Summary - TST 12


TST 12

Tomás Martínez Vara y Francisco de los Cobos Arteaga
Taller Central de Vía y Obras

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Key words: Spanish railways; railway workshop; railway companies, scientific labour organization, engineers.

[ Abstract ]

This paper analyses the evolution of the Central Workshop, a medium-size productive centre accountable to MZA’s Track and Construction Work service. It describes technological and labour organization changes, and makes a provisional calculation of labour productivity during the first third of the 20th century. The study of these industrial establishments is of historiographic interest for two reasons: on the one hand, they are the archetype of the industrial fabric of early 20th century Spain (large establishments were an exception to the rule), and on the other, they constitute the ideal scenario in which the industrial world and the railway world most conveniently meet (and interweave). MZA entrusted the Workshop with the renovation of the stationary equipment, despite having had to compete with quality and prices offered by other, better prepared companies such as Construcciones Metálicas, Basconia or Euskalduna. And the Workshop performed this task with considerable dignity, making the most of the upward trend of the 1920s and the advantage of forming part of the petitioning company. However, the widespread crisis of the 1930s exposed all the hitherto latent imbalances and contradictions in the Workshop’s life and modus operandi.