A.S.L.E.& F. in affiliation with 

the Labour Representation Committee



Battersea Royal Train Driver William John Pullen, and his fireman, both wearing their Royal Train Helmets, whilst standing at Victoria station with their locomotive Class H1 No 42 "His Majesty" in August 1902.

Standing on the platform with his back to the locomotive is Locomotive Superintendent Robert Billinton and second from left is Outdoor Locomotive Superintendent, John James Richardson.

 *It was from John Richardson initiative that the use of “White Coal” in connection with 
Royal trains originated. The trans were made so dirty by coal dust that he conceived the idea 
of white-washing the coal. The “White Coal” on the tender caused amusement, but proved 

John Richardson retired on the 1st January, 1916, after served the London Brighton & South coast Railway Company for 48 years. At the time he was the oldest railway servant in the United Kingdom. 

* Extracted from the Sussex Express, 31st December 1915. 



Above is John Pullen standing next to his H2 Class Atlantic no. 426 which was built in 1912. The engine was later renamed St Albans Head.

Battersea Enginemen William John Pullen, was known as John, and during his career was asked to become a Royal Train driver at Battersea. This was seen prestige on honour for an enginemen to achieve this status.

According to his marriage certificate, he was a Fireman in 1878 aged 23.

On the 5th January 1883, John become a member of the Battersea Branch of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, and is record as an Engine Driver aged 28.

John died at the age of 73 on the 2nd February 1929. 


Above is John Pullen standing (middle) on his H2 Class Atlantic no. 426

Story as it, that one evening driver John Pullen was working the Royal Train down from London to Brighton, conveying King Edward VII. On arrival at Brighton station, the red carpet was situated in the wrong Place. John was asked to set back his train, so the train could line up with the red carpet. John politely refused and told them to move the carpet instead. 







At the beginning of the century, the working of the locomotive depots at Littlehampton, Bognor, and Midhurst exhibit many interesting features directly traceable to mid -Victorian practice. These depots were included in the Horsham Locomotive District; Midhurst and Littlehampton had four engines each, and Bognor two engines. At least one engine at each shed was designates the “Branch Engine,” a relic of the practice established by John Chester Craven, Locomotive Superintendent of the L.B.S.C.R. from 1852 to 1869.

The Locomotive Foreman at Horsham made a tour of his District on the last Wednesday of each month. Leaving Horsham at 10.20 a.m. the circuit of inspection occupied no less than 7 1/2 hours, unless as sometimes happened, Bognor was omitted on a verbal assurance being given by the fitter in charge at Littlehampton that “they were all right there”; this reduced the time by 2 1/2 hours.

The choice of the day was a relic of the past; it had been originated with an old instruction which held the foreman personally responsible for certifying that the reserve coal stack had not vanished in whole or in part, and that the oil stock was according to the books, and had not been diverted to other purposes. Occasionally, on the second Wednesday of the month, the foreman paid a visit to Littlehampton only, but this was an exceptional measure of supervision. The reason for the choice of Wednesday was that on this day the Outdoor Locomotive Superintendent regularly visited the Chief Offices at London Bridge and therefore was not likely to descend upon Horsham, and find the Foreman absent.     

For all practical purposes the telephone was non-existent, the only means of communication, other than by rail-borne letter, being the single needle telegraph, known as the “speaking instrument.”

The immediate responsibility for these out-depots therefore rested upon the man in charge of the shed, and sol on as he was conscientious in the discharge of his in charge of the shed, and so long as he was conscientious in the discharge of his duties, everything worked satisfactorily. The standard of locomotive maintenance at these depots compared favourably with any other shed on the system, the mileage run between shop repairs averaging 65,000 in a period of about 2 3/4 years. The general arrangements were primitive by modern standards, but were suited to the conditions of railway working at that time.

