Going Underground: Travel Beneath the Metropolis 1863-2013
“A Job For Life” Changes seen in a 50-year career on London Underground 1916-1966
ABSTRACT: In August 1966, when the author was working as a “Motorman” (a train driver) for London Underground, one of his train crew colleagues, a train guard named George Balaam, retired after 50 years service. He told the author he had started as “a boy” at the age of 15 years in August 1916. Although he didn’t make it clear at the time of the conversation, he would have been a junior porter, signal box boy or messenger at that age. After three years, he became a “gateman” on the Piccadilly Line and remained as train crew for the rest of his employment. During that 50 years, there was much change but there was also much that remained unchanged. This paper looks at the 50 years of George’s employment and describes both the constants and the changes that took place technologically and socially on the London Underground during that period.
Piers Connor is a senior international railway professional with extensive management expertise and front line experience in rail project development, planning, design, maintenance, operations and manufacturing in Europe, Middle East, USA, South Africa and Asia. He has a wide ranging recent consultancy portfolio in the UK and overseas. Experience of projects for both existing and new railway systems around the world including London, US, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Taiwan. Publications include several books and articles about rolling stock history and railway delevopment and he is visiting lecturer in a number of universities in the UK. Piers worked for London Underground for 25 years and has studied and researched its history over many years. He obtained his MSc in Railway Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield, and has professional membership of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, member of Institute of Railway Operators and is lead tutor for Engineering module in Institute of Railway Operators degree course. Now employed as part time senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham and studying part time for a PhD.