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


BRIGHTON E.M.U.T. 1933 ~ 1988



Many of the motormen that worked at Brighton first got their Motormen's position at West Worthing whilst waiting for a vacancy at the Motormen's depot Brighton.



Training School after leaving steam to become an electric train driver taken at No.7 platform London Bridge April 1949 

Seated with cross legs Mr. Marchant (ex B. Arms)

Seated from L ~ R: S. Nash, M. Donague, W. Beadle &  B. Dreery

Standing front row L ~ R: H. Bishop, H. Davis, R. Fulkner (ex Basingstoke, Addiscombe & Farnham) , C. Hopkins & D. Cass (in trilby)

Standing back row L ~ R: Chief Traction Inspector H. Hotts & Bob Wheeler

Does anybody know any of the Motormen pictured above? I am hoping that there may be a link to Brighton or any of the other Sussex depots.

The only info I have is below curtsey of Steve West (Farnham Branch).

The photo was taken in April 1949 at London Bridge (L.L.) whilst they were on their electric training.

Ron Fulker (middle row 3rd from left) who started at Basingstoke as a cleaner and then Fireman in 1938. He got his drivers job at Addiscombe in 1949 and then moved to Farnham in the late Fifties.

The Traction Inspector S. Bass (in the trilby hat) never worked on the steam. When the L.B.S.C Rly electrified with the overhead wires in 1911. In the early days of electrification a lot of the steam drivers did not want to become motormen owing to the difference in wages, so the railway opened the vacancies to the various traffic grades like Guards and Signalmen and they became Motormen.

 The Brighton Belle's

Motorman & Drivers



  Above a video of the Brighton Belle in 1959


Courtsey of Ron Terrill

B'ton E.M.U.T. 1969 - 88

I remember working the 11:00 Belle to Victoria, on arrival at Vic we changed ends ready to take the train on to Grovernor Road Bridge where the Pullman staff prepared their meals for the return journey,it was a perk of the job for them to give us a dinner while we changed ends. When the time came to take the train back to Vic (with a full stomach) to work the 14:00 to Brighton. I had changed ends and waiting for the signal, when the Foreman at Vic., came up and said that a 4 COR (Nelson Unit) was being attached to the front, to go to Brighton! We left on time and because I had to keep the controller in series up to Battersea, I thought we were alright, but when I went placed the power controller into parallel I realised that only the Nelson was working. I kept her open whilst I was thinking out the remedy to the problem and then I realised that the Shunter at Vic had probably only put one power jumper up instead of two, between the Belle unit & Nelson, so I made an unscheduled stop at East Croydon and went back to check the jumpers, and sure enough only one was up, I attached the other jumper and we continued on to Brighton with no further troubles.


Platform 13 at Victoria Station with the 14:00Hrs Brighton Belle 3rd November 1969

 Gordon Hoad at Victoria Station

Don Hitchins on Brighton Belle  (5-BEL unit 3052) at Brighton, 28-4-72




Eddie Ricketts  

Taking the Brighton Belle to Lover's Walk Depot on the last day of service

 Driver Fred Gully puts up Head Code 3 on the Brighton Belle before leaving London Bridge Station.

This is believed to be the first time the Belle has departed from a London Terminal other than Victoria.
The reason for the diversion was due to engineering works taking place on the bridge at Battersea where the Brighton line crosses the South Western.


  Above a video of the Brighton Belle on the final day of public service 30th 04 April 1972

(units 3052 and 3053 worked the scheduled diagram).

 The train was driven by Brighton driver Mick Bassett who appears briefly at the end of the video.

 The Brighton Belle standing at Platform 13 at Victoria on the last day in public service 30.4.72.


 photo from David Timothy Collection

Mac McCabe Collection

The very final working of a 5 BEL unit in public service was on 09th May 1972 when working the S.E.G. "Southern Belle" Railtour  (unit 3051).

The railtour ended with a special train running from Victoria to Brighton at 19:04.