Variations of the standard engine workings, as diagrammed, were confined to local adjustment at the time of the annual revisions of the timetables, and at holiday times, when late running of the London - Portsmouth trains resulted in unscheduled trips on the Bognor and Littlehampton branches. During the Goodwood Race period (the week before the August Bank Holiday) some slight adjustments were made to the train service on the Midhurst branch.

All clerical and administrative work was done at Horsham, as were repairs which could not be carried out by the fitter stationed at Littlehampton. The sole boilermaker visited the out depots if necessary, but such occasions were exceptional, engines being worked up to Horsham on suitable duties and charged over as required. Additional personnel, other than repairs staff, were provided from Horsham to cover sickness, leave, and other similar contingencies, as well as for special traffic requirements. Engine power for the latter was usually supplied from Horsham as well. In practice, if any member of the staff fell sick, provisional arrangements to cover his duties had to be made by the local man in charge of the depot until a substitute could be produced from Horsham, which ordinary was not until the following day. That life on the railway was much less strenuous for the fact that Horsham was not frequently troubled by such applications.

When a vacancy at any of the four depots occurred, it was filled by the senior man in the junior grade in the district, unless he expressed his desire not to do so, in which case the offer went to the next senior and so on. In the event of the post of fitter-in-charge at Littlehampton becoming vacant, the appointment was made but the Outdoor Locomotive Superintendent, Brighton.


The shed at Littlehampton, in which four tank engines could just be accommodated, and locomotives enthusiasts could obtain close up views of the engines from the public highway. There was consequently no occasion for any contravention of the law of trespass, or fear of  prosecution for loitering such as was the case at Bognor and Midhurst. Nevertheless, warning notices exhibited on the Company’s premises against loitering and trespassing were so numerous and conspicuous as to suggest to visitor that the local inhabitants possessed a particular flair for such offences, but the present writer knows of no case in which it was necessary to summon assistance from the Police Station immediately opposite the shed.

At Littlehampton, the fitter was in charge, and during the daytime he usually was to be found there, except on Mondays and Wednesdays, when he visited Bognor and Midhurst respectively to carryout repairs to the engine stationed there.Having but ten engines to look after (a small number for those days) the post was considered to be an easy one, as it undoubtedly was if action was taken to forestall mechanical troubles.

As Littlehampton possessed direct rail access from the Brighton, London and Portsmouth directions, it never partook of remote character associated with Bognor and Midhurst, and engines stationed there were more generally visible, as they have a much less restricted range of operation. The Littlehampton goods engine worked from that station to Brighton via the Preston Park spur on Monday to Friday nights inclusive, the enginemen being on duty 12 hours a night, thus completing their 60 hour week in five night. It was washed out by the pump-man on Monday mornings. The “ local service engine,” a Stroudley 0-4-2 tank in 1900, worked a turn daily as far as Three Bridges and back. This engine, and the branch engine, were washed out regularly after six days’ worked by the pump-man (but not on a Monday) the spare engine being used to cover their normal duties on such occasions.


The Bognor branch engine, a “Terrier” tank, was washed out regularly every Monday, the spare engine (another “Terrier”) being used only on such occasions. The latter was generally a run-down specimen waiting it turn for general repairs in the shops. On other days it reposed behind closed doors in the combined running shed and pumping station, the site of which is now in the centre of the main tracks, approximately half-way between the end of the platforms and the Bersted level crossing. Its isolation rendered a clandestine visit a matter of some difficulty, but a persistent oral tradition records that marathon one enthusiast awaited in ambush the hour (about midday) when the pump-man) adjourned to a certain establishment in the immediate vicinity (to wit, the “Richmond Arms”) to enter the well guarded area and behold the rara avis ensconced therein. As the write confesses to having acted similarly at Midhurst in 1901, he is prepared to accept the Bognor tradition as possessing at least, some foundation in fact.

