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.

Click on the icon above for

the history of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF 

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the Brighton Motive Power Depot


W.J. BARTON 1949 - 1959, P.K. WILLSHAW 1960 - 1963, J. HEWING 1964  
R. PERRIN c1990 - c1994, D. BOUND 2011



page 455


Hello folks! New Cross speaking from Norwood. Just another little brain wave on the Company’s part has made our members remove from West Croydon, Stewarts Lans, Redhill, Bricklayers’ Arms and Eastbourne, to Norwood Loco. As I anticipated, the opening of this shed is a complete chaos so far as locomen are concerned - insufficient staff provided, overtime too bad for words, no system of working in operation - making our lives on the job very uncomfortable, which is a disgrace to the company’s officials who handled this matter, seeing that two years is the time they have had to get down to the opening of Norwood Loco. A fairly well attended meeting of the A.S.L.E.F. men has been held, and their interest in the matter spells good for Norwood Loco. May it continue. We have transferred to Norwood some live wires. I have transferred from a live depot, and it is a pleasure to see that I have gone amongst men who promise to be just as live as New Cross men. Keep it up, friends; it will be needed. Our official L.D.C. candidates Bro. Jowitt, from West Croydon and Bro. Coulter, from Battersea; and the humble support of the men is all that is needed to make our job - a difficult one - into a fairly easy one. We promise opening a Norwood Branch of A.S.L.E.F. at the end of 1935, and I trust all members will make the arrangements necessary with their branch secretaries for a transfer. An official opening night will be arranged, and no doubt Jack Bromley will be able to give us the pleasure of his company on that evening. New Cross branch members can pay their contributions to me until the end of the year. We have some capable officials at the West Croydon branch, and I don’t think we shall want to alter things much, when we have men such as Henderson, Jerome, Barnaby, and many others holding the reins. I had one West Croydon member pulling me up at the opening meeting. Let me say that I appreciated his remarks, also his acceptance of my answer; he is the chap we want, may we al do it to all we think entitled to be pulled up, is my wish. Maitland, Gumbleton, White and Foy are our Foremen and Supervisors, and if they all turn out as white as Foy can be , we can say amen to a depot that will be a credit to us. 

A presentation is being arranged for our late Foreman, Mr. Hollins, of New Cross; let it be a success. If you want to know why, I’ll tell you, if you care to ask me. Mr. Hollins has got a rise in the world; how, I don’t wish to know; but Mr Edge is edging out and Mr. Hollins is edging in. 

Jim Bradley has retired from Section Council work, and though perhaps he has not always pleased us. I trust we shall show our appreciation in a suitable manner for the good work we know he has done. Bro. Sands is having a “go” from New Cross; support him is my request, he has taken on a job which does not interest me. 

A very good A.A.D. this year, the left wing element on the increase; it is needed, in our organisation. Bromley is going, others are coming; they have a job to do, see that they do it; don’t be; asking in your support, but do everything you can to help get back the conditions of service we have lost. 

Our continental outing this year was a great success. We had “Trade Horn” with us, and can’t that boy trade! I’ll say he can! We shall stage another trip to Paris, and any A.S.L.E.&F. member in the British Isles who desires to attended should let me know at the earliest. The outing will take place in June 1936 and will leave London at 11 p.m. on a Friday night, arriving back in London on the following Monday night at 6.30 p.m. Other particulars can be obtained from you humble. The number is limited, so don’t delay in having your name down if you desire a trip.

Our effort in regard to roping in the “Nons” at New Cross was very successful. Our branch secretary, Bro. Eaton, deserves every praise; he along with myself, has received the E.C. and T.U.C. medallions for the work and the success it has achieved. 

A suitable evening to show our appreciation must be arranged; and to all my friends at New Cross may I express my thanks for the associations that have existed between us, and will I know still exist, but one today, to keep his job, has got to be prepared to move. Don’t lose your job through want of applying. I hated shifting, but I was compelled to apply to be on the safe side, and I haven’t forgotten those who did apply and were not successful, though they should have been; it will be a matter for discussion at a later date, and you may still reach Norwood loco. and get that position you have been entitled to for some years now, but which has been denied you, viz., a regular rostered job as a firman.