Brighton Driver Don Hitchings is believed to have worked the last Brighton Belle units on this day.
 It is Hope that some one clarify this for me.

The Brighton Belle: The Story of a Famous and Much-loved Train


The Brighton Belle: The Story of a Famous and Much-loved Train

written by Stephen Grant & Simon Jeffs






Brighton's L211 drivers become the first to learn the 319s in 1987. This is also involved test trips and road learning to Bedford. 



Courtsey of Ted Janes

The 319’s when new were a nightmare and just used to drop dead without any warning and recalls retired driver Ted Janes. He also recalls remember several occasions on arriving for routes at St Pancras finding not one 319 was running, on one occasion that this happened Ozzy (Laurie Osman), Harry Mitchell and Ted pissed off and enjoyed a day at Hendon RAF Museum instead.



Perhaps that where the orgin of the 319 Squadron was born?


 319 training at Selhurst depot c1987

Left - Right: Harry Mitchell, Phil Eke (Waterloo Training School), John "Nutty" Long & Don Hill

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


Courtsey of Vic Clarke

Left: Harry "ZIPPY" Mitchell

Harry suffered a major injury prior to entering Redhill station. On his arrival at Redhill, Harry was quickly escorted to Redhill hospital with the aid of yellow vest. The vest helped to hide his modesty. At the hospital Harry received a number of stitches for his injury. Harry was left with quite a large scar, so we were led to believe. 

This incident generate a major cancellation at Redhill, due to there being no relief for him.


Old Chinese Proverb


A cup of tea at Brighton is fine.

But it has to come out along the line.

A signal check at Redhill seems good.

So Sliding door open there Harry stood.

Bladder empty, dick away.

Some outside of zip did stay.

With tears in eyes.

Tiz no surprise.

This brings a new roll.

To good old chopper control.


Courtsey of Ted Janes 


319's started arriving in early 1988 and I'm amazed they lasted as long as they have, by the way when we were running guards training trips to London Bridge we used to get messages for a New Cross taxi firm over the radio, evidenly we were tuned into their frequency and god knows what they thought if they received any of our messages.

Ted  remembers on one occasion going on to the back of Brad at Coulsdon South and after a lot of getting ready to assist i said to the guard of the train when we arrive at Merstham  don't put your key in or you'll blow the lot again, off we went and stopped at Merstam and wallop the bloody lot tripped out, the prat of a guard ignored my advice and we were f****d. Ted went back though the train resetting what had tripped and said to one passenger excuse me Sir but I have to get to the cupboard behind you, you don't happen to hold shares in G.E.C. do you? and his reply was not bloody likely and if I had they would be sold in the morning.

Another regular trick of these bloody terrible units was to lose the control circuit when an approaching express rattled the sliding doors with enough force to open them slightly.  On the 07:09 to Bedford  we used to very often pass a 47 headed express at Radlett Junction doing about 90 after chasing downhill from St Albans and if you met him in the wrong spot on went the brakes.
On another occasion I had to assist a 317 which had come to greif at Flitwick, neither off us had a clue how to get out of the predicament so we agreed as he had his own brake I would just shove him to Bedford so that's what we did! I had to come back pass and just caught the midnight from Vic.
Bernie Haynes had a pan go up coming down through Streatham on the overnight empties to Bedford and hit a bridge and I had one go up in platform four at Brighton minding my own business waiting to go to "the Walk" and also had one shut down cruising past Bedford home signal, that turned out to be the carbon on the pickup had disintegrated.


  Above Gerry Aggett


 Above Mick Pullinger, Vic Sexton & Dave Timothy (Instructor)



Above Mick Pullinger, Vic Sexton & Gerry Aggett 





Left ~ Right: Ron French, Bill Lipscombe, Les Smith & Freddie Bell



Above & Below Freddie Bell 




Above & Below Les Smith




Above & Below Ron French 



Bill Lipscombe 

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

 Cyril Hutchings (and his snuff box) & Fred Locke 

in Brighton messroom mid 1980s


 Eric Francis


 Left - Right: Vic Clarke & Alec Price (Bognor)

Bognor messroom early/mid 1960s.

