Unionised railwaymen were always likely to develop an interest in parliamentary representation. The place of the industry within the Victorian economy meant that even a liberal state was concerned with its operations. Parliament was involved in the regulation of railway rates and in the raising of safety standards. Legislation was precipitated to prohibit operating practices that were demonstrably unsafe, for example, on brake systems and signalling regulations, following the Armagh disaster o f 1889. But parliamentary discussions and Ministerial responses were coloured by the strong representation of railway directors within the Commons. Some developed a durable identity as spokesmen for a railway interest which they defined and promoted.1 Organised railwaymen could see the presence of even one sponsored Member as a compensation. Safety questions were central to their union agenda: excessive overtime, limits on the working day, the need for technological changes to reduce the appalling incidence of accidents in shunting yards. The dismissal of a stationmaster on the Cambrian Railway, following his evidence to a Commons Select Committee on Railway Servants Hours, made victimisation a matter of parliamentary concern.2 The importance of political influence was underscored by the limited industrial resources of the ASRS. Although membership expanded from the lowpoint of the early 1880s, it remained a small proportion of the workforce and was distributed very unevenly. The lack of recognition, and the variety of powerful employers, meant that the securing of uniform standards necessitated legislation. Early discussions on parliamentary representation in the 1880s were inconclusive but, in 1892, the union’s AGM decided by a majority of five to adopt a parliamentary candidate.