IGNITING THE SUSSEX BEACONS

OF UNITY

THE HISTORY OF THE

SUSSEX BRANCHES OF A.S.L.E.F. 



EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY 

 One of the main reasons for doing these web sites is to try and explain to everybody the history of the footplate grades, the conditions they had to work in and the creation of the A.S.L.E.F. branches within the Brighton & Sussex area.

I am therefore very grateful for people sending me personal photos from their personal collection and for allowing me to display them on the web sites. But unfortunately what is missing, are the stories that accompany them. What I want to do is to try and remedy this by starting to record the remaining stories that are still out there, before they too are lost in the midst of time.

I have added some information about some of the drivers that I know and the comments that have already have been sent to me.

If you too have any stories about your own working life on the footplate, the people that you worked with and the conditions you had to work in please send me and I will post, on the web site.

If you are interested in helping me in capturing these stories by any means possible please let me know.




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the history of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF 


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the Brighton Motive Power Depot

 

COLLISION AT BRAMLEY STATION IN THE 21ST SEPTEMBER 1866

INVOLVING BRAMLEY ENGINEMEN 

DRIVER CLAYTON & PRESCOTT

extracted and adapted from the report by

E.W. TYLER, Captain

 

Bramley station is rather more then three miles to the South of Guildford, towards Horsham. The goods sidings are at the Guildford end of the passenger platform, and the only points which connect them with the main line (which is single) are 314 yards from the platform signal. These points are protected by a distant signal which is within 287 yards of them, and this distant signal is not visible for more than 259 yards to an approaching engine- driver, there being a bridge over the railway 250 yards from it which prevents it from being seen from an engine of a greater distance.

The mid-day passenger train left Guildford at 12.10 punctually on the 21st ultimo, consisting of an engine and tender, a break-van, 3 carriages, 3 carriage trucks, and 2 loaded horse-boxes; and it was travelling according to the engine-driver, Clayton, at a speed of 26 to 30, or according to the guard, Beauchamp, at the usual speed of 30 to 40 miles an hour, as it approached the bridge above referred to over the line near Bramley. The engine-driver had shut his steam he before he reached the bridge, and he observed as he passed under it that the distant-signal was at danger. He told his fireman to apply the tender break, and “looked to see that he did so." He saw there was a train before him on the line. He whistled for the guard’s break, reversed his engine, and turned on his steam. He had reduced his speed to three or four miles an hour, when he came into a collision with an engine and a train of empty cattle trucks, which appeared still to be moving towards him, at 98 yards within the distant signal, and 357 yards from the point at which that signal was first visible to him. He had been travelling for 235 yards of that distance on gradients rising toward Bramley of 1 in 80 and 1 in 100.

The damage to the rolling stock was very slight, but four of the passengers have complained of injury in consequence of the collision.

The damage to the rolling stock was very slight, but four of the passengers have complained of injury in consequence of the collision.

The cattle train consisted of an engine and tender, 11 trucks, and a break-van. It reached Bramley from Horsham at 12.16, and passing slowly through the station, went forward without stopping to the points leading to the goods sidings, to shunt out of the way of the passenger train. The relieving clerk who was on duty at the station in the absence, on leave, of the station-master, received the train-staff from the guard, and sent a porter to the points, as he saw it coming, to turn it into the siding.

The engine-driver would in any case have been obliged to take the whole of his train past the points, or in other words to have gone about 85 yards beyond them, in order to shunt back into the siding, but he could not stop hise train in the required position. The goods' guard was, against orders, riding with him on the engine, and there was no one in the break van to work the break. His steam low; much so, indeed, that he was afterwards unable to push his train back into the siding without assistance from the passenger engine. He went 100 yards further than he ought to have gone towards Guildford, and he “stepped off his engine" just before the collision, and as his engine came, according to his own account, "to a dead stand."

This engine-driver, Prescott, and his fireman,came on duty between 3 and 4 o’clock on the previous afternoon at Bramley, and left Bramley at 4.30 for Horsham. They were then continuously on duty until 1.30 the next day, or for 22 hours. The only rest they had during that time was for four hours in the shed at Horsham. Their ordinary duty extends over 16 or 17 hours. They "sometimes finish work by 7 a.m., but very seldom." They sometimes go on to 8 or 9 am.” On the morning of the 21st ultimo, they were sent from Guildford with a special cattle train at 7.45 for Horsham, when their work ought to have been completed. They then reached Horsham at 11.35, left it again at 11.35 with the empty trucks, and reached Bramley, as above described, at 12.16. 