So long, folks; best wishes to all old and new friends of the 1935 A.A.D. We shall meet again, says.

P. K. Willshaw,

New Cross Branch Chairman        

As a result of electrification extension of 1935 to the East Coast. A number of the junior enginemen/firemen found themselves having to move across the company with some re-locating at the newly opened Norwood Loco Depot. 

W. J. Barton (Seniority Date 20.07.14) 
Norwood Branch Secretary from 1949-1959 the above badge was hallmarked 1951.
Information by Ray Cooper


MARCH 1956

PAGE 286


M.I.C. good Branch Meetings fair; very necessary now for all to attend the meetings owing to the effects of this MODERNISATION on us. Pleased to see Bill Boulton still doing his stuff, Grand chap, Bill - tried and very much proved. The 1956 A.A.D. has gone; serious decisions were made. I have no doubt about the way they dealt with the General Secretary and the E.C. It is up yo us to give our support  to make them a success. Why ask us yo work our Rest Days on Saturdays and Mondays (which we refused)? We have not enough work to employ all our men on these days now, so we can say we have saved them money be refusing! We have a job as a Fireman for Terence Feeley of the Sunday Graphic, and then he can get a Free Pass, I am sure he would be sure usefully employed than by writing articles such as he wrote on June 24, and we hope he liked our resolution. So long, chaps!




MAY 1957

PAGE 177


The men’s side of Norwood L.D.C. consider that the matter of employment of young persons should be first raised by the B.T.C. with the trade unions; it is still the policy of the A.S.L.E. & F. that 18 is the age for employment on the footplate. If this was done guidance could be given to L.D.C.’s as to how to work those who are already on the footplate and not yet 18. It would be most unfair to except Firemen over the age of 18 to do all the night work and those under all the day work, and in our opinion could not operate in a successful manner. Young person engaged today on the footplate are in numerous cases not strong enough to do the work. We agree some youths are remarkably good for their age, but in the main, no. We consider that after the B.T.C. and the Unions have dealt with the matter, it should then (if necessary) be dealt with by all L.D.C.’s on a Regional and Sectional basis. We also consider that if the job of the Footplate Staff was made more attractive such matters as this would not arise.


JUNE 1957

PAGE 218


M.I.C. attendance excellent; to YOUNG ‘UNS reaching 23, get to the classes; we have asked for all of that age in Links 1 & 2 to be passed.

If our friend Bro. Pullen was referring to Norwood in his March article, he is OFF THE ROAD. We have no extra spares at Norwood, overtime is being made up to keep the job moving and Drivers are working here form other depots. As a Steam L.D.C. we do care for both Steam men and Dual Link men, and we still have to realise that we still have steam trains and they must run. The Steam Driver is entitled to the same consideration as the Dual Link Driver, although Don Pullen’s article does not appear so. I have every sympathy for the Dual Link Driver; ny tip to them is “DON’T TAKE CHANCES.

Rates of pay should be £16, £12 and £8; hours per week, 40; pensions at 60, half standard rates of pay. It is with regret that we find that Bro. Ted Bowsher will be missing from the Sectional Council this year. To Ted, thanks a lot!







M.I.C attendances good, Johnnie and Bob still doing their stuff. To them we say, “Thanks a lot”; to those who do not attend we say, “Get cracking” if you do not want to fail the Driving Exam. as some have done. Meeting poor, why? Moaming in lobbies get us nowhere. L.D.C.’s cannot take real notice of moans from such places. The aristocrats of these lobby backchats can be dangerous to us all, as in most cases they do not know what they are talking about. If they came to the meetings they might, which is the only sure way of getting things dealt with in an orthodox manner, and put right. Payment for the job and our conditions are today truly abominable.

A Geddes Axe is needed on the Railway administration, as the first thing to try and make the railways pay. It is top heavy; no outside firm could exist with such a weight. Messing about of Engine Workings and other pranks practised by a few should cease. If these few want their little fun and games they should try them on themselves for a change, because we on the front have had our fill, and are bubbling over.

