The New Cross (Gate) Loco shed 

was closed in 1949, by British Railways. 
But remained open as a depot for steam locomotives



Schools Class 914 ‘Eastbourne’ at Eastbourne during the centenary celebrations of the railway arriving at Eastbourne, 14th May 1949


The British Railways, Newhaven - Dieppe Boat Train leaving Victoria on Sunday 15th May 1949

An electric locomotive hauls the boat train for the first time

Carolyn Proud Collection 

On the morning of Sunday 15th May, 1949 the coaches of the Newhaven - Dieppe Boat train were hauled from Victoria not by a steam locomotive, but a new electric locomotive (CC3) of the latest type. This locomotive said to be able capable of hauling trains at a speed of up to 75 m.p.h

Eastbourne station c.1949. Unknown motorman with 4-COR 3145.

Railway accidents on British Railways

Southern Region 

Central Division


Merstham Quarry Tunnel 27th June 1949 

Involving Motormen H.H. Howell, G.N. Cummings & C.J. Hay  

Depot unknown 


London Bridge 24th July 1949 

Involving Driver Hilson & Fireman King Depot unknown & Leading 

Motorman Atkins Tattenham Corner 


Epsom 28th July 1949 

Involving Motormen L.H. Pallot & H.J. Hughes Depots unknown 




 T.W.W. Fireman Fred Diplock and his unknown driver, 

Loco No. 31182 at T.W.W. 19.9.1949.




Branch meetings were held on July 4 and 11. the attendance at both meetings was not as good as usual. Pensions and the housing question for transferred member were some of the items discussed. Two new members have recently been enrolled.

Bro. J. Burridge, branch collector for many years, retires shortly, and we extend all good wishes to Jesse in his retirement, and also to Bro. A. Fry, a loyal member, who has just retired.

On July 3 members and their families journey to Southsea by coach via Haslemere and Petersfield, the lovely scenery being much enjoyed. We all regretted the absence through his accident last January of Bro. J. Parsons.To Bro. H. Rick, Social Fund Secretary, and members of the Committee such an enjoyable outing.





At a special open meeting with Portsmouth No. 2, we had the honour of our E.C. Member, Bro. G. Pavey, who gave us an interesting report on the Double Home Workings and Lodging Turns of Duty, and the present crisis on the Railways. Bro. Davey spoke for 50 minutes and answered questions for 40 minutes, which was very interesting. A vote of thanks was recorded to our members, and we hope to see him again.

At the July meeting we had correspondence of the Double Home and circular of Wages negotiations, also a considerably long discussion on the proposed Presentation suggestion.
Although the attendance at these meetings is increasing we still wish to see the younger ones come along. What I cannot understand is, that with the present railway crisis, it is left to the regular ones to decide our future policy.





I am glad to report that some of our members at Brighton are waking up to the fact that we 

have a branch, and the attendance on the other shift is becoming larger. Why not our shift as 

well? It is only two hours, one night a month, first and second Thursday in each month, 

especially now we are going forward with our own L.D.C.

Come forward with your complaints and get them remedied in the authorised way.




The 88 hour fortnight was implementation and became operative on Monday 31st October 1949. This result in a 44 hour working week with a rest day one a fortnight. 

Railway accidents on British Railways

Southern Region 

Central Division

Littlehampton 30th November 1949 

Motorman C.C. Young & R.S. Wollcocks Depots unknown 





At our October 27 monthly meeting we had the pleasure of having our Organising Secretary, Bro. W. Cleaver, pay us a visit. Several question were asked by our members and suitably replied to, including pensions; our urgent desire and one which every member of the Secretary should fight and strive for, to keep it the Society’s Priority No.1.

Our branch has now been formed for two years and I am very pleased to report that our attendances are quite good on the average.

Bro. A. Dean, Chairman of (W) L.D.C., gave us a report of the 88 hour fortnight implementation operative on October 31. Bro. W. Cleaver then made a presentation of a wrist watch to Bro. M. Crocombe, of Effingham Junction, who has resigned from railway service owing to ill-health, from his workmates and fellow branch members on the Southern Region. A good Society member of the branch, whom all are sorry to lose.

Thanks to visiting members who came along from other branches.

E.J. Beecher

Branch Secretary





extracted and adapted from the report

To address branch or special meetings I have visited Southampton, West Brompton, Selhurst (twice), Slough, Watford, Didcot, Hounslow, Leytonstone, and Leatherhead. Attendance honours to Leatherhead, where 50 per cent of the branch membership tried up for the presentation of inscribed wrist watch to Bro. Crocombe. After many years’ service on the S.R., Bro. Crocombe has unfortunately failed to retained his standard of medical fitness for the cab and consequently has severed his connection with British Railways. Tribute to our member’s valuable assistance to the Society was paid by the branch members who, in brief speeches, associated themselves with the presentation.  




Since our last report we have had visits by Bro. Cleaver (Organiser), to address members on the vexed question of Housing. Whilst the present system gives only limited scope to him as Liaison Officer, our members are satisfied that motormen are at least having consideration alongside other key grades.

