On the 2nd January 1988 

the line between Hurst Green and Edenbridge opened and was 

extended to Groombridge on the 1st October 1888.

Railway accident on the 


Tulse Hill 3rd January 1888 (L.S.W.R.)





Fellow "Workmen"

The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers AND Firemen was formed eight years ago, and is making rapid strides. It was established in order to give greater security to our labour, and to prevent our employers from taking advantage of our disorganised condition. Experience has proved that we could have our grievances redressed if we were a thoroughly organised body, and thereby raise ourselves to that position to which our responsible duties entitle us. We know that men have striven for years to improve their position by appealing to superintendents and directors, with results that are but too well known, and we have only to instance the Midland dispute to illustrate our meaning. But how different might those results have been had all Enginemen and Firemen been bound in one common brotherhood, for not only is it necessary that we should prepare for sickness, old age, and death, but that we should also be afforded protection in our labour for so great and arduous are the duties to which Enginemen and Firemen are called upon to perform, and their responsibilities so great, that the most careful men are liable to accidents, which may result in their being indicted for manslaughter. Why, then, should you pay away your hard-earned savings in obtaining legal defence, when you may belong to a Society which will provide you with legal assistance, in addition to other trade protection benefits, for the sum of fourpence per week ? Surely the result of the Hexthorpe trial, in which the driver and fireman (both members of our Society) were implicated, ought to be an inducement to Enginemen and Firemen to join our Society, for we believe that had it not been for the valuable assistance rendered them by our Association, which is composed of Enginemen and Firemen only, whose interests and sympathies were identical with the accused, it would have been more difficult to have established the men's innocence, but owing to the practical experience of the officers of our Association, they were enabled to point out the imperfections of the system under which the men were working, which could not have been so lucidly explained by men unacquainted with the calling of Enginemen and Firemen. We hope you will, therefore, recognize in our Society a long-felt want supplied, and come and join us. Our Schedule of Contributions and Benefits will be found on the second page of cover of this publication.


General Secretary.



MARCH 1888


Battersea, London, 

February 18th, 1888.

Dear Sir,—On February 12th, 1888, a meeting was held at The Two Brothers, Battersea, under the auspices of the A.S.L.E. & F. The room was comfartably filled, and a L.B. & S.C. driver was voted to the chair, and, after a few well chosen remarks, called upon the organising secretary, Mr. Ball to explain the objects and benefits of the Society, under whose auspices the meeting had been called. Mr. Ball then said he was very pleased to see such a meeting as the one before him, and by the time he had done he hoped to be able to show what benefits could be derived by the combination of  such a body as the enginemen and fireman of the United Kingdom. He also gave in detail the trial of Taylor and Davis, and as he told us of the great pains and trouble taken by the general secretary (Mr. Sunter), to see justice done to those members, it brought, forth shouts of applause, and his zeal was highly appreciated by all present. After Mr. Ball had done, five came forward and had their names enrolled, and several others promised to join at their earliest convenience.Several questions were asked and satisfactorily answered by the organising secretary, and with a vote of thanks to him, the chairman, and the representatives of the various London branches present, one of the most encouraging meetings of enginemen and firemen was brought to a close.

I remain, yours truly, J. B



PAGE 222

Battersea, London, 

July 19th, 1888.

Mr. Editor,
Sir,— On Sunday, July 1st, a general meeting of enginemen and firemen was held at the Two Brothers Inn, under the auspicies of the A. S. L. E. & F. , when Mr. C. E. Stretton, consulting engineer, and Mr. T. G. Sunter, general secretary of the Society, attended and addressed the meeting. The chairman of the branch presided, and after a few remarks asked Mr. Stretton to address the meeting. That gentleman then gave very interesting address, he also alluded to his position as consulting engineer to the Society, and, expressed his pleasure at belonging to such an organisation, as in his opinion the travelling public were greatly indebted to enginemen and firemen for their safety. He also hoped to have the pleasure of again visiting this branch in the near future. After speaking for about thirty minutes he resumed his seat amidst applause. Mr.T.G. Sunter then gave a stirring address on the objects and benefits of the Society, and spoke of the progress the Society was making, which he felt sure was an augury that enginemen and firemen were beginning to realise the necessity of being of connected with an organisation composed of their class, and in response to his appeal to the non-members present to join our ranks, a number of enginemen and firemen gave in their names, one of them expressing an opinion that he felt sure from what he had heard that night that this Society was the one for enginemen and firemen. A vote of thanks was then given to the speakers, and the meeting was brought to a close.
I am, yours faithfully.

