The formation of the

The Engine Drivers & Firemens United Society 



In January 1866, Locomotive Superintendent John Chester Craven, designed a pair twin 0-6-0 saddle tanks locomotives, with a coupled footplate to footplate for working heavy main line goods trains up New Cross bank, and thereby avoiding the expense of employing pilot 
engines. The fuel was carried in bankers alongside the two fireboxes, which left the footplates free from obstructions and offered the possibility of one crew handling both engines with subsequent saving in wages and man-power. However, when the loco-men heard of this, they flatly refused to work them unless given double wages, and when this was refused by Craven. 

Craven then realised the scheme was impracticable and redesigned the this loco into two 
independent loco to carry out shunting duties and local goods traffic.

East Bridge, near Horsham on January 12th 1866

Railway accidents on the 


from http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk

Stewarts Lane 17th March 1866 

no mention of Enginemen 


New Cross 30th March 1866 

involving Driver James Prevett depot unknown 


Caterham Junction 30th April 1866 

Involving Brighton Driver Unknown & 

Fireman Charles Henry Beckwith 


London Bridge 22nd May 1866 

no mention of Enginemen 


Itchingfield Junction 11th August 1866 

no mention of Enginemen 


London Victoria Junction 7th September 1866 

no mention of Enginemen 


Bramley 21st September 1866 

Bramley driver Clayton & Fireman Prescott 


Tunbridge Wells West Loco Shed (Kent) (T-W) 1866-1985

Tunbridge Wells West locomotive Shed was opened on the 1st October 1866 by the East 
Grinstead, Groombridge & Tunbridge Wells Railway and later under the ownership of the 
London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. The shed is located to the South side of the station. 

The shed was a 2 track shed with one through road on the northern side and the facilities 
included a 52ft turntable across the western single road entrance. In 1890 this shed was 
closed and demolished due to station enlargement.

A new brick built 4 track straight dead ended shed was opened in 1889 with a twin gable style slate roof was constructed on arches and located on the north side of Tunbridge Wells station. The facilities were improved to include a 52ft turntable across the western single road entrance. 

In 1955 the shed was re-roofed with a louver pitched style asbestos clad steel framed roof over each track. The steam shed was closed on 9th September 1963 and the shed was used to stable the Emergency Control Train.





In 1866 the railway was extended from Petworth to Midhurst (6 miles and taking 7 years to be built) by the Mid-Sussex & Midhurst Junction Railway.  Midhurst station opened on 15th October 1866 then becoming the terminus and was timber built with a new timber build locomotive shed. (This shed was rebuilt by a larger timber structure in 1907). 

A short connection was constructed between the L.B.S.C.R. and L.S.W.R. termini stations that faced on opposite sides of a minor country road was opened on 17th December 1866. However, locomotives were prohibited from crossing the weak bridge and could only be used for the transfer of freight by either a horse or fly-shunting. A covered footpath was provided for through passengers.


The Petworth Loco shed was closed on the 15th October 1866, by the L.B.S.C.R. as a result of the new loco shed being opened at Midhurst by the L.B.S.C.R. The shed at Petworth was dismantled and moved to Hayling Island.

  Midhurst  L.B.S.C.R. (first) Loco shed built in 1866 

Midhurst L.B.S.C.R. Loco, (Mid) (1866 -c1955) 

The London & South Western (brick built) shed was opened on the 1st September 1864, when the from Petersfield to Midhurst opened.

Midhurst’s first L.B.S.C.R. locomotive shed was opened on 15th October 1866 by the Mid-Sussex and Midhurst Junction Railway and later by the L.B.S.C.R., this was to replace the locomotive shed at Petworth. 

The Midhurst shed was located to the north of Midhurst station on the east side of the line and was a timber built 1 track straight through shed with a pitched roof.  The Facilities included a turntable (removed c1890s), a coal stage and a water tank. The shed was left to fall into disrepair was closed and demolished in 1907 and was replaced by a timber built 1 track straight through shed with a pitched slate roof.

With formation of the Southern railway in 1923 the  L.B.S.C.R. shed was closed soon after grouping in c12.7.1925 (but may have stayed opened until the Chichester to Midhurst closed in 1935), and the L.S.W.R. (brick built) shed closed in 1937, even though the L.S.W.R. station closed in 1925. 

