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Overalls - A warning - Loco Crews and Shed Staff please read!

Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by Steve, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. 1472

    1472 Active Member

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    One area perhaps where Heritage Railways can improve the way in which they look after their volunteers is to install a (heavy duty! - grade B machines are fine) washing machine or two in the MPD area for the use of those needing to wash overalls which are too dirty for the home machine. The SVR have done this at Bewdley & Bridgnorth to good effect.
    Alternatively on the WSR it is possible to participate in a scheme which provides 3 logoed boiler suits to each individual & launders them as required for around £7/month with locker space to keep them in also provided to each participant.
     
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  2. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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    Yell tells me there are 3 within 5 miles of me... so they do exist,
     
  3. rule55

    rule55 Member

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    There are still laundrettes however I suspect they would have even less tolerance to washing paraffin and oil soaked overalls in their machines than many wives considering that the next customer might object to the interesting aroma. My missus just puts a dark wash in following my footplate clothing (with coal laden pockets) to purge the machine but I guess she may be more tolerant than most.. How must we have coped 60 years ago with men doing this job six days a week and folk not having washing machines at home?
     
  4. irwellsteam

    irwellsteam Active Member

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    In the laundrettes in my uni's halls of residence, either the washer or the drier said not to put materials in which have flamable substances on them as they could catch fire in the drum, so I'd double check before using a laundrette to wash your overalls
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    You said 'either the washer or drier....' implying that you're not certain which one. I can readily understand the drier as it involves a heating element which could easily ignite flammable vapours, etc., and I think this warning is fairly standard. I would be intrigued if such a warning was necessary on the washer, though.
     
  6. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

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    two ways - keeping one pair as "dirty" and another for public / operating ie "clean" ! Many firms and railways operated a laundry service similar to the current WSR scheme, but tbh the dirty overalls were far more common. The danger of oil soaked clothing to the more delicate parts of the male anatomy were not really recognised ....... my father served his time at Hunslets, and in more than one of his anecdotes, his overalls were capable of standing on their own ! I'll have to ask him how his mam coped.
     
  7. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Active Member

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    Pretty sure wearing two sets is a preservations era affectation; I cannot believe those on the footplate for a living changed clothes mid shift. I think they just learned how to stay clean, as I think any of us would if we did it for long enough at a stretch! Dont forget many / most sheds have steamraisers or disposal men to do the dirtiest jobs. Crews signed on an hour or so before going off shed and built the fire up from ready lit.
     
  8. martin1656

    martin1656 Part of the furniture

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    I'm glad to hear the person who got burned is on the mend,
    like many MPD staff i used to keep separate outfits for lighting up/ prep , cleaning and firing overalls, prefering to have a bib and brace and jacket on the footplate, very very seldom would you want to go out in oil soaked overalls because of the risk of self ignition :eek:
    my mum used to really give me a hard time over my overalls, for one they or me were not allowed in the house if coming staight from the railway, it was change in the shed, into shorts and shirt, upstairs into the shower, thn only when i was clean would i venture down stairs, then i would have to take a bucket , sometimes 2, put the railway stuff in them, soaking and they would soak until mum concidered then not too smelly before they would go into the machine. obviously, once i got my own place, it was a case of walk in, dont touch any walls, shed clothes on the kitchen floor, scare the old women next door , well she shouldnt be looking ;)
     
  9. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Part of the furniture

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    I think you're spot-on. I doubt the driver and firemen of the top link sheds, for example, came in 3 hours before train time to light up their pacific and prepare it themselves, drive it to Edinburgh/Glasgow/Plymouth/Whatever and then did all the disposal before going to the pub. Someone of a lower grade and lower wage rate did the dirty job, one of the problems BR faced towards the end of steam when the economy was operating under the post-war consensus and Keynesian philosophy of 'full employment'.
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    When you get to the top links at the prestigious sheds, that probably happened. However, this represented a minority of footplate turns. At many sheds, drivers and firemen would prepare the loco they were going to take out. Even at the likes of Kings X, it would be a driver & fireman who prepped the loco for Bill Hoole to take over.
    I don't have two sets of overalls in use on the one day, signing on in my clean bib & brace and keeping that all day. I do, however, have a prep coat that I wear whilst oiling up and (sometimes) when disposing. for the most part, you can oil up locos without getting too dirty, especially if it is a 'modern' two cylinder one. The hardest ones to keep clean on are those with inside cylinders, (2, 3 or 4) where you have to climb up and lie across the big ends to reach things. This is when you think that the cleaner should spend more time cleaning between the frames, rather than attending to the shiny paintwork on top.
     
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  11. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Active Member

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    Of course they did not do their own full prep. The men had working hours restrictions (though not as much as today), so would not have had time to do anything like what is done in preservation. Don't forget there was just as much re-manning locos through the working day, taking over engines that were away from the shed often for days at a time, just coming back for coal now and then. Also don't forget some of the old railways kept far cleaner engines than we manage to, in the days when labour was cheap!

    Anyway, back on topic, I too am glad the person hurt is on the mend and will certainly read the report when published here.
     
  12. jtx

    jtx Well-Known Member Friend

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    When I go to the SVR for a week, I take a ready-packed suitcase containing 1 set of prepping overalls, 10 ironed shirts, (5 prep, 5 day) and 5 sets of clean, ironed overalls, all packed in the order I need to put them on. At the end of each day, I put them in a plastic shopping bag, together with what I went out in the previous evening and drop them in the car boot when I go out to eat. It took me some years to acquire them all and I have used them for many years. It works for me. I wash and iron them all myself.

    I too had no idea about the fabric conditioner problem and I thank Steve for the warning.

    Regards,

    jtx
     
  13. Pesmo

    Pesmo Active Member

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    This is a well known problem in the oil industry and we are not allowed to use conditioners. On oil rigs and at onshore facilities they have lots of trouble with industrial tumble driers due to the lint that accumulates in the drier and its ducting having an oily residue which catches fire with monotonous regularity which has had serious consequences offshore on more than one occasion. I regularly see an 'all company' safety bulletin on this subject every couple of years or so after yet another incident. If your Heritage railway has a tumble drier it would be worth properly de-fluffing it occasionally i.e. not just the lint trap.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2015
  14. RalphW

    RalphW Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Administrator Friend

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  15. 45045

    45045 New Member

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  16. Black Jim

    Black Jim Member

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    dONT WORRY ABOUT your overalls,I used to wear overalls for about two weeks with no harm done, ther's more important things in klife to worry about!
     
  17. TonyMay

    TonyMay Member

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  18. richards

    richards Part of the furniture

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  19. northernsteam

    northernsteam Member

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    I am the only one who gets overalls dry-cleaned? Or could this be a more dangerous method of cleansing perhaps.
    My local cleaners has a regular order with an engineering concern and mine get done at the same time, it is a lot cheaper than a fracas on the Home Front! In the good old days of my apprenticeship, overalls were changed every week and washed at company expense/laundry, never had any trouble.
     
  20. coalboy

    coalboy New Member

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    Any update on the original post? Has the investigation reached a conclusion that can be shared?
     

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