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 information below as been taken from the book called 

“The Brighton Baltics” by A.C. Perryman


 In the early days of the Baltics, each one had its own driver,

No.327, “Charles C Macrae” was in charge of Driver Ted Purser,also tried out all the other Baltic tank engines when they were new.

Ted later became a locomotive inspector.

No.328, Driver Fred Streeter, a driver of very short stature and his fireman Osborne.

These two engines had the driver's name painted up in the cab. By the time the second batch appeared Nos 329-333, after the First World War, the practice of "one engine, one driver" had been discontinued, and no more names appeared in the cabs.

The following drivers, however, kept fairly well to the engines mentioned, though it is possible other drivers handled them when their "regulars" had a rest day or were on sick leave.

No.329, “Stephenson” was allocated to Drivers Arthur Rodgers, Freddie Groves and Jack Yeates

No.330, was allocated to Driver Fred Christmas, and his fireman was Fred Marchant and later on Reg Moore.

No.331, was allocated when new to Driver Charlie Grainger and fireman G. Burtenshaw.

No.332, was allocated to Driver Arthur Huntley, Harry Hoare and fireman Jack Monet.

No.333, “Remembrance” when new, was given to Harry Funnell; and his fireman was Horace/Harry FleetIt was alshandled by Fred Horsman and his fireman, S. Clark.

These drivers were the “regular” enginemen who drove this engine. The Drivers Harry Challen & Fred Wilson taking over on rest days and probably assisting on other locos as well.



Loco Inspector Ted Purser




 Brighton Loco June 1925


This section features the Brighton Baltic Tank Enginemen from 1914-33 and the enginemen that worked on these locomotives. The information has been extracted from a book called The Brighton Baltics.

The author as tried to finanyone of the old drivers whhandlethese machines itheir tank engine daysbuat the time of writing this article they had departefrom this worldHowever he did, howeverfind one whhad fired them in their heyday. The author would only identify the engineman by his first name Jim. This was due that at the time of writing the engineman was still alive.

Jim started his career as a cleaner with the old LB&SCR early in 1914 and within a few months the Great Wawas to burst upon usThe effect of this at Brighton Running Shed, where he worked, was, to use his own words "round the clock manning", and he found himself transferreto the office as a sort of generamessengeboy. His duty was from 7.30 p.m. until 8.00 a.m. the following morning. Jim was-a passed fireman by 1916, but there was not always a loco available for him and then he would be confined to the yard, cleaning, or footplate duty in the yard. Pay for this was 3/3d. per day! If he managed to pass the yard signal, anget out on the running road, he qualified for "firing pay which put it up to 3/9d. per day. A top link fireman was paid 4/6d. per day, and a top link driver 8/per day. "Days" then were about 10 hours.

The Baltics apparently were not too populawith thdriversnot because they wernot up to theijob. Thithey didvery wellbunot vereconomically. The offichad workeoua coal allowance for eacclassand drivers werepaid 1d. Per cwtfor all they could savout of this figure.

Iwould depend, of course, owhat sort of duty yowere onbu5Ibs. per milwas not uncommon! Needless tsay,Baltic driverdid not figure verhigh up on the coal bonus sheetsAll sorts of dodges were used ttry to boost this, and Jim remembers his drivestopping their engine level with a wagoof coal in Victoria yardJim was sent up on the wagon and instructed tpasas many large lumps oveas he couldIt was large stuff and jollgood coaapparently. It was destinefor one of thLondon HotelsAnyway, they helpethemselveto enough to make a difference tthe amount officiallburnt on the journey. 



 Remeberance 333 with its allocated engine drivers Fred Horsman (left) 24.06.1889) and Harry Funnell (right).

The photo was taken on the turntable in Brighton Loco


 On 30th September, 1922, Brighton Driver John Yeates was moving his engine No. 329, 'Stephenson,' on to the Brighton turn table. As often occurs the balance was wrong and before turning could commence, Driver Yeates had to reverse a short distance and then run slowly forward across the turn table until the engine's weight was correctly poised. Unfortunately, he forgot the superheater had to be taken into account and although the regulator was closed in time, Stephenson rolled majestically on and over the turn table, through an 8ft.-high brick wall crashed into New England Road injuring a passer by.

At the inquiry, Driver Yeates was severely criticised for driving a superheated engine within the shed precincts without having the cylinder drain cocks open and therefore not being in full control of its movement. 



 Top Link driver Fred Christmas and fireman Ray/Reg Moore early 1920s

Fred Christmas started in February 1883

On thBalticsthcab floor-boards tended to shrink a bit in service, with thheat, so that coal dust fell through thejoints, on to the framing belowOn thfastesections Jim says thdraught cominthroughwas very unpleasantand brought somcoal dust with it!   .

FreChristmas decided he'd dsomethinabout itand managed to "acquire" several of the afore-mentioned carpets.Thesthe creplacestrategically over the boarjoints anconditions were greatlimproved. Not for long however! An eagle-eyed loco inspectospotted them, and asked a lot oawkwarquestionconcerning their origin! Thresult wathat they lost their firsclass carpets, anhad treverto bare boardagain! 



