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GWR - Drivers Goggles

Discussion in 'Railwayana' started by Hurricane, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Hurricane

    Hurricane Member

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    Saw these goggles on ebay
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GWR-Drive...ollectables_Railwayana_RL&hash=item35e24936c5

    I know most of the modern mainline drivers wear plastic goggles; however the question I have is were drivers issued with googles or is this item a GWR box with some googles procured at some point by a driver? The main reason I ask is that I don't think I have never seen a picture of a driver wearing goggles (stand by to be corrected).
     
  2. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Goggles were used, though irregularly and I've not seen a set marked with railway initials. This contrasts with France, where goggles were 'de rigeur' and were issued by the railway in neat little red boxes marked SNCF. These are a popular item among French railwayana collectors.
    The difference always intrigued me, so I asked someone at the National Railway Museum at Mulhouse. Apparently it was all the fault of les anglais; originally, the French railways got their coal supplies from South Wales, but when we made it prohibitively expensive, they were forced to use the home product, which was generally of poor quality. It had to be crushed and re-formed into briquettes, which when broken-up caused coal dust to swirl about the footplate. This, of course, was in addition to the universal problem of smuts from the chimney, which was a particular problem in France because of their high speeds (so I was told!)
     
  3. Jack Enright

    Jack Enright New Member

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    I've never seen such a picture, either - and I've been told that British footplate crews were officially prohibited from wearing goggles, but . . . as always . . .

    According to the autobiography of a Southern Region fireman, there was a driver on the boat trains who invariably wore goggles on a run. To keep the gaffers happy, though, he would park them just above the peak of his grease-top before pulling into Victoria. As this was in the early 1950s, he was inevitably known as Driver Rommel!
    :D

    For those of you too young to remember, this was General Erwin Rommel - a.k.a. the Desert Fox - commander of the German Afrika Korps in WWII:

    [​IMG]


    The knowledge of Driver Rommel's use of goggles, and of his nickname, was widespread - and not just amongst loco crews. One day a railway officer went into one of the offices at Victoria, and told the clerk that he had some paperwork "concerning Driver Robinson" (or whatever the driver's real name was); "but", said the senior personage, "I've never heard of a Driver Robinson."

    "Driver Robinson?", said the clerk, looking puzzled, then her face cleared, and she said "Oh! That's Driver Rommel!"

    "Is that his name?" said the SP. "I never knew that . . . " :Happy:

    Best regards,

    Jack
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2016
    Wenlock likes this.
  4. 67379

    67379 New Member

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    Has anybody saved a picture of these? The ebay listing has now ended and the photos don't seem to be accessible anymore. I was interested to see how they compared to old style motorcycle goggles. I Googled "GWR driver's goggles" but the best I could find was a picture of a tinplate box for sale in an auction with "goggles" on the lid and "GWR" on the side. I bet they were a popular choice by drivers who had a motorcycle........
     
  5. Hurricane

    Hurricane Member

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