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 Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches


Spike Jones, 



Spike was based at Addiscombe depot during the latter part of the 1960s and early 1970s. Thefirst weekday early turn at Addiscombe booked on at 03.41 and the first move on the duty was to propel an 8 EPB formation out of the shed and on to the main line. The driver, already at the Addiscombe end of the train, would then wait for the signal before pulling forward in to the station, changing ends, and working the first train of the day up to London.

Spike remembers that he could arrive for duty at the same time the train was due to be moved out of the shed. He would hurry down the platform, cross over the two sidings and head in to the shed where the train was resting against the buffers stops. There was a downhill gradient when running in to the shed and back in those days, to save valuable time, Addiscombe crews did not feel the need to apply handbrakes!

The control circuit governor (C.C.G.) only worked in the forward direction on EPB stock. Note: The C.C.G. prevented the driver from taking power until there was enough air in the brake pipe to stop the train. This being the case, an EPB could actually be driven in reverse as soon as the driver had put the E.P. key on. This was the standard practice at Addiscombe on the first move of the day.

Spike said he was cutting it a bit fine on one particular morning. After running down to the train and putting his key on, he immediately he put the power handle in to ‘reverse’ and started to set back out of the shed. The theory was that the brake pipe should have had enough air in it to stop the train by the time Spikes cab was over the crossover and on a normal day this would have been the case.

However, once on the move and to his complete horror, Spike noticed that the brake pipe remained at ‘zero’ and was not charging! He shut off the power and the train rolled through the crossover and on to the main line. It was still rolling as it passed through Woodside, the next station along the line, and did not eventually stop until it reached the uphill gradient on the approach to the next station at Elmers End!

Spike went to the auxiliary cupboard and was not surprised to find that the compressor fuse had blown, hence no air for the brakes! He changed the fuse and waited for the brake pipe to charge before driving the train back to Addiscombe and carrying on with the rest of his duty. The relief Spike felt, when the train came to a stand in the platform, can only be imagined!

Spike also mentioned that, on another day, he had taken out a metal lamp post at Addiscombe. He had set back out of the sidings when the points were not set correctly! 



Click on the icon above for

the history of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF

Click on the icon above for

the Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches

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