The Locomotive depot remained as a stabling point until February 1955, when the Pulborough - Midhurst - Petersfield line closed to passenger services on the 5th February 1955.



Locomotives on the Midhurst Branch there were Craven locomotives his first locomotive a double-framed 0-4-2 tank No. 213 (South London Tank), built in 1865, proved too heavy for the line and was transferred elsewhere. 

Older Craven locomotive had to work the line until October 1866 when No. 230 a smaller 0-4-2 tank which lasted until 1881. By this time Stroudley's  A1 Class 0-6-0 tanks had appeared Nos 42 (Tulsehill) No. 77 (Wonersh). When heaver 6 wheel coaches appeared these were replaced by D Class 0-4-2 Tanks in c1900 of which No. 2252 (Buckhurst) continued to appear on the brunch until shortly before its withdrawal in 1950. Billinton D3 Class 0-4-4 tanks took over as less and less D1s became available. Since 1948 LSWR M7 0-4-4 Tanks took over from the D3 Class.

In later years goods traffic were handled by C2x 0-6-0, C3 0-6-0 (Horsham Goods), E4 0-6-2 Tanks and E5x  0-6-2 Tanks, with the Southern Q Class 0-6-0 and Q1 Class 0-6-0 making appearances. when the C3 Class became extinct in 1952 Class 33 diesel locomotives ran to Midhurst last years of freight working and Class 08 diesel shunters operated most freight services in Petworth's final years.

You already know about Sharp's 2-2-2 No. 79 based a Petworth and D1 Class 239 (Patcham) at Midhurst.  

Adams T1 Class 0-4-4 Tank No. 75 and A12 Class 0-4-2 631 were seen at Midhurst (LBSCR Station.   

The second shed was closed soon after grouping but could have lasted until the Chichester to Midhurst passenger services ceased in 1935. 

The LSWR (brick built) shed closed in 1937. It seems odd seeing that this station closed in 1925, but maybe the Southern Railway thought it would be better to use the LSWR brick build shed and close the LBSCR timber built shed. 

The History of the Brighton Branch of A.S.L.E.F. can be traced back to the formation 

of The Engine Drivers and Firemen’s United Society established in 1866, and one of the 

earliest branch’s being located at Brighton.  

The Engine Drivers & Firemens United Society 

The  Engine Drivers' and Firemen's United Society was established in 1865, with its objects being to assure friendly society benefits for its members. Later it fully realised that self pity and mutual help were not sufficient to move railway conditions, and it became much more militant in spirit than its rules indicated. 

By the end of 1866, the Engine Drivers and Firemen’s United Society  claimed to have a membership of over 10,000 nation wide.  when they made initial demands for a 10 hour day and payment of overtime as well as an increase in pay.

The Engine Drivers and Firemen’s United Society held it first conference in November 1866 
and the Brighton delegate was Engineman J. Slater.  At this conference a motion was passed 
to petition each of the Railway companies for a number of improvements to Drivers and Firemen’s working conditions.

A maximum of a 10 hour day. Payment for overtime with time and a half for Sunday 

working.Daily limits of 150 miles for mainline trains and 120 miles on local trains. An

immediate increase in basic levels of pay. 

A number of the biggest railway companies conceded some or all of these conditions rather 

than have a costly dispute. This was such the case on the London Brighton & South Coast 

Railway, were the Enginemen of the Brighton Railway went on strike in March 1867. 

(1867 Brighton Enginemen Strike SEE SUB PAGE)

Within days of the end of the Brighton Railway Enginemen’s strike, the Enginemen on the North Eastern Railway went on strike in April,1867, for a reduction in their 12 hour working day. To smash this strike the directors of the North Eastern Railway recruited drivers from the London North Western Railway, the Midland, the Great Northern Railway and the Lancashire  & Yorkshire, paying them special rates, provided they did not belong to a Union. Leaders of the strike were charged in the Courts and out of 1,050 strikers only 25 were reinstated. This saw the ending of the Engine Drivers' and Firemen’s United Society.

