Thursday, 31 May 2012

'Watch Out' for Fagin and co. on a train - 1863

The Caledonian Railway's book of standing orders for the officer's and men of the company from 1863 is one of the most interesting railway instruction books that I have a digital copy of, as it contains rules that I have not seen anywhere else within the Victorian railway industry. Probably, the most interesting instruction is this one covering the petty criminals of the age, and when reading it I immediately though 'FAGIN!' What do you think?

'70. Gangs of gamblers and pickpockets are occasionally in the habit of travelling by the trains. Guards are particularly desired to make themselves acquainted with the individuals composing the gang; and having done so, to point them out to the passengers, station-masters, police, and porters, at every station the train stops at.

When the law cannot be brought to bear against these men, the object of every person must be to expose them.

Their tickets must be frequently examined; they must be watched at stations, and not allowed to enter on to the platform without having first purchased tickets. If there are more than one, they must all be locked up in one compartment, and never allowed to change carriages: and whenever they are discovered to be without tickets, or travelling beyond the station for which their tickets were issued, they must be removed from the train, and prosecuted before a magistrate for defrauding the company.

Ticket clerks must be cautious in receiving money from these men, as they endeavour to pass base coin and forged notes.'[1]


[1] London School of Economics, HE1 (42)/221, Caledonian Railway: standing orders based on the rules and regulations of the company, and to be observed by the officers and men in the superintendent's department in the company's services, February 1863, p.30

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