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.




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

 





 W C Headsman 1926 – 1940, G Gilliland 1941 -1942, F Brett 1943 – 1944, Charlie Stokes 1945-63, 

Jim Sayers 1964 - 1970, John Cook  1972 – 1973, Dave Shopland  1974 -1982, Derek Abrahams 1983, 

Robin Baldock  1984, Roy Luxford 1985 -1994, Martin Gee-Wooley 1994 –, Alison Berry  - 1998, 

Charlie Osta 1999 - 2004, Ron Pegler 2005 - 2007, Alex Button 2008 - 2010, Paul Eden 2010 to date.

 

 

 

THREE BRIDGES

E.M.U.T.

 


  This web page is dedicated to all A.S.L.E.F. members who have worked at             Three Bridges depot over the years, and it features A.S.L.E.F. members who brought the trains of Three Bridges to life.


Three Bridges locomotive shed was opened in July 1848 by the L.B.S.C.R. (Shed Code 3-B).

On 27 January 1964 the steam shed was closed and the steam depot became a Mixed Traction depot. The Mixed Traction depot was closed in April 1969 along with Eastbourne M.T. & Feltham depots

With the electrification arriving at Three Bridges in 1932, this created a new motorman’s depot at Three Bridges (E.M.U.T.) which opened in 1932, along with Reigate motormans depot.

The Three Bridges Branch of ASLEF was opened in 1913 (exact date not known)

 

 Three Bridges Station 1932


LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 2017

Forza America

In response to the letter from Adam Thompson (Journal, April) I am also a new A.S.L.E.F. member. I’m not sure whether his letter was satirical or genuine but am making the assumption it was the latter. If he is, as is suggested, a supporter of the President of the United States I am unsurprised that he wishes to quash any dissenting voices. His presumption of Eric Stuart’s ignorance is typical of the right-wing ‘I know best and everyone else should think what I think’ attitude that seems to prevail in society at the present time.

How dare he suggest that other members should refrain from offering political opinions

because counter to his own views. His own ignorance shows through with his statement ‘President Trump loves the UK.’Trump does not love anything other than increasing his own personal wealth, irrespective of those affected by his actions. He is anti-free speech (his staff bar reporters employed by organisations that disagree with him from press conferences) and makes knee-jerk allegations without supporting evidence (about G.C.H.Q.).

A.S.L.E.F. is a proud, historic trade union run on a democratic basis, and the Journal is a democratic mouthpiece. I would not wish to silence Brother Thompson’s views but attempt to persuade him that Donald Trump is in no way a friend of an enlightened, civilised society (although he may be a friend of the U.K. in the current political climate in this country!) but an arrogant, self-serving, misogynist bully. 

Simon Cummings

Three Bridges 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

APRIL 2017

DAVID SHOPLAND 

THE BIG MAN

It is with sadness that I report the death of retired driver David Shopland at the age of 87. His railway career began and ended at Three Bridges and he served as L.D.C. Secretary, Branch Secretary, and Branch Chair during his 50 years of loyal service to our Society. His only absence was for military service; he served in Northern Ireland and Libya as a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, a period he enjoyed as it allowed him to increase his knowledge of the internal combustion engine.

As a lad he won a scholarship to Collier’s Grammar School in Horsham, necessitating a 14 mile bicycle ride. When not at school he worked with his father on the farm, and that is how his passion for steam power and mechanical things began. Traction engines, steam thrashers, and Fordson tractors all became his play things, leading him to his railway career. He also purchased a motorcycle and rode daily up to his retirement.

David had a comprehensive knowledge of the countryside, Sussex in particular, and a day out in his company was always an entertaining adventure. He was a big man in stature and in character. His whole outlook reflected this, his integrity was massive, his permanent smile was known by the numerous friends and acquaintances he had, not only among the railway fraternity but from all walks of life. A great chasm has been left by his passing that will never, in a lifetime, be filled. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his devoted family.

