Historylinks Year: 1940
A silver 'Railway Time' pocket watch. Railway time was the standardised time arrangement first applied by the Great Western Railway in England in November 1840 and was progressively taken up by all railway companies in Great Britain over the following two to three years. The schedules by which trains were organised and the time station clocks displayed were brought in line with the local time for London, the time set at Greenwich by the Royal Observatory, which was already known as 'Greenwich Mean Time' (GMT). The aims in the introduction of railway time were to overcome the confusion caused by non-uniform local times in each town and station along the expanding railway networks and to reduce the incident of accidents and near misses which were becoming more frequent as the number of train journeys increased. Railway companies sometimes faced concerted resistance by people who refused to adjust their public clocks, with two different rimes being displayed in town and station clocks. To eliminate risks, railway companies issued station masters and other key personnel with pocket watches which had to be set to London Time. It took until 1880 for the government to legislate to establish a single 'Standard Time' and a single time zone for Great Britain.
Picture added on 18 May 2018 at 10:05