Engine cleaners on night shift, in the canteen at Doncaster, 1942.

Engine cleaners Mrs. Winzlar and Mrs. Talbot
clean tubes in the smoke box. LNER, April 1942

"They were our happiest working years... We were given boiler suits and mob caps,
a bundle of thick, oily cloths and a scraper for the wheels. Each engine had
three girls working on it, cleaning the boiler, smoke stack, tender and wheels.
This was where the scraper came in: thick, black grime and grease gathered there
and this had to be scraped out, cleaned with the oily cloths and dried,
so that the tappers could test the wheels for cracks...
Getting clean at night was a nightmlare. I remember using paraffin, Vim, Swarfega...
Each time my mother put clean sheets and pillow cases on the bed
they would be black in the morning."
Mrs. Glasscock, Cambridge.

Engine cleaners

Engine cleaners at Newcastle Heaton, LNER 1942.


Sheffield Engine Cleaners emerge from a cloud of smoke, 1941.


"At night we took a can of oil, into which we stuffed cotton wool.
We pulled the cotton wool through the spout and lit it.
This was our torch."
Hilda Coe, Leicester LMS.

Carriage cleaners line up for duty, Ealing Common, 22 May 1942.


"We used acid to clean the outside of the trains using a brush on a stick,
which we called Audrey. The acid stayed on for about one hour, during which time
we had covered an 8 coach train. Then we had to wash it off. In the winter
the acid froze on the windows and it was hard work - we couldn't use hot water,
the windows would have broken."
Victoria Simpson, Victoria Station, SR.

Carriage cleaners at Wimbledon Park, LSWR, c.1941.


Women repainting a London Underground carriage, c.1943.

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