Paul Eden

Three Bridges 

THREE BRIDGES MEMBERS BADGE

Three Bridges Member (Southern) Picket Line
Tuesday 13th December 2016
DAY 1
BEN WILSON COLLECTION

1st shift Unknown (1), Unkown (2), Tony Hind, Paul Eden, Unknown (3), Unknown (4) Ben Wilson, 
Unknown (5) & Unknown (6).
DARRON CANTANEOCOLLECTION
2nd shift Chris Bradlbury, Glenn Pegler, Roy Luxford, Unknown (1), Paul Eden
Unknown (2) Unknown (3) & Unknown (4)
Three Bridges members (Southern) Picket Line
Wednesday 14th December 2016
DAY 2
IAN HUNT COLLECTION
PAUL EDEN COLLECTION

Three Bridgs Members (Southern) Picket Line 

Friday 16th December 2016

DAY 3

PAUL EDEN COLLECTION

Three Bridges Branch Picket Line 

Tuesday 10th January 2017

DAY 4

IAN HUGHES COLLECTION

Three Bridges Branch Picket Line 

Wednesday 11th January 2017

DAY 5

IAN HUNT COLLECTION

Three Bridges Branch Picket Line 

Friday 13th January 2017

DAY 6

IAN HUNT COLLECTION


PAUL EDEN COLLECTION

Three Bridges day 6 picket line, solidarity to all including local Labour councillors and members, along with fellow ASLEF members from Portsmouth, Sheffield, Isle of Wight and St Pancras branches. 

 

THREE BRIDGES GENERAL SALE BADGE

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

SEPTEMBER 2016

NEIL ANDERSON JOVIAL MAN

Neil Anderson sadly passed away recently after a short illness. He was 86. Neil and Florence came to live at Three Bridges from Edinburgh after the Beeching cuts. Neil first went to Epsom Downs then Coulsdon North, Selhurst and, finally, Three Bridges. Neil retired in 1995. He was always a pleasant and jovial person to be with, and a keen branch member. Dave Shopland, RMS 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

SEPTEMBER 2016

OFF TO OZ

Three Bridges wishes all the best in retirement to Steve White and Dave Kington. Steve has been a loyal member for over 40 years, starting on the railway in 1974 at redhill (where his dad was a steam driver) as a traction trainee. Steve, a great character, moved to Three Bridges in 1998. Dave, who started here, has been a member for over 15 years and is moving to pastures new by emigrating to australia. Presentations were made at our meeting, attended by many friends from the railway, and we would like to wish them both all the best in the future.

Paul Eden, branch secretary 

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

NOVEMBER 2015


General Secretary Mick Whelan presented Roy Luxford, Southern Company Council, with honorary membership of A.S.L.E.F. – one of a very select band – at the Executive Committee meeting on 22 September. Mick praised Roy’s ‘outstanding’ work for this union while Roy talked dryly of 'having been around so long, in the same place, with so many companies coming and going, I am now their corporate memory of this industry.’ 


Right Mick Whelan and Roy Luxford 

 

 März Colombini E.C. District No.1, Mick Whelan General Secretary, Roy Luxford 

and Mark Letley & Dave Mansfield (Three Bridges L.D.C.) 

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

DECEMBER 2014

Dirty deal that’s a direct attack on democracy 

ROY LUXFORD of Three bridges 
reveals the truth about TTIP which neoliberals on both sides of the Atlantic don’t want you to know 


What do you know about the transatlantic trade & investment Partnership? not a lot? Well, here’s a crash course to bring you up to speed. We need to be concerned because this is one of the most dangerous, and invidious, trade deals ever done.

T.T.I.P. is a proposed free trade agreement between the European union and the united states of America which would hand enormous powers over to big business, threatening public services, workers’ rights, food safety and the environment. it is a direct attack on our democracy.

SECRET COURTS

But all our political parties, except the greens, support this agreement on the grounds that it will ‘make us better off’. The Labour Party backs the idea, but not the right of companies to sue governments, and the Liberal Democrats are adopting the same stance. But the hypocritical Conservative Party, which wants to repatriate laws from the E.U., including those that gave us the working time directive, paid holidays, and the right to sickness leave not counted as holiday, is prepared to enter into an agreement being negotiated in secret by the very bureaucrats they like to criticise on a daily basis.

This trade agreement, if it goes through as drafted, will give multi-national companies based in offshore tax havens and us corporations the right to sue democratically-elected governments which pass laws which, they think, will affect their profits or shareholders. And such claims will, shamefully, be heard in a secret court with no right of appeal. What price democracy?

