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Women workers in the Permanent Way Dept at Reading, 1943

Women workers in the Permanent Way Dept at Reading, 1943


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Filename: 100.jpg

Size: 3136 x 2344 (1.5MB)

Date: 28th February 2014

Source: STEAM Museum of the GWR

Unique Reference Number: HWW2-2 001

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Women workers in the Permanent Way Dept at Reading, 1943

Three ladies from the Permanent Way Department are pictured here at Reading in April 1943 off-loading wooden blocks from a wagon. This photograph is an official Company image, with GWR Chief Engineers Office, Aldermaston. Photographic Department stamped on the reverse. The photo may have been taken to show the work of women during the war, but equally it might have been taken to show joint working between the GWR and LMS whose wagon features in the image. Inter-railway working between the railway companies was actively encouraged by the Government during the war as a means of maintaining an efficient and economic rail service, so staff and rolling stock worked across the different networks in a way that had not been seen previously

STEAM - Museum of the Great Western Railway

Media ID 19938927

Permanent Way Reading Wagon Women World War 2


FEATURES IN THESE COLLECTIONS

> People > Railway Workers

> People > War Workers

> People > Women

> The Railway at War > Second World War

> Stations and Halts > Berkshire Stations > Reading Station


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print from 1943 showcases the remarkable contribution of women workers in the Permanent Way Department at Reading during World War II. Three determined ladies are captured in action, diligently off-loading wooden blocks from a wagon. The significance of this image is further emphasized by its official Company status, with the GWR Chief Engineers Office, Aldermaston's Photographic Department stamp on the reverse. The purpose behind this photograph remains intriguingly ambiguous. It could have been taken to highlight and celebrate the invaluable role played by women in supporting the war effort. Alternatively, it may have aimed to demonstrate successful collaboration between railway companies such as GWR and LMS, symbolized by their joint working depicted here. During wartime, inter-railway cooperation was actively encouraged by the Government to ensure an efficient and cost-effective rail service; thus, staff and rolling stock seamlessly operated across different networks like never before. Beyond its historical context, this print serves as a powerful testament to female empowerment and resilience during challenging times. These dedicated women defied societal norms of their era and fearlessly stepped into traditionally male-dominated roles within the railway industry. Preserved meticulously at STEAM Museum of GWR, this image stands as a tribute not only to these specific individuals but also to countless unsung heroines who contributed significantly towards shaping our world today through their unwavering determination and commitment.

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