Caution! Railway safety since 1913

What do lucky charms, bikini-clad women and leaping tigers have in common? They have all been used to encourage railway safety over the past 100 years.


In August 1913 the Great Western Railway introduced a campaign that changed the way Britain tried to prevent accidental deaths and injuries. The 'Safety Movement' used photographs, booklets and competitions to persuade workers to avoid dangers.

Safety education showed workers what to do and what not to do, an idea which became enormously influential. It has been used ever since by the railway industry for both workers and passengers.

This eye-catching and visual approach to preventing deaths and injuries also spread throughout other industries and was soon found across British society, tackling road and home safety. It remains important today, as seen in the annual Christmas anti-drink-driving campaign.

Discover the story of railway safety over the last 100 years in this gallery of highlights from the National Railway Museum's collection. Explore the attempts to prevent injuries and deaths amongst workers, passengers and children, and the lasting influence of the Great Western Railway's innovative safety campaign.

Find out more about working conditions and some of the employees involved in accidents between 1911 and 1915 through the 'Railway Work, Life & Death' project.


Based on research by Dr Mike Esbester and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. View Mike's blog post about compiling this resource.


Background: BR Warflat