The Victorian Railways: A Pop-Up Anthology Journal of Victorian Culture

Journal of Victorian Culture

To celebrate the new ‘Mystery on the Rails’ season at the National Railway Museum, the editors of JVC present a selection of recent scholarship focusing on locomotion in Victorian Britain. With a special introduction by Karen Baker, Librarian at the NRM, find out how these articles influenced their public programme of events and exhibitions.

These articles have already been a vital resource for us at the National Railway Museum as we plan and research our public programme of events and exhibitions. Most recently we have been digging up past railway crimes and their influences on contemporary culture for our new season Mystery on the Rails, which runs from March to September during 2017. Although our season foregrounds railway mysteries by the likes of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers, our research led us back to the beginning of passenger transport: to the fears that were generated and stories that were circulated around early passenger travel. We discovered early cultural markers around notions of isolation, entrapment and passenger anonymity that resurface later in the stories of the twentieth century: the murders on the Blue Train, Orient Express or 4.50 from Paddington touch on the same or similar themes, centralising the drama of carriage isolation and assumed passenger anonymity. Peter Bailey’s ‘Adventures in Space: Victorian Railway Erotics, or Taking Alienation For a Ride’[1] and the two articles on ‘Rape on the Railway: Women, Safety, and Moral Panic in Victorian Newspapers’[2] and ‘Shattered Minds: Madmen on the Railways, 1860–80’[3] by Robin J. Barrow and Amy Milne-Smith respectively, were instrumental in identifying the origins of these fears.

Read the full introduction to this Virtual Special Issue, written by Karen Baker, Librarian at the National Railway Museum here.