From Norwood to all Branches: May 1959 bring us Full Meetings, a Fair Crack of the Whip for the Front of the Train, and a Labour Government, all of which are long overdue! 

So long, chaps. Dum Spiro Spero




PAGE 262


Attendance at meetings not good; hoping for an improvement during the winter months. Clear cards by 31 December should be the aim of all of us. Retirements; Bros. Weston, Clark and Harper. Still vacancies for 15 Drivers at our depot. Continual alterations to Engine Workings make our rosters a mockery and very little social life available; Tender First Running increasing and unsuitable engines booked on certain duties which makes our to more trying. What a way to run a Railway! Better pay and conditions is the only way to get the right chaps to stay on our job. Thanks to Assistant General Secretary for the compensation obtained by him for Bro. Killick and myself. I have visited Austria and Holland this year, and conversed with railwaymen there, and I found that their conditions are much better than ours, WHY? At a recent Special Meetings our members, by a unanimous vote endorsed the action taken by our E.C. over the one-day Strike and their efforts to try and implement the 1962 Conference decision. A very happy Christmas to all Branch members and Head Office Officials and Staff, is the wish we send from Norwood Junction.




APRIL 1963



Several members recently transferred to Electrical branches, but new entrants keep the branch at strength, with Political and Journal sales good. Rule 5, Clause 14 is still inadvertently forgotten” by quite a few; it is posted in our depot case just to refresh memories in the interest of those few. We think a “Closed Shop” is long overdue on our job, and this should be our motto 1963.

The L.D.C. have their plate full owing to continual alterations to engine workings, which makes social life nil. Revisions once each month now, plus the usual weekly alterations and daily tampering. “Birth control duties” increasingly; maybe this is why we are still short of 12 drivers. A joint approach by the Norwood L.D.C.s to higher officials and, unless matters are rectified, T.U. Head Offices can expect some fireworks! Essex House has some very competent officials. We say to them, “Get cracking on those who are taking us chaps for a ride.” Rosters are now just a mockery.

I retire from the B.R. in 12 months, so Norwood will want a Secretary. Any applications? Get cracking, chaps. Good luck to Bill Evans in the fight for the 40 hour week.





PAGE 162


Thanks and good wishes to Bill Evans on his retirement. We wish his successor the best of luck in his very difficult task, at a very difficult time. We know Albert Griffiths will not fail us.

It is quite obvious to us all that a Labour Government is the answer to most of our problems. The present Tory crowd have not got the guts to go to the country at the moment, because they know where they will go - out of office. They are showing a very bad white feather and the Labour Party is shaking them with honest facts, without the assistance of Profumo.

Bro. Charlie Newton has just retired, another good Trade Unionist lost to us. Bros. Cabell and Nivison have earned themselves the E.C. medallion for making new members; there is still chance for another to do this, we still have eleven Sons. They must be roped in, for the benefit of us all. We must have facilities in our depot which allow us to conduct ourselves as human beings; better washing facilities, lobbies and lighting, and a clean depot, is the answer. With 100% Trade Union membership we can still attain proper payment for our responsible job, and a pension on retirement equivalent to the salaried staff.







A.G.M. attendance fair. All branch officers filled for 1964. L.D.C. election controversy has now being resolved itself, and I trust all concerned will live together happily ever after.

Thos who have joined us here from the North are a grand set of trade unionists, and the combination of North and South augurs well for all in the future.

I regret to announce the passing away of Bro. Bert Goodhall after a long illness. A good trade unionist was Bert, and may he R.I.P.

By the time this article appears I shall be no more on the “Front End,” owing to having retired at the age of 65. Also my A.S.L.E. & F. work will have been finished after 45 years. I have attended A.A.D. under five “Generals” commencing with the late Jack Bromley, and many friends I have made there from all parts of the British Isles, who will live long in my memory. To my own members here, again thank you for the very kind words and the splendid ovation given me at our A.G.M. I am sure all will give to my successor, Johnnie Hewing, the same fine assistance as you have given me.

