Watch post 14 On the trail of The Duits Lijntje
At this very spot along the railway track watch post 14 was situated in the old days. A few hundred yards to the west you could find watch post 13. And a few hundred yards to the east? Correct, watch post 15.
Crossing keepers kept an eye on the railway crossings from the watch posts. Apart from the crossing keepers many more people were working around the Duits Lijntje. Hundreds of men and women were busy keeping the trains running, maintaining the track and man the stations. At modern stations a lot of the work is automatized. In former days everything used to be done by hand, certainly at the smaller stations like nearby Eerde halt. For example things like working the signs and switches, loading and unloading goods and selling tickets.
Attentive brakes man
Together with the stoker there was an engine driver on the steam trains. He kept the fire on the locomotive burning with coals to make sure there was enough pressure in the steam boiler. The guard’s work used to be different in those days, too. He climbed from carriage to carriage via a footboard on the outside of the train , while it rumbled on. On goods trains there was a brakes man on every few carriages. He had to be attentive all the time. Was the engine driver blowing the alarm whistle? The brakes man turned on the handbrake immediately. This was a tough job, especially with the cold and damp circumstances in winter time.
Working on the railway track was certainly not without risk. In 1902 the wife of the watch post 13 watcher got killed. She was inspecting the track, fell against a passing locomotive and lost her life there. In 1905 a foreman died near the railway track in Schijndel. He had just got the message that his mother had passed away. He went on his way to share the sad news with his wife. She was working at a watch post nearby. The foreman didn’t see a train that approached from behind and died on the spot. Newspapers then reported: “The accident took place close to the spot where his wife was waiting, so she was almost the first to realise the terrible fact that she had become a widow all of a sudden”.
Do you want to read more about the Duits Lijntje? Go (back) to the translations of the other locations on the railway track in Meierijstad.Go to other translations