Cyril Hutchings & Ernie (Soapy) Watson

 There's a right pair, Cyril could scare the life out of you if you didn't know his antics!!! two of the best  (Rodney Burstow Horsham)

Dougal remembers when Cyril and with the help of Eddie Ricketts dragged his trousers and underpants and held me over the table face up whilst Vie (the cleaning lady) walked in with her mop and bucket to see my tackle exposed to the merriment of those in the mess room she promptly grunted loudly and disappeared out of the mess room. I'm am pleased to say my tackle is still complete and was not damaged by the wooden handle of the floor mop.
Bill Davies (Bedford depot) remembers the time when Cyril and A. N. Other were road learning with him. Cyril did a perfect stop at Flitwick and told us so. Shame, he forgot to release the doors.


 The 1985  A.S.L.E.F. National School, at Head Office 


 Ronnie Knight


 Dave Knight


  Ray Hammond



Courtsey of Ron Terrill

I recall, Ray Hammond done car repairs for his mates! One evening I was sitting in my car after finishing work, when I noticed Ray trying to open a car door with a bunch of keys, I then noticed two policemen were watching him from behind a van. Then the police approached Ray, and I heard them say to Ray, your nicked. Ray was trying explain to them what he was doing, when he noticed me sitting in my car, he came over with the police to me and said I will vouch for him. I said to the police, "I have never seen him before in my life," and they started to lead him away. I had to run after them and appologise to them and they let him go! 

Another story involved Jeff (Killer)Reynolds who was taken ill at work and taken home by ambulance. Chucks asked if I knew where Jeff lived, and I said by the Grenadier Pub,  he said, would I take Jeff's car home for him. I agreed and with his keys I went to the car park looking for a white ford anglia. I started it up and proceeded along the Old Shoreham Road, when we had a sudden downpour of rain next thing I knew the windscreen became (WHITE )apparently Jeff's wife painted it as a surprise for his Birthday, but used Emulsion Paint, by the time I got to Mile Oak it was back to it's original Black.

Left ~ Right: Members of Brighton E.M.U.T. L.D.C.

 Billy Kenchington (Co-opted), Laurie Osman (LDC), Norman Light standing on the crossing (LDC) & Unknown c1985





  Norman Light

Norman entered the footplate grade at Templecombe on the 13.04.1942, after waiting for nearly 12 months from applying.

 With the closure of Templecombe, Norman transferred to Brighton loco. and in 1961 Norman transferred to the Motorman's depot at Brighton. During his 30 years at Brighton E.M.U.T.

Norman served for over 20 years on the LDC and a similar amount of time as Branch Chairman of the Brighton No.2 Branch.  


 Freddie Locke






Standing in front of Bullied's Q1 (Spam-can) are


Left - Right: Unknown 1, secondman Ian Wilson (B'ton M.T.), Driver Johnny Knott (B'ton M.T.), Unknown 2, Unknown 3, Unknown 4, Unknown 5, Vic Clarke, Ron French, Unknown 6 & Chris Hitchcock (L'ham guard).

The photo was taken outside the Pullman Shops, where a number of Steam Locomotives and other rolling stock was store by the National Railway Museum.


Below a newspaper cutting from the Rail News c1976




 The Brighton Motive Power Social Club Committee Members c1976

Back Row L~R: Ron French, Eddie Forder, Wilf Jeans & Reg Jarrett.

Front Row L~R: Jimmy Southon, Vic Clarke,Norman Light, Jimmy Edwards, George Pullen & Ted Rooke.


The Social club held annualy two events a year. One being for the retired drivers dinner and dance. Whereby the committee members and their wives would organised the event that was held in the Drill Hall on Dyke Road Brighton.