The clearer worked, of course, at nights. He had to coal and light up the engine, as well as clean it, for the next day’s work, which commenced with a light run to Barnham to “bring in the goods” from that station at about 6.30 a.m. The last trip out and back left Bognor about 9.40 p.m., to connect with coastal services, after which the branch closed for the night. The shed was in charge of a driver who worked early and late shift alternatively, but performed only about 7 1/2 hours as a driver, the balance of 2 1/2 hours being supposed to be devoted to administrative duties. The latter mainly consisted in sending up to Horsham the drivers’ journals (total two) the records of the daily coal and oil issues (about 30 c.w.t. and 4 pints respectively) and some other particulars of like character, all of which could easily be 
discharged in about 20 minutes.

Of the three depots, Bognor was the most primitive and the most isolated, as there was no facing connection with the main line at Barnham. The branch line was single, worked on the staff and ticket principle, the tickets only coming into use on occasions in the summer when excursions mainly school treats arrived from a distance. These trains had, of course, to shunt on and off the branch at Barnham. The enginemen and guards booked off and on again for the return journey, unless there was any major defect on the engine, in which case it had to worked light to Brighton to obtain another for the up trip. Strange to say, this procedure was of the rarest occurrence. It is not recorded what happened if a Stroudley “Single” or a Class “B2” 4-4-0 showed signs of shortage of water in the boiler, but it is to be presumed that the pump-man “made the necessary arrangements” as there was no one else to do so.

The replacement of the “Terrier” tanks by “D” Class 0-4-2s tanks on the regular Bognor branch line duties, however, a “Terrier” continued to beheld occasionally for working that branch and to be held as a spare engine until 1919. It was used occasionally for working that branch , and on the Littlehampton branch, when the necessity arose.


The Midhurst branch passenger service required two “Terrier” tank engines to be provided from that depot daily, a third engine being held as spare to cover washing out and repairs. It was not until after the turn of the century that the first “D” Class 0-4-2 tank arrived to displace one of the “Terriers.” Some few years elapsed before the “Terriers” finally disappeared from this shed.

The goods engine worked a trip from Midhurst to Three Bridges every week night, but on Sunday mornings it arrived back somewhat earlier than on other days. The engine as washed out on Monday mornings. At one time this engine worked an occasional ballast trip from Midhurst to Beddington Lane (Croydon) and back during the daytime.The shed administration was on similar lines to that at Bognor, except that the pump-man and not one of the drivers was in charge.

The replacement of the “Terrier” tanks by “D” Class 0-4-2s on the regular branch line duties was necessitated by the substitution of six wheel main line stock for the five coach four wheel sets previously used, which entailed an increase in the tare weight of nearly 90 per cent. per passenger. The change had been completed by 1906. 

* John Pelham Maitland, was a Loco Foreman 

at Newhaven, Littlehampton & Norwood loco sheds.



At the beginning of the century, he Horsham Locomotive District; covered the  locomotive depots at Horsham, Littlehampton, Bognor, and Midhurst . When a footplate vacancy at any of the four depots occurred, it was filled by the senior man in the junior footplate grade in the Horsham district, unless he expressed his desire not to do so, in which case the offer went to the next senior man and so on. In the event of the post of fitter-in-charge at Littlehampton becoming vacant, the appointment was made but the Outdoor Locomotive Superintendent, Brighton.

 Railway accidents on the 


West Croydon 9th July 1902

Involving Bognor Driver Henry Winterton & Fireman Ernest 

William Webb


Kemp Town 9th July 1902 

Involving Brighton Driver Harry Mitchell & Fireman Herbert 



Three Bridges Driver Thomas Chappell 
with his two sons on King Edward VII’s Coronation Day on the 9th August 1902. 
The Class C2 no.440 was on Stand-by for the Royal Train.


17th September 1902

Fireman Alfred W. Johnson, had climbed into the tender to clear the coal chute whilst the engine passing between two bridges in Grosvenor Road Bridge area. He was not aware of the the wire and came into contacted with.  He received Bruising after falling from his engine. Fireman Johnson, knew of the Order not to leave the footplate whilst the engine was in motion.

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