The # no T.T.I.P. Times reports that Slovakia was forced to pay €22 million to the insurer Achmea when it tried to introduce public health insurance. Egypt is being sued by Veolia for $80 million for raising the minimum wage. Argentina has coughed up more than $1 billion after being sued by water and electricity companies (including E.D.F.) for freezing utility prices. Australia is being sued by Philip Morris for protecting public health by introducing plain cigarette packets and the tobacco giant has threatened to sue the U.K. government if it follows suit. And Canada is being sued for $500 million by the us drug company Eli Lilly because it refused a patent on one of the firm’s drugs (it doesn’t do what the company claims) and is, consequently, ‘depriving us of expected future profits.’ It’s outrageous!

NO PUBLIC OWNERSHIP

And it means we would be unable to bring industries, like the utility companies, and our own railway industry, back into public ownership as the companies that own or operate these industries would be off to the secret court to stop it.

The Council of Europe would give big business, and their oily lobbyists in Brussels, the right to be involved in the law-making process long before any public democratic debate takes place.

Food safety, consumer protection, the environment and many other areas would be jeopardised because ‘free trade’ and the right of capitalist companies ‘red in tooth and claw’ to ride roughshod over regulations to protect people would take precedence. Trip would entrench in law privatisation – allowing a few to exploit for private profit what should belong to us all – and the capitalist model of running an economy which has failed most of the people of this world.

Medicines will become much dearer as companies act to prevent inexpensive generic treatments being produced and brought to market. Data exclusivity will mean that clinical trial data can only be used by the company that paid for the trial. A similar rule forced the Jordanian government to spend an additional $22 million on brand name drugs between 2002 and 2006.

STANDARDS AT RISK

T.T.I.P. will also allow the big pharmaceutical companies to sue countries that use their legal right to access generic medicines in a health emergency. Countries around the world are already facing lawsuits for implementing proper public health policies from multinationals more interested in making money than saving people’s lives.

The safety standards on which we rely for everything we buy will be put at risk by T.T.I.P. as will the energy and climate policies needed to save our planet. Ditto the new financial regulations designed to prevent banks from gambling with our money and creating another global economic crisis.

The world’s biggest industrial conglomerates, agribusinesses and financial service providers want to rewrite these safeguards and enshrine ‘corporate rights’ behind closed doors. so if genetically modified frankenstein food doesn’t make it through formal negotiations, ‘regulatory co-operation’ will give agribusiness a permanent mechanism for promoting these dangerous products.

Please contact your M.P. and M.E.P. and make your views known, as if this goes ahead, as currently drafted, we might as well not bother electing any representatives ever again. 

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

OCTOBER 2014

Thank you, Brothers


I would like to thank Graham Morris and Southern DFC for all their help in getting my job back. I would also like to say a massive thank you to all the depots that also voted for action in support of me; I was deeply touched. And a massive thanks to all my friends and colleagues for your support, without which I don’t think I would have got through this horrible period in my life.

My brave daughter Eleanor contracted meningitis when she was eight, which led to complications, including endocarditis, which severely damaged her heart. After six cardio bypass operations she needed a heart transplant.

We were very fortunate that she received a new heart but she had complications and we nearly lost her on several occasions. I had trouble sleeping and my health deteriorated as a consequence. I was then given 12 weeks’ notice. But, thanks to ASLEF, and the support of my colleagues, I am now back driving, with my health issues behind me, and looking forward to extending my 27 years of service. A big thank you to you all.

Mark Taylor, Three Bridges 

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL
OCTOBER 2014


 Livin’ La Vida Loca

Ian Hunt’s pre-wedding celebrations were full of fancy dress and tomfoolery. Ian turned up as southern trains’ loco Toledo and, with 14 chums, including nine other southern staff, jetted off to Madrid for a weekend stag party which included a trip to the Bernabéu stadium to watch Real Madrid. Thankfully, Ian returned in one piece, and is now happily married to Laura. Congratulations to the happy couple from all his friends and colleagues at Southern trains.

Paul Eden

Three Bridges 

 

 

    LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

AUGUST 2013

I remember Maggie, too…

…and the Falklands War

I have no admiration for Margaret Thatcher and respectfully suggest to Reginald Sargeant (Letters, July Journal) that before he sings her praises he carries out a little research into her administration. The Falklands War came about due to the policies of the British government. Thatcher was in danger of being ousted as Prime Minister and the Argentine junta invading a virtually undefended island gave her the chance to restore her popularity.