In conclusion, I say to you all members, forward the A.S.L.E. & F.! It’s in you hands. Dum spiro, spero. “Au revior and Happy Hunting” is the wish I give to you all.






The first year since I  was elected Branch Secretary has now gone by, and thanks to assistance from other officials my job has been made easier for me.

Branch meetings for this past year have been more in number but there are still not enough members attending other than the same faces each time; we are hoping to see more in the New Year as our depot is being moved to a new site in Norwood Yard, and that this is sure to cause some unrest and new problems to our members.

We have two members on the L.D.C. this coming year, and we hope that the men at the depot will co-operste with them in their duties; they are Bros. H. Plumb and G. Andrews.




MARCH 1965




Norwood Junction M.P.D. has recently taken up its premises and walked, so to say. The depot has moved, lock, stock and barrel, to newer pastures and of, course, there are the attendant difficulties and hardships for the staff concerned. Once again we have the sorry spectacle of a wholesale removal before the new depot is half completed. Maybe the Southern Region has treated its staff a little better than, for instance the London Midland in this matter - but this transfer could have been handled in better style if a little more thought had gone into the preliminaries.


MARCH 2007

Alan is Taylor made for medal!

ALAN TAYLOR of Norwood Junction branch received his 50 year medallion from District Organiser Graham Morris last month. Alan retires after many decades of loyal and selfless service as a local representative, chair of the Council of District and a member of the Appeals Committee.

These years of dedication and experience were recognised by his colleagues at the 2002 Annual Assembly

of Delegates, when they elected him to chair the conference. The members of the Southern Joint branches wish him a

long and happy retirement and years of activity within the retired members section.




I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Roy Luxford for pursuing my claim for Sunday payment when off track. I had an incident in June 2008 and was off track but with a Driver Instructor (DI) on a coaching plan, and was told that I could not work my rostered Sunday.

This resulted in 16 months of Roy pursuing my claim, with the help of once-a-month emails from myself, before it was paid out - despite the fact that it was provisionally agreed in November 2008. Only the sheer determination and perseverance of Roy made it happen.

This is a good example of the type of hard work that the union does on a day-to-day basis that members often don’t see or hear about. The union does great work representing people every day.

Thanks again to Roy Luxford and the time and effort he has given this claim.

S. Cresswell

Norwood Junction


JUNE 2011

Branch Secretaries take over stately home!

A report of ASLEF’s course for new branch secretaries by Daniel Bound (Norwood Junction) ...

Stoke Rochford Hall, a stately hall near Grantham owned by the teacher’s union, was the beautiful setting for the four-day 2011 branch secretaries course. it was the first course A.S.L.E.F. has brought in-house, and was run by National Organiser Simon Weller; ably assisted by Executive Committee members Nigel Gibson and Marz Colombini.

The variety among the 17 delegates gave a good range of viewpoints. We came from Edinburgh to Three Bridges, St Blazey to Saltley and Wales to London’s Underground, and included a couple of assistant secretaries and a chairman among our number.

The first day covered the much-overlooked, highly necessary but sadly mundane Branch Secretary’s job of form filling, while the second discussed branch motions and resolutions, organising and running branch meetings, dealing with circulars, and the art of minute taking!

That afternoon saw the first visiting speaker, and also provided probably the most moving moments of the course. Victor Figueroa Clark from Justice for Colombia spoke about the difficulties and dangers of being a union member in Colombia. I don’t think anyone present had truly understood the situation trade union activists face in that country. Victor showed a dvd which documented some of the many people who have been killed or gone missing over many years.

Day three led us through the intricacies of the A.A.D. (the union’s annual conference) from writing agenda items at branch level to what happens on the floor of the conference. this went well until Marz started explaining what a substantive motion was. it was downhill all the way from there!

The afternoon saw a further two visiting speakers, Chris Proctor from the Journal and Nigel Gooch from H.Q. Finance. They spoke about the art of cooking the books, or was it about cook books....

