On the railway periodic checks were made to ensure that rule books were up to date and that staff were conversant with any amendments or alterations. In effect a rules exam. These occasions were dreaded by most shunters but were meat and drink to a master prankster like Malc Henshaw. He would ring up his victim on a Monday and adopting his best management voice inform him that he would be coming into the yard on Friday to carry out a rules examination. The hapless shunter would spend every spare minute ensuring his book was in order and brushing up on his rules. When Friday came along Malc would wait until the last minute keeping the poor shunter on tenterhooks and then ring saying he couldn’t make it and would be round on Monday. Some gullible new starters had been known to take their rule books home with them over the weekend. He would prefer, when the opportunity presented itself, to be working in the same yard as his victim. On theses occasions he would slip out and ring from another phone and then return and watch lockers being ransacked in the frenzied search for the latest
amendments to the rule book.
Another telephone prank would be put into operation if he saw anyone sloping off the job early. He would wait a few minutes then ring the cabin under the guise of management and ask to speak to the person who had just left. Most of the old hands were wise to these stunts but on the phone you could never be sure who you were speaking to and new starters were soft targets. On the Railway if you didn’t have ten years service in you were still in short trousers. The old hands would often mock shunters with only five or six years service by asking, ‘Do you think you will like railway work.’

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