Branch Chairman



Kings Cross Branch,


September 3rd, 1888.

Page 252

Sir,  A mass meeting of enginemen and firemen was held at the City of London Hotel, York 
Road London, on September 2nd, to hear address from Mr. Clement E. Stretton, C.E., and 
consulting engineer to the Society, and Mr. T. Ball, the Organising Secretary. There was also 
present Mr. A Tippetts, of the firm of Messrs. Tippetts and Son, solicitors to the Society in 
London, and a representative go the Railway Herald. The meeting, which was a large one, 
was composed of enginemen and firemen working upon the following railways:- 

Great Northern, 

Great Eastern, 

London & North Western, 

London & South Western, 

London, Chatham & Dover, 

London Brighton & South Coast Railway, 

Great Western, Midland and North London.

Mr. Stretton having been requested to take the chair, delivered a mot interesting lecture upon 
“Railways and Railway Working,” dealing especially with the recent racing of trains to 
Edinburgh, the system of eyesight testing, certificates for enginemen, hours of duty, and 
deprecated the system of oiling engines whilst running. He also made use of a number of 
diagrams during the course of his lecture, one of them, a plan of the Hexthorpe accident, 
being of great interest, many of those present being acquainted with the scene of the disaster. 
Mr. Stretton was listened to with keen interest throughout, and was frequently applauded, and I must be content with simply giving you the lines of his very able lecture, which lasted over forty minutes, and was highly appreciated by all present. The Chairman then called on Mr. Ball, who gave a very able ad interesting address on the objects and benefits of the Society, and the rapid progress it was making, also giving a brief history of Trade Unions, giving it as his opinion that however distasteful they might be to some persons, that they had been forced upon the working classes by the capitalist, and were the outcome of tyranny and oppression. 

He also showed the beneficial results accruing from properly managed unions, and contrast 
the position of enginemen and firemen with other classes of workmen, and said that for years they had been at a comparative standstill. He also denied the allegation that the founders of the Society were actuated by a desire to foster disputes between the masters and their workmen, referring his hearer to the Society’s book of rues, wherein it would be found that the greatest precautions had been taken to prevent strikes, and that the sole aim of the 
pioneers of the Society was to furnish a means of protecting enginemen and firemen in their 
calling, and not with the desire to one day be in a position to bid their masters an insulting 
defiance; at the same time claiming that they were entitled to ask for just and honourable 
concessions at the hands of their employers. He also contradicted several statements that had 
been made in reference to the part the Society had played in the Hexthorpe trial, and said that he should not have alluded to the subject in the manner he did, but for the unwarrantable assertions that had been made agains them, and challenged those present to accuse him of having said a word against any kindred Society on previous occasions, but that he was justified in the stand he took, seeing that people would naturally think they had left Taylor and Davis to their fate in the time of their misfortune although members of their Society, and it was his duty not to allow the statements to pass unchallenged, but gave it his opinion that there was ample scope for both Societies to exercise their energies amongst the various grades of the railway service, without any show of animosity on either hand, and that he was more convinced day by day of the necessity of a separate organisation, and that their rapid increasing membership was a proof that English enginemen and firemen were beginning to think so too, like the enginemen and firemen of those two great continents, America and Australia, and urged upon the non members present to join the Society, so that they might have the satisfaction to knowing they had done their best to better the condition of their fellow labourers, for, to his mind, there was nothing to despicable as a selfish man who lived for himself alone, but who shares in the fruits of the labours of others. Mr. Ball then resumed his seat amid cheers, his interesting address having lasting an hour and five minutes.
A member of the Stratford Branch also spoke. Resolutions are then unanimously carried as 

“Approving of the objects and benefits of the Society, protesting against the racing of 
trains, against the long hours of duty, in favour of a uniform code of signal lights for all 
railways, in a favour of automatic continuous brakes, expressing satisfaction at 
appointment of Mr Stretton to the position of consulting engineer, and the introduction 
of the Railway Herald as an impartial and useful paper, to which the representative who was present responded.” 

