Courtesy of Steve West

A faithful and clever animal formerly known to many passenger on the London and  Brighton the tidal train between London Bridge and Newhaven for the Dieppe steam boats.


 Help the noble Railway Dog 

This photo was taken from the book tittle is 50 years of Railway Trade Unionism, 

the story of the N.U.R. published in c1920

The first railway dog can be traced back to 1881, he was called “HELP” and collected 
money for the  Orphan Fund” of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

This famous dog, a pure Scotch Collie was a gentle and beautiful creature. He was 
recognised as the “Railway Dog of England,” and was a most successful commercial 
traveller on behalf of the Railway Servants Orphan Fund.

During his life he collected £1004. (1882 -1891). Mr. John Climpson, passenger guard of the 
evening tidal boat train from London Bridge to Newhaven on the London Brighton and South Coast Railway for close on forty years, conceived the idea of training a dog for collecting purpose, and to carry an innovation for money to be given by the the passengers and others in aid of the Orphan Fund. “Help” was supplied through the agency of the Rev. Dr. Norman Macleod, by the assistance of Mr. W. Riddell, of Hailes, Haddington, procured a suitable dog for the service; indeed, the animal was a gift from Mr. Riddell, and Help was admirably suited for the work.

After being trained by Mr. John Climpson, “Help travelled extensively from 1882 until 1891 throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and twice crossed the channel to France.

He carried a handsome silver collar, bearing a handsome silver Medal endorsed “I am Help the railway dog of England, and travelling agent for the orphans railwaymen who are killed on duty” plus “My office is at 55, Colebrook Row,  London, where subscriptions will be thankfully received and duly acknowledged,” to which interested persons could send donations. 

At the Bristol dog Show in 1884 “Help” was presented with a silver medal, and Mr. F.W. Hughes of the Gresham Club, present him with a silver collar and tablet. Help died in Newhaven in 1891. During his life Help raised over £1,000.


Above is the rear of an Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (A.S.R.S.) fob, which features the “Railway Dog 

This badge is extremely rare and is over 100 years old.

The amalgamation in 1923 of the London South Western with the London Brighton and South Coast and the South Eastern and Chatham Railways extended the area for fund raising, but at the same time increased the number of children requiring help and care, and by now dogs were collecting at all London Termini and large stations down the Thames to Dover, then round the coast to Plymouth and beyond. 



Help is reproduced from a capital lithograph executed by the Newcastle artist, 

Mr. Wilson Hepple

Brighton Bob mixed with commuters, 
sometimes boarding trains on their own to encourage more giving by passengers. He barked, “ hook hands” and performed tricks for money, their exploits frequently reported in the national and regional press. 

Brighton Bob could be a bit dishonest, he 
collect coins in his mouth and gave them in, but secure boxes had to be tied to him 
after a journalist for a Christian magazine 
discovered in the 1860s that Brighton Bob was using some of his money to buy 
biscuits at a bakery. 

Railway dogs, were usually looked after and trained by railway staff and proved popular and lucrative.

Information extract & adapted from the 

Old Southeronians Association Website 

Which was written 

By H.T. Hunt  


Station Master Gage with Bob the Railway Dog 


Brighton Railway Dog ‘Hector’ & National Fund C1914


Courtesy of Mick Symes

There have been many dogs over the years that have been associated with the railways, and 
one such dog was well k dog was “Jack,” who was well known all over the L. B. & S. C. 


August 1879

“Jack”the railway dog. Whilst waiting at the Horsham station on Friday night for the 9.20 up train, our attention was attracted by a little rough dog which scampered up the platform and leaped up on to the engine. On making home enquiries of the guard in charge go the trains to the meaning of this eccentric behaviour on the part of the annual, we were informed that he was known as “Jack” the railway dog, and was in  the habit of constantly travelling on the Brighton line from Lewes via Brighton and Horsham to London, and vice versagenerally travelling on the engine in fine weather, and in wet weather hob-mobbing with the guards in their breaks. nobody knows to whom he belongs, and he takes the food given him by the railwaymen’s a matter of course as recognised for his company. Jack has thoroughly warmed himself into the affections of the engine drivers and guards, both of whom take the greatest interest in their canine passenger; and should Jack ever fail to put in an appearance on the starting of the trains usually patronised by him, many are the enquiries, “ here’s our little dog, Jack.”  