The Enginemen's Society, was sometimes referred as the 1867 Society.

A large number of the formers members of the old  Enginemen’s Society, for some reason or other would never join the A.S.R.S. However they decided to  responded to the invitation of joining the A.S.L.E.F.

It may not be generally known that the engine-drivers and firemen in England and Scotland belong to what promises to be a very formidable trade union. It was established about 10 months ago, has some 15,000 subscribing members, a capital estimated at about £50,000, and 64 branches, their head quarters being in London. To this society, which supports a newspaper of its own, appropriately called The Train, the drivers and firemen on the London, Brighton, and south Coast Railway belong,


The first conference of Locomotive Workers

The Engine Drivers’ and Firemen’s United Society


Battersea Enginemen H. Brownhill is pictured No. 51

New Cross Enginemen W. Harrison is pictured No. 42

Brighton Engineman J. Slater is pictured No. 58 which is the last man seated on the right hand side.

The following Rules passed at the Conference held in London, in November, 1866, were the result of careful and earnest deliberation, and are so plain that any preliminary observations may appear superfluous; a brief summary of their import, with a few remarks on the nature of the Society itself, may not, however, be out of place. 

The Society had its origin at New Cross in September, 1865, and after extending to the London Districts, was fully organised and commenced its labours in December, 1865, at which, time I was appointed Secretary. Since then , 60 Branches , including over ten thousand Members have been open ed, and are in full operation, and there is a prospect of Branches being shortly opened in Scotland. The original rules sufficed to iv govern the Society, until the meeting of the Conference, when it was resolved to introduce such amendments as would meet future wants, and place the Society on a firm footing. The object of the Society is clearly not to oppose the employer, or deny his authority, but rather to create confidence between the employer and the employed. In many circurmstances a servant fears or hesitates to approach an employer, to remonstrate or state a grievance , and often in consequence, puts up with a wrong in silence, or cares little to attend to his duties. The idea of the Society then is, to countenance only good and faithful servants, and give them that moral support when in difficulty, which is so often required. On the other hand, it is determined that the Members of the Society in case of any dispute, shall be allowed to appeal to the proper authorities, expecting from them a fair hearing. It is recommended therefore, that where this cannot be gained from Superintendents, appeal should be made to the Board of Directors. Past experience dictates this recommendation, because it is believed the Directors are little acquainted with the way some of their oldest and steadiest servants are treated. 

As to the Rules, it will be observed by Rule 3, that in future the entrance fee for Drivers will be 2s. 6d. , and for Firemen , 1s. Rule 4 grants powers to Branch Societies to frame their own bye-laws, and are subject to their local Committees so long as the laws made, and system adopted are in accordance with the General Rules. Rules 6 to 7 show the powers vested in the Central Committee, and the necessity for the Members of the Branch Committees to supply them with the fullest and earliest information, to guide their deliberations. Every important topic will receive their most careful attention, and as their time is very limited, it is to be hoped that important questions only will be brought under their notice. Respecting Rule 12,it should be thoroughly understood that it is the duty of each Branch Society, through its Committee, to apply to the Superintendent, on any line where a grievance, or difference arises, if possible, so effect a settlement, and to save the labour of the Central Committee as far as possible. Rule 13 is sufficiently explicit, and should any member unfortunately be compelled to avail himself of it, I recommend that he should give notice to his Branch immediately. An accident happens as it often occurs where there is delay, advantage is taken to the dis vi advantage of the servant, and his defence will not be complete. Rules 16 and 17 show the importance of every Member being clear on the Books at the end of six months; it will avoid trouble to the Branch Secretaries and annoyance to the member. Rule 21 must be strictly attended to ; delays are dangerous. I bring my remarks to a close ; they have been brief, but may be of service to some members, and tend to promote the objects of the Society,—thanking the members for their kind assistance and co-operation in the part which I regard as the best pledge of a suc cessful future. 


General Secretary. 

31 , Brydges Street, 


January 1st, 1867. 

By the end of March 1867 had some 64 branches in England and Scotland, with 15,000 subscribing members, a capital estimated at about £50,000. Their head quarters being in the Strand in London. To this society, which supports a newspaper of its own, appropriately called The Train.




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