This is a quote from Wikipedia in an entry about the 1838 Harrow rail tragedy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1838_Harrow_rail_accident
The "cruising" speed of trains at that time was 30 mph. It seems incredible that anyone would take a job that involved climbing and moving along the outside of a vehicle moving at up to 30 mphAt this time train operation was still largely based upon the standards of British stagecoach practice and Port’s (guard) normal travelling location aboard the train was in an outside seat at roof level. It was part of his duty to undertake ticket checks to make sure second class passengers were not sitting in first class carriages. This task required that once the train was underway he would climb down to move along the step boards on the outside of the carriages so he could check the tickets through the door windows.
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