The engine-driver states that it was the London and South-Western station master at Guildford, who sent word by a porter that he was to take the cattle train.,” and he adds “I told our guard, Dudeney, I thought it was more than I dared to do, to take a special train on a single road without notice. I grumbled about it, as I thought I had enough to do without it, but the man in the yard said they must go.

The guard says "on the 21st September I got back to Guildford at 7.5 a.m.,and then got notice “ to wait till Mr. Dyson (the station-master) come a down stairs. A shunter gave me orders to go. I asked Mr. Dyson if it was right for me to start."

The evidence of the station-master at Guildford is not quite to the same effect. He states that nine trucks, loaded with cattle, arrived at his station between 5 and 6 o’clock a.m. from Barnstaple for Horsham ; that his bell was rung while he was in bed, as the owner of the cattle was very anxious to go forward; that he told the night inspector to see the engine- driver of the 6.40 a.m. passenger train, and to endeavour to get the whole or a part of them sent on by that train; that as the owner did not want to separate them, he sent word by a porter at 7 o’clock to Prescott, that he had better be in readiness to assist the next passenger train if required;" that when he went on the platform he found the engine hooked on to the trucks, and said to the guard, Dudeney, "Are you going to take the trucks ?" to which the guard replied Yes ;" that he asked again Special ?" and the guard said “Yes;" and that as the guard showed him the train staff he did not interfere, thinking that arrangements had been made, (though it is not easy to conceive how this should have been done) at Bramley . 

The fact was, apparently, that the owner of the cattle was naturally very anxious to get them sent forward, especially as they were closely packed and had already made a long journey in the trucks; and as no engine had been provided for the purpose, all the parties concerned succumbed to what became almost a necessity, resulting from the want of previous arrangement by telegraph ; sad these men, who had been on duty during the previous afternoon and were, thus sent forward on fresh work in the morning.

This did not, however, in any way excuse the guard for riding on the engine, (which be evidently was not doing for the first time), or the engine driver and it was most injudicious, to say the least, on the part of the relieving clerk in charge of the station, to allow the cattle train to proceed forward towards the sidings in the face of an in-coming passenger train, which was due to start for Horsham at 12.18, while the cattle train was sent forward towards it at 12.16. ‘The relieving clerk, who had been 11 days at the station, attempts to excuse himself by saying, first that he had no other means of disposing of the cattle train (except by stopping the passenger train, as he ought rather to have done, short of the station) so as to enable the passenger train to cross it on its way to Horsham, and, secondly, that he was not aware how inefficiently it would be protected during the operation of shunting by the distant signal. But he ought certainly to have made himself acquainted with the condition of the signals ; and he ought to have stopped the passenger train outside of the station before sending the cattle train forward to shunt, rather than to have want the cattle train forward to meet it.

This station was not, it appears, intended originally to be a crossings place for truing or a staff-station ; but it was subsequently made a staff station to admit of the engine returning from Guildford to Bramley; and it is now used as a crossing place for goods trains. That being the mm, it would be better to complete the loop-line which is already in existence at the station, with an indicator signal to the points south of the station ; and the distant signal north of the station should be removed to a position which I have pointed out on the spot, whence it may be made visible both from the station and for a much greater distance to an engine-driver approaching it from Guildford.

This signal had been complained of previously by the engine-driver Clayton and others ; and preparations had been made for its improvement before the collision, though too much delay had occurred, whilst other pressing works were being completed, in carrying out that improvement.

Considering that the cattle train was in a position in which it ought not to have been under any circumstances when the passenger train was due, and that it was inefficiently protected by the distant signal, I do not see that blame can properly be attached to the engine-driver, who has himself complained of that signal, or to the other servants of the company who were with the passenger train. 

 

Bramley Loco Shed was opened in 1865, and closed in 1887 

 

Click on the icon above for

the history of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF 


Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depot

 

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