Bible Society has given 12 Bibles to signalmen and other staff on railways in Wales. The move is the continuation of fulfilling a legacy that dates back 143 years.
In 1869, a director of the Taff Vale Railway, Mr T W Hill, died. He was a committed Christian. He decided to leave a legacy of £100 in his will, so that Bibles, New Testaments and copies of the Psalms could be placed in railway stations along the line.
Today Bibles are given to staff in signal boxes and other railway workers.
Current Operations Manager for Wales, Tim Ball, said, ‘It’s a very stressful job working on the railways. The Bible will give people some spiritual guidance and some hope.'
One railway worker to receive a Bible was 38-year-old mobile operations manager Paul Brittain. His job includes dealing with the aftermath of suicides on the lines. In ten years he’s experienced seven suicides.
He said, ‘The Bible will be useful for us all, though we’re not churchgoers. When you have fatalities, or when something personal has happened, it will be good to refer to the Bible to satisfy that need.’
Executive Director of Charity at Bible Society, Paul Woolley, said, ‘We’re indebted to T W Hill for his vision in wanting to see people engage with the Scriptures as they waited for trains and worked on the railways.
‘The Bible is as relevant today as it was then. We’re delighted to give people the opportunity to read what remains the world's best selling book.’
Picture - signalman Christopher Sykes (33) and signalman Mark Andrews (46) at Barry signal box. Picture by Clare Kendall.