The other event was the children Christmas party held at Moulsecoomb Hall. Every year Reg Jarrett would dress up as Father Christmas. For many children of that era, the children believed that Father Christmas come from Devon rather than the North Pole!!!

Very confusing for us youngsters who attended this event during this period.


This photo was taken in the now closed Gardners Arms just off Terminus Road in c1975.

The photo shows the following Brighton drivers Left ~ Right: Dave Wheeler,(MT), Charlie Constable (EMUT), John "Muncher" Overington (Guard (prior to him entering the footplate grades) & Reg Crelley (EMUT)


 Maurice "Cocker" Taylor (c1985)

Maurice is seen chatting to the Mayor and Mayoress of Brighton.

 Fred Gething .

Fred entered the footplate grades in the early 1970's. Fred in the late 1980's transfered to Bournemouth and was forced to take ill health retirement in 1994




Norman Light talking to V.I.P.s at Brighton, after working the special speed run train between London Victoria to Brighton on the 16th July 1983



Don Hill & Alex Bell.

Don Hill entered the footplate grade at Templecombe loco on the 29.06.1942. Don transferred to Brighton in the mid/late1950's after the closure of Templecombe. 

Alex Bell entered the footplate grade at St Margaret's loco Edingburgh on the 12.02.1959. Alex transferred to Caterham and later on to Brighton E.M.U.T. with the closure of St Margaret's depot in c1968 .

 Ian Breeds C1986.

Ian entered the footplate grade at Brighton loco on the 06.02.1961. Ian transferred Three Bridges M.T. to seek promotion to driver in C1967. Ian later transferred to Tunbridge Wells West as a redundant driver, when Three Bridges M.T. closed in April 1969. In 1984 Ian transferred to Brighton E.M.U.T. just prior to the closure of "THE WELLS" in May 1985. 


 Bill Lipscombe C1987

Bill came to Brighton towards the end of his career, due to ill health and spent the rest of footplate time in the "TRICKY 8 LINK". Previously Bill had spent his footplate days at Newhaven Loco and Seaford E.M.U.T. depots.

 Right - Left  Cyril Hutchings with one of his

"spring onions"

Richard Williams (now a Driver Eastbourne).


Left - Right: Bert Long, Vic Harris. Derek "BUDGIE" Collingham & Roy Bollingbroke.

 Left - Right Vic Clark, Les Smith, Vic Harris, Ron French & Fred Bell  C1987.



 Vic Harris & George Taylor (ex-Strawberry Hill).

Vic Harris entered the footplate grade Newhaven loco on the 12.04.1948. Vic later transferred to Seaford & Brighton where he spent the rest of his railway career at Brighton loco/E.M.U.T.

George Taylor transferred to Brighton E.M.U.T. in C1987 to spend his final years at Brighton. George entered the footplate grade on the 04.12.1948 and spent most of his footplate days on the South Western Division


Left - Right: Alex Bell, Adrian Wales (Barnham), Alan Daniel & Adam Flowers.


 Mac Macabe in Brighton drivers room 18th February 1987.

 Gordon Hatcher, Paul Edwards & Peter Pollard stands in the background.


Andy Nash (Staines), John Murray (Vic E), Mick Dart (Waterloo), Geoff Barker (Ashford), Chris Kitchener (Vic E), Steve Neal (Brighton), Mick Barter (Fratton), & Kevin Blekeman (Gillingham).  

(EMUT conversion course No.14, with their depots at 4th September 1986)





Mick Bullen, Graham Lawrence (moved to Barnham) & Alex Bell.

 Graham Lawrence (Barnham) & Martin "NOBBY" Styles.


 Paul Osborne.

Paul entered the footplate grade at Brighton M.T. on the 03.12.1984. Paul was promoted to driver at Brigthon E.M.U.T. C1987. Unfortunately Paul left the railway due to ill health in C2001.

 Left - Right: Paul Osborne, Dave Earl?? & Roger Matthews (now a Driver at Westbury)


 Above Matthew Cole.

Right Paul Edwards

at Hove c1985



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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