IT’S A RAILWAY DOGS’ LIFE


“Laddie”, now in York Railway Museum


They say that there are 2 million more dogs in the UK now than there were a year ago. Now they’re workers and companions – on the railways they were much valued charity workers. It started in 1882 when a railway guard had the idea of training a dog to carry a collecting box to collect for railway orphans. A collie called “Help” was trained up and worked for nine years collecting over £1,000 (over £140,000 at today’s values). At first, they were called “begging dogs” but later the more respectable term “collecting dogs” was used. Airedale “Laddie”, pictured above, worked at London Waterloo station for seven years from 1949 collecting for the railway servants’ orphanage and home at Woking. When she died, she was stuffed and put in a glass case at Wimbledon station to continue her work. She now lives in the National Railway Museum at York.