doing everything he can to see that the working of the railway is carried out smoothly and according to rule. Most of his time is spent in personal contact with the men of the district. My experience has persuaded me that two of the qualities he must possess are tact and consideration. By the exercise of these an inspector can do much to promote the efficiency of his district.