We wound up this excellent course with a session on recruitment. it was helped by the friendly, relaxed attitude of Simon, Nigel and Marz, but most of all by the focused attitude of all the participants. I feel it has armed me with the tools necessary to undertake my role as a branch secretary for the year ahead. I would highly recommend the course to everyone who is a branch secretary or who would like to become one.


JUNE 2017



Steve Bull, a great friend and servant of ASLEF, passed away on 8 October 2016 at Saint Christopher’s hospice, surrounded by his family, after a mercifully short battle with lung cancer.

He began his railway career, which spanned more than 40 years, as a second man at Norwood. There was a brief sojourn when Steve worked at his brother’s garage, but the tug of the railway was too strong and he soon returned. 

He became a driver instructor and, when the position became available, Norwood health & safety rep, at one point the most highly qualified local staff h&s rep, to the immense benefit of all our members.

Steve had a great love of family; his own, his colleagues, and his railway family. No matter what happened at the end of a debate he’d always ask how you and your family were.

His patience knew no bounds, and this showed as he nurtured each of ‘his’ trainees along. He followed their progress long after they had left his care. Whenever you needed an opinion, Steve’s would be reasoned, backed by knowledge and, no matter what you wanted to hear, it would be the right one!

Steve leaves a loving wife, three lovely children, and a long lasting legacy at Norwood depot. He will be remembered by all who knew him for a long, long time. The union room at Norwood has been renamed the Steve Bull so his name lives on at the depot he cherished. 

Rest in peace Steve. A Norwood man, enough said.

Daniel Bound

Norwood Junction

The Measure of a Man: a tribute to Steve

If your measure of a man is by how high he stands,
counted in feet, or in hands like a horse, you could be pardoned 

for thinking that Bully didn’t make the cut. But you’d be wrong, 

because that man had a backbone strong as running rail steel.

Maybe you feel that a muscled chest, or bulging arms or 

all the rest, is what impresses you? Well, that’s fine I guess! 

But Bully, in a test of wills, had a strength of character that 

could pull a thousand slew, up and down three hills.

If courage is your benchmark, a list maybe of daring dos. 

You talk the talk but, really, could you fill old Stevie’s shoes? 

Bully had an inner power, he had nerve, he walked the walk, 

what we call bottle. I would liken his passion, and
the fire in his heart, to a Diesel 66 in full throttle.

I have known many men who thought that they were great,
some have fallen by the wayside, some I tried hard not to hate. 

The last time I saw Bully, I looked into his eyes, and said ‘Take care’. 

Kissed his aching head, and stroked his hair,
in the knowledge that a real man would soon be dead.

Mick Green



No one left to speak for me

Thinking about doo, as someone new to the industry, i thought of Martin niemöller, the lutheran pastor who spoke out against the nazis.

First they came for the metro guards, and i did not speak out, because I was not a metro guard. It was nothing to do with me, but I did get more money. 

Then they came for the platform staff, and I did not speak out. I did not need them, as I had cameras to see with. 

Then they came for the ticket office staff, and I did not speak out, because it was nothing to do with me. I did not need them, they had machines to collect the money. 

Then they came for the rest of the guards, and i did not speak out, because I was not a guard, but i did get more money. 

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

It’s only a matter of time before they want to replace train drivers; our turn will come, and those who say they will not be able to replace train drivers should look at all the different industries that now have automated systems. Many of us came into this trade because of automation taking our old jobs. I came from the print trade, and can remember when computers first came in, and we said they could never replace what we did, as it was all done by hand and so skilled. Within 10 years, we were all unemployed and now every house has a computer that can do page makeup and print anything you want. Who needs printers?

We are not just fighting for our jobs, but the jobs of our children and grandchildren. taking the money is a short-term solution. We may benefit, our children will not. automation will slowly be rolled out to replace all working-class employment. We are looked upon as an expensive commodity, which they would like to do away with. We cannot stop it, but we can slow it down and should resist wherever and whenever we can.

We must all wake up and say no to doo, support the guards, and take action to stop this automation. it may cost us in the short run, but in the long run we might keep our jobs and secure jobs for the future for everyone.

Steve Cresswell



Click on the icon above for

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