Driver Charlie Granger, Fireman G. Burtenshaw Ted Purser Locomotive Inspector.

Outside Brighton M.P.D


 One afternoon in late LBSCR days, Harry Rampton was in charge of 327, with Fred Weston as his fireman. On this particular day there was some trouble with the turntable at Victoria, and Harry was unable to turn his engine. Nothing daunted, he went back, and coupled on to his train, his engine now facing Brighton bunker-first! He made an excellent run, and arrived with a few minutes in hand. Fred Weston reported that the engine rode superbly throughout. This is to believed to be the only recorded instance of a Baltic working a first class express bunker-first.

Early In its career 327 was involved' in an incident so fantastic, that it is hard to believe. Driver Charlie Peters, who was also over at the shed at this time and actually received the telephone message saying that 327 was' off the road.The loco was hauling the 8.10 a.m. "Up" fast to Victoria on August 17 1914 and near Hassocks the coupled wheels actually left the road and left tell-tale marks on the sleepers! What is even more fantastic is that some distance further on they re-railed themselves and neither the engine nor the train suffered any damageTed Purser's report stated that he noticed the engine was riding rather roughly near Hassocks! It was this incident which led to the withdrawal of both 327 and 328 and their confinement to Brighton Shed for some time, whilst the works evolved the cure for their erratic behaviour.



Driver Charlie Peters Trails Driver, Mr Gatson the Foreman Painter & Bob Bolton Fitter.


Charlie Peters started on the LB&SCR 3rd week in April 1882 as a Cleaner, Fireman, Driver; and Trial Driver Dec.31 1904 until March 31 1930, completing 25 years as Trial Driver and running over 6000 trials. I have been under five locomotive engineers: Mr. W. Stroudley, MrBillinton Snr., MrMarsh, MrBillinton Jnr. and Mr. Maunsell.Charlie Peters ran engine A800 on trials when new, and that was the engine that was in the Sevenoaks accident. 




 Jim also haa turn o329 Stephenson witArthur Rodgers. This lattemawas a reafireman killer”, the onldriver he was ever with, who woulhave the regulator right oveon the second valve, goindowfroBalcombe Tunnel to Horley. Jim swears that they must have donninetdowthere! Rodgers liked Jim's firingand asked him if he woulliktbhiregular firemaand he would get him transferred to 329. As Jim was unable to put the shovel downuntil thecleared BalcombTunnegoin"up"hdeclinethe offer! Jim says tha329 was fittewitvalves of the "trickpattern and whestarting away froEast Croydonunder thbridge, with down train, Arthur Rodgers would open the regulator wide, many times hittinhim with the otheend of thhandle! 329 would then momentarily "Set back intthtrain" befortakinit away without trace oslipping. At this time, othBrightonthe first class compartmenthad a luscarpet othe floorwitthe Company's initialin monograformworked into thpattern.




Engine Driver Harry Funnell (18.10.1889) & his Fireman Horace/Harry Fleet () standing on Battersea Shed.



Engine Driver Harry Funnell (18.10.1889) 


Harry Funnell was not only a loco driver by profession, but a great locomotive enthusiastHe spent over 42 years in the company's service, 20 of which were on the main line, as a typical LB&SC enginemanHis early main line experience was with the Marsh 13 tanks, untihe took over 333 and many fine runs with the latter stand to his credit.

Upothe advent of the "King Arthurs" at Brighton Shed about 1926, Harry changed to No.799 Sir Iron side leavingRemembrance to Harry Rampton and Harry Challen. 

He was appointed to the post of Test or TriaDriver in Apri1930. He had just completea tesrun to Littlehampton, anon arriving back at Brightonhe collapseandied beside hiengine on June 17th 1931, at the age o59. Railway enthusiasts thus lost a geniamanever ready to discuslocomotives witthose interested in them, by whom he was mucrespected. 



 Fireman Osborne leaning out of the cab on the 8:03 Brighton - Victoria in August 1919.


Wit56 1/tons on the couplewheelsand 22" 28" cylinders thBaltics could get away rapidly with heavtrainand Jim saythat somdriverconsidered thesuperior to the "King Arthurs" in this respectThey were also very smooth ridinmachines, vastly superior to th"Arthurs"AontimJim was posted to "King Arthur" No.797andsayit so shook him up that hwas laid up for 3 months. He asked tbposted back on Balticupon returninto dutyHe considerall locowith no carrying wheelunder the cab tbe "rough riders". 



 The last Steam Locomotive hauled service from Victoria  to Brighton was the 1205 am on the morning of the 1st January 1933. Hauled by ex L.B. & S.C.R. L class Baltic Tank no 2329 “STEPHENSON” and worked by Engineman Arthur Rodgers (is standing next to the locomotive) and Fireman Stoner (is leaning out of the cab).


 The quality of this video is very poor but its how London Bridge in 1931 with an electric suburban train trying to catch up with a Brighton express train being hauled by a Brighton Baltic engine.



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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