That many people would lose their lives fighting this war had no bearing on her decision. Her only concern was retaining political power, conveniently forgetting that her administration had caused the crisis in the first place.

If Reginald Sargeant took the trouble to read My Falkland Days by Sir Rex Hunt he might agree this was not a justifiable war, as he suggests, but megalomania.

Ray Young

ex-Salop/Three Bridges

 

 

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL
SEPTEMBER 2012

MARTIN GEE -WOOLLEY ONLY 56

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing of Bro Martin Gee-Woolley after a comparatively short illness.
Martin started on the railway as a guard at Three Bridges depot in 1982. After a brief stint at Redhill he transferred to Norwood Loco as a driver in 1989. Martin then returned to Three Bridges in 1993 where he remained until his untimely death in June, aged just 56.
Martin was a larger than life character who always had a smile on his face. He served on the LDC for a number of years and was always happy to offer advice and support.
His funeral was very well attended by members past and present, such was his popularity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Stephanie, daughter Rachel and son Harry.
R.I.P Martin, it was a pleasure to have known you. You will be greatly missed by all of us here at Three Bridges depot.
A Hind,
Chair,
Three Bridges Branch

 

 

 

 Les Wilson

 

 

  Ian McQueen c1985

Ian McQueen entered the footplate grade at St Margaret's loco Edingburgh, with the closure of St. Margaret's in 1968, Ian transferred to Three Bridges and later transferred on to Brighton E.M.U.T. 

 In December 1983 Ian did a mutual change of depots with Alan Daniels, and transferred from Brighton E.M.U.T. to Three Bridges. 

In 1989 Ian moved back to Scotland to  Haywmarket depot where he stayed until is retirement.

 

Ted Dente  

 

 

Don Barratt

 Tony Watson Collection

Malcolm Walls Collection
Driver Peter Walls 1976
Left   L-R Johnny Vigar, Don Barrat 
         & Fred Stevens (Horsham)

JULIE TUPPEN COLLECTION

Les Wilson 

 

 

 

 It is thought the driver of the Brighton to Littlehampton train is Derek Abrahams

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MARCH 1992

THREE BRIDGES BRANCH


The Chairman welcomed those present at the Special Branch meeting on 2 February and asked E.C. member Bro. John Davies to give an up-to-date report on the Restructuring talks.

We were left in doubt as to his position and that of his fellow E.C. members and our General Secretary.

There is absolutely nothing in D.R.I. document sent out to all driver in January that is acceptable to the union. John made this very clear - absolutely nothing.

What the General Secretary has asked for now is a balance sheet from B.R.B. showing the actual savings that will be made if we agreed to these proposed changes to our conditions of services. This is a vital prerequisite before any constructive headway can be made in future discussions.

John stated that the £22,000 asked for by A.S.L.E.F. included outstanding monies from previous agreements, like Driver-only, Easement of Manning and Traincrew Concept.

It was also brought to our attention that a leaked document from B.R.B. included a hidden “shopping list” of further productivity items they are looking for from drivers.

There was a feeling, said John, that this D.R.I. document may be a ploy to provoke us into industrial action; or it was designed to stall real negotiations until after the General Election now that privatisation is firmly on the political agenda.

Great concern was shown on what could happen to the B.R.B. pension fund if the railways were privatise. How would the pension fund work and more importably, how would it continue to meet its outgoings to retired members?

The possibility of new companies setting up their own pension funds or taking part of the current B.R.B. pension fund with any current employees they may engage? Private pensions for individual employees is also a possibility that may come about of concern to us all, and make the B.R.B. promises a little hollow in this present political climate.

We were reassured that there would be no possibility of this or any similar unrealistic offer being put to a ballot. Also, at this stage, there appeared to be no question of this sort of document being imposed on us by the B.R.B.

On the question of our future and privatisation John was unable to answer questions any more than anyone else. It all depends on the next Government we get and that is why it is vital to support the Labour Party at the coming election and to get rid of the Tories from power.

 

Derek Abrahams 

The meeting then passed the following resolution: “That this Branch wishes to thank Bro. J. Davies, our E.C. member, for his attendance here this morning. Also through him we wish to thank the other E.C. members and General Secretary who have recently been in negotiations with management over Driver Restructuring proposals.

