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Hop pickers

The railway helped local farmers to cultivate labour intensive crops such as hops and fruit by providing easy transport for seasonal labourers.

Both hop and fruit farming depends on a large amount of labour at harvest time, and the availability of seasonal workers was greatly assisted by the railways. Special trains, known as hop-pickers' specials, were run during the picking season.

Much of this additional labour came from London, where poor families looked on it as a working holiday. Often mothers and children would come for the whole season, staying in hop-pickers' huts provided by the farmers, and would be joined at the weekends by those men who had to remain in London during the week to work.

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