Jack the Railway Dog 

July 18th 1885

December 1880 

“Bob”, the once well known fireman’s dog, has a rival in “Jack” the railway dog. This 
sagacious animal passes his time in railway trains, and is well known at Brighton, Lewes, 
Hastings, London Bridge, and Peckham Rye. He travels with the guard, and take his repose at whatever terminus the train he happens to be in at night times arrives at. His taste lies 
peculiarly in the direction of all things appertaining to railways, as he will take no notice of 
any one not wearing a railway uniform. 

A South London guard on one occasion took him home. Jack went peacefully enough, but 
directly the man changed his clothes, and put on the garments of everyday life, Jack began to be uneasy, and at length bolted back to Peckham Rye. Jack is quite unoriginal in his way.  

21 January 1882

Accident to “Jack,” the Railway Dog. On Friday morning a serious accident happened to 
“Jack,” the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway dog. He was crossing the up main 
line at Norwood Junction station when the Brighton mail train came along, and before the 
animal could reach the platform the engine caught him, and crushed his foot. A local 
veterinary surgeon was at once summoned by the officials, and the dog’s injuries having been attended to, he was placed in the care of a guard of an Eastbourne goods trains, by whom he was handed over to his master. Mr. Moore, the station master at Lewes. The accident has since necessitated the amputation of one of the dog’s legs, a surgeon very successfully performing the operation while the animal was under the influence of chloroform.

No difficulty is anticipated as to Jack’s future locomotion on three legs, although the radius of his operations will be necessarily more limited. Hitherto it has been from Paris to Scotland. 

The last previous appearance of Jack in Lewes was when had just returned from a wedding at Berwick, and he arrived gaily beckoned with ribbons in honour of the event.


The remains of the unfortunate young fellow Page (who died from injuries sustained in an 
accident on the goods station), were interred in St. John’s churchyard on Sunday afternoon. 
The funeral was attended by a large number of railway employees as well as of members of 
Court Lewes Castle A.O.F., of which the deceased was a member. “Railway Jack” was also 
present, wearing a crape collar. 

The famous L. B. & S. C. Railway dog “Jack” has just reached Eastbourne station by one of 
the afternoon trains unexpectedly, and without guidance, otherwise than wonderful animal 
instinct to join in the procession of the funeral of Inspector Bryant, an official who had the 
honour of a large public burial. The noted dog just reached Eastbourne in time, found its way to the funeral, and solemnly followed the corpse to the cemetery, to the astonishment of 
everybody. The dog also joined the procession from the cemetery back again. 

Railway Jack, the canine celebrity has just met with an accident which seemed likely to 
terminate his eccentric career. He had been absent from his home, Lewes Station, about a 
fortnight till brought back with his left foreleg crushed. Jack was at Norwood Junction late on the previous evening, and crossed the metals just as fast train was running through. He missed his hold in jumping on to the opposite platform, and fell under the engine of the approaching train. Jack’s left fore foot was completely crushed, and the radius servers fractured. The Norwood station master at once took him to a surgeon, who bound up the dog’s legal the same time expressing an opinion that the limb must either amputated or the animal killed. Mr. Moore, station superintendent at Lewes, was at once communicated with and the dog sent home. On arrival Jack was at once taken to Mr Stock, veterinary surgeon at Lewes, and, with the assistance of Mr. J.P. Braden, surgeon, he very successfully amputated the limb close to the shoulder, The operation was performed while the dog was under the influence of chloroform.  

At a quarter past five their Royal Highnesses got back to station, where, at the especial quest 
of the Princess, Lady Brassey presented to her the famous Railway Jack,” who had been sent on to Eastbourne from his home in the station master’s office at Lewes early in the day. The Princess, who had heard a great deal about the dog, was very glad to have this opportunity of seeing him, and she took away with her two photographs, one representing him seated up on a trunk before he lost his foreleg, the other taken since the accident, which has compelled him to a more sedentary existence.

November 1890

A famous dog, which had more than once had the honour of presentation to Royalty, died on 
Monday at the house of his master, Mr. F.G. Moore, Mayfield Sussex. Mr. Moore was 
formerly stationmaster at Lewes, and his dog. “Railway Jack,” was known far and wide as a 
traveller. He began by taking the train to Brighton and Newhaven, and then extended his 
journey to London, Dover, and Canterbury, and after went as far afield as Exeter, Edinburgh, 
and Glasgow, but always returned to Lewes. 

Once, at Eastbourne, the late Lady Brassey presented “Jack” to the Prince and Princess of 
Wales, and he was introduced to Prince and Princess of Saxe Weimar at Cowes. He was a 
great favourite everywhere, had three fine collars given him and a silver medal. “Jack” was 
nearly thirteen when he  ended his notable career.  


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