Through them, we would like to forward our thanks to Mr. M. Tham, the B.R.B Project Manager, who forwarded to us the D.R.I, booklet, which has affectionately been nicknamed ‘Mr. T’s little Green Book’. This booklet containing Mr. Tham’s proposals, has given us all great entertainment value since receiving it through our letter boxes in early January.

“Sadly though, this meeting feels it can express the feelings of the overwhelming majority of drivers on the South Central Sector of N.S.E. when we state that the £13,300 offer made by the B.R.B. in conjunction with D.R.I. proposals is so unrealistic, it cannot be taken seriously.

"To be honest we see it as a joke. It’s a farce, it is comical and simply ridiculous. On a more serous level it is extremely insulting to a hard working and highly productive group of people who are quite prepared to negotiate seriously if the price is right.

“Therefore as drivers and members of A.S.L.E.F. on the South Central Sector of N.S.E., we instruct our negotiating team to continue negotiations with the B.R.B.

“We wish however, to make it clear, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that a minimum £22,000 is the price tag for drivers on this particular section of the B.R. network. If this or a similar amount of money is not forthcoming from management, then to continue in negotiations with Mr. Tham and his colleagues will be a complete and total 101% universal waste of everyone’s time.” 

Derek Abrahams

Branch Reporter

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

APRIL 1992

THREE BRIDGES


Like most drivers who have read the management’s D.R.I. proposals, I feel totally disgusted that we should have been insulted in this way, but I would like to draw attention to B.R.B.’s only real selling point on D.R.I. -that is pensions.

Firstly, the levels of proposed pension increases are peanuts compared to the proposed levels of productivity increase being asked to finance them. But, on a more serious level, what happens to these proposed increases (as well as our ability to maintain our current level of B.R. pensions) should the railways be privatised.

After all, pension money and its possible transfer to new financial institutions and external non-railway private pensions is one of the big selling points for privatisation.

What would be the situation if newly denationalised B.R. staff, now working for one of the new private sector companies - be it Railfrieght, Network SouthEast, Regional Railways or InterCity - decide, as individuals or a group, and proceed to “do a Maxwell” and transfer their current funds and contributions to one of the many private pension schemes?

After all, non-railway institutions will simply be queuing up with new financial offers and incentives to get their hands on the thousands of newly de-nationalised staff now working for the private companies.

At this stage, what happens to the old B.R. Pension Fund, the long-term promises contained in D.R.I., and pensions in general for ex-B.R. staff? Management should clarify the position of the B.R. Pension Fund now, in relation to future privatisation, rather than make vague and questionable promises that may never exist.

D. Abrahams

Three Bridges

Derek Abrahams 

 

 

 

 Derek designed various Three Bridges strike badges to commemorated the 1982 A.S.L.E.F. strike (below).

Derek also produced a number of Three Bridges A.S.L.E.F. Branch badges supporting various N.U.M. branches during the 1984/85 miners strike. 

The money raised from the selling of these badges went to help support the striking miners and their families (below).

Three Bridges ASLEF & NUM badges 1984-85 

Robin Baldock Collection 

Johnny Vigar, Robin Baldock, Bob Home (N.A.C.O.D.S.) & Mrs. Baldock 

Attending the Miners Rally at Doncaster 1984

 

 

 Robin Baldock

 

 Ron Bridle’s retirement 23.11.91 

photos taken by Derek Abrahams

Bob Hickman 

 

 

Left ~ Right: Neil Anderson, David Shopland, Arthur Godden, Roy Luxford, Les Wilson and with his back towards camera, and Don Barratt (?) is half hidden.


Right (L~R); Tony Allen, Cliff Pattenden, Ron Bridle and Syd Ellis

 

 

Photos below are taken from the Bluebell Re-union video


Les "TUG" Wilson & Cyril Hutchings (Bton)

Vic Harris (Brighton) & Bob Hickman

Cyril Blundle (left) & John Newcombe (Redhill)

Dave Shopland & George Hilton (Seaford)

 

Left Right: Tug Wilson, Dave Shopland

& Jimmy Edwards (Three Bridges & Brighton)

Above

Cyril Blundel, Norman Tendall (Bton) & Jim Sayers (Three Bridges & B'ton)

 

 

Jim Covey, Bob Fermore & John Newcoombe

 

 

 

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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