Punch,  47 (1864), 63.

New Railway Signals. (From the Code Godsonian)



Introduction, Drollery; Instructions, Spoof


Railways, Transport, Time, Charlatanry

    Introduces 'a set of entirely New Rules and Regulations drawn up for the future guidance of officials connected with the New Railway Line' which will be called the 'N.S.E.W. Colwell Hatchney Railway' (a reference to the lunatic asylum in Colney Hatch). The rules illustrate the incompetence and confusion associated with a railway company: for example, the 'General Signals' include 'Blowing a Nose' and 'Playing the Trombone', and the rules stipulate that such signals 'may mean anything, everything, nothing, or something'. The rules for 'Time' and the 'Duties of Signalman' are equally worrying. For example, they stipulate that 'The Company intend to run Trains just whenever they like, without reference to any stated times', and that 'The Signalman may wave the Red Flag, whenever he feels elated or excited'. The rules for 'Guards' are somewhat more reassuring. For example, the guard should 'carry all the Acts of Parliament affecting Railways' and that he 'must know the current number of Bradshaw's Railway Guide by heart'.

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