The names of a number of enginemen and firemen were then read over for membership, and 
will be duly enrolled at our next meeting.

Votes of thanks to Mr. Stretton and Mr. Ball having been given and suitable responded to, a 
most enjoyable and profitable meeting was brought to a close.

I am, your fraternally

F. Green, Branch Secretary


extracted from the R.C.T.S. book of L.B.S.C.R. Locomotice Vol. 2 


For some years Driver George Thomlinson (New Cross?) was assigned to a C1 Class engine No. 431, he was commonly known behind his back as 'Old Scourer' on account of his habit of burnishing bright such items as coupling rods, piping, safety valves, buffers, cab fittings, and above all the copper-capped chimney. He was also a prominent member of the 'Oil often and plenty brigade', and regularly made rounds of No.431 when on the road. Leaving his Fireman at the controls, he used to take up a specially long-spouted can, and clamber precariously out of the right side of the cab to oil as necessary on that side of the engine, then pass round the smoke box attending the cylinder lubrication to regain the footplate via the left-hand running plate. 


On December 11th, 1888, an entirely new London-Brighton Pullman train was put on, consisting of three new carriages and two luggage and lighting vans. The cars were the Albert Victor, a smoking car, Prince, a buffet car, and Princess, a ladies' or parlour car. These new carriages were erected at the Brighton Carriage Works from sections sent over from the United States by the Pullman Palace Car Company. In order to preserve the uniform appearance of the train the luggage vans were built and painted similar to the Pullmans, except that they ran on six wheels instead of the usual two four-wheeled bogies, and were known on the line as "Pullman Pups." The train itself was lit throughout by electricity, and with commendable self-confidence the emergency oil lamps were dispensed with entirely.



extracted from the R.C.T.S. book of L.B.S.C.R. Locomotice Vol. 2

On the 31st December, 1888, when Locomotive No. 126 Gascony ran into the rear of the 7.00 p.m. to London Bridge to Hastings train in charge of Locomotive No. 10 Banstead. It was foggy evening, and at Norwood junction the D1 driver was unable to read the signals, so stopped and sent his fireman to climb the post. At this moment Gascony, running light engine to west Croydon, after dropping the 5.10 p.m. Epsom to Norwood Junction goods, knocked the last carriage of the line. No one was injured and the inquiry found all concerned blameless. 


extracted from the R.C.T.S. book of L.B.S.C.R. Locomotice Vol. 2


Over the years many minor derailments occurred while working the various yards, most of which hardly warranted reporting by the unfortunate crew. Probably the most interesting were three that took place at Groombridge in 1888-9, when Locomotive Nos. 88 Rhine, 103 Normandy & 151 Helvetia all came to grief at the leading points to a seldom used siding. A circus regular visited Tunbridge wells and set up business alongside the Brighton line on the site used in later years for the annual agricultural show, and after the animals and equipment had been of loaded the wagons and vans were hauled away to Groombridge for storage. On three successive visits the E1 tank employed came off the track at the same set of points and caused lengthy delays to other traffic before it was discovered that they spanned the top of an ancient well and were only supported by a few inches of ballast on top of badly rotten planks. Apparently the points sank several inches under the weight, thereby causing the off side wheels to leave the rails. A local historian society has a photograph of two Indian elephants beside the derail Locomotive No.103 Normandy. 

London Bridge had many queer notions as to how best to run a railway, but even they never advocated the use of elephant power! 

Railway accident on the 


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

Norwood Junction 31st December 1888 

Involving New Cross Driver John Turnbull & Fireman William 

James Cook & Driver Charles Butterfield & Henry Sawyers 

Depot unknown 


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