Rest Days! Implementation of same has revealed the the Electrical Section is working very near the bone for manpower. This position will have to be closely watched by Sectional Council.

We had the pleasure of Bro. W. Isaac, Chairman of Sectional Council Employees Side, at our October 27 meeting, his short address was appreciated by all present.

All men in Steam and Electrical branches in electrified areas are asked to take note of the promotional machinery that will soon be a national agreement. There are some far-reaching changes. Go to your meetings and keep in touch with current affairs! On the lighter side, we had our first Social and Dance on October 21. Results were very encouraging. Out best thanks to all who made the evening successful, including Mrs. and the Misses Boniface and Bro. Mutter for raffle prizes - and our colleagues from Wimbledon and Norwood Junction for their support. Don’t forget Carnival Dance, December 28! Let’s have a “Bumper” evening together.





The branch meeting on November 7 was fairly well attended. Information from Head Office re me booked to work rest day aroused much interest and comment, also items in AA.A.D. Report affecting motormen. More young motormen should have been present to hear matters concerning their future.

On October 29 members of the Social Fund and their wives had a pleasant evening to the London Hippodrome and afterwards had dinner at the Tree Union Clib. After dinner the Branch Secretary thanked Bro. H. Rick the Social Fund Secretary, and Bro. T. Poulter for arranging such an enjoyable evening for all present.
The members were pleased to have Bro. J. Parsons with them again, after nine months’ absence through accident. A present was made to Bro. Parsons from the Social Fund; it is a pleasure to record such evidence of brotherly feeling.



Driver Alf Brooker and Fireman Frank Heritage

West Country No. 34039 “Boscastle 

No Last-Minute Shopping For These Men. They Will Spend....


Sussex Daily News 24th December 1949 

When most of us are preparing for Christmas, Mr. Alf Brooker and his mate, Mr. Frank Heritage, will be on the job, hurtling through the Sussex country side at anything uo to 70 miles an hours. For Mr. Brooker and Mr. Heritage are driver and fireman of one of the Southern Region’s crack West Country class express engines, working long distance expresses out of Brighton.

This week I spent a day with Mr. Brooker and his mate and saw the part they are playing in the Christmas holiday rush. Having done so I can assure all those who might travel this Christmas that if their train is a few minutes late it will not be the driver’s fault.

After pushing my way through the crowd of passengers waiting for the 11o’clock train from Brighton to Cardiff. I clambered aboard the engine which had just backed in from the sheds. Fireman Heritage was coupling up withe the leading coach, while his mate was making a last minute check on the lubricating system.

Driver Broker, who lives at 84 Elm Grove, Brighton, is one of the many veterans who drive Britain’s mainline trains. Joining the old London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1907. he has been on the footplate for 40 years: he can remember the days when a driver earned 4s. 3d. per day for anything up to 14 hours’ work, and speak affectionately of many types of engines now out of use.

Fireman Heritage, of 12 Coleman Street, Brighton, is 23, and has been with the railway since 1943.

These two representative of two completely different eras, work in complete harmony, the fireman anticiating the driver’s calls upon the engine by providing the steam required. If it were not so it would mean bad running, with not enough power for the banks and too much pressure at the end of journey.

We’re Off!

As the fingers of station clock drew near to the time of departure, porters fussed around the doors, bags of Christmas mail for South Wales were swung into the brake van, and the platform foreman stood ready to give the all-clear signal.

Home and distant signals were both showing green. Suddenly from the near the barrier there was a flash of green. Driver Brooker eased the regulator open and we were off.

Behind in comfortable, heated compartments, passengers were beginning to open magazines and newspapers, but on the footplate all was activity.

The first shovels-fulls of the two tons of coal used between Brighton and Salisbury were being fed into the hungry mouth of the firebox: the first gallons of the 3,500 gallons of water were being converted into steam.

The run to Worthing was punctuated with delays at signals, costing five minutes’ valuable time. Signals also proved a hindrance as far as Ford, probably due to a stopping train for Littlehampton which left Brighton a few minutes before us.

At Barnham we were seven minutes late, and here Driver Brooker explained to me why it does not pay the engine crew to lose time. “We have a very quick turn round at Salisbury,” he said, “which only leaves us about half an hour for lunch. So if we lose time on this run we go without our dinner.

Another point of interest is that these long distance men get paid on mileage rates, based on a daily run of 140 miles, so that anybody who might think that it pay a driver to run late for the sake of overtime is badly mistaken.

Schoolboy Enthusiast 

On the platform at Chichester was a young schoolboy. He looked up with obvious hero-worship at the driver, and began asking questions about the engine. “These youngsters know nearly as much about engines we do,” said Mr. Brooker with a wink. Then as the right-away signal was given and he reached for the controls “open the regulator,” said the young enthusiast “See you tomorrow!

Sitting in the fireman’s seat on the right hand side of the cab, I had a unobstructed view forward and watched fascinated as the 280 Ibs per square inch boiler pressure was gradually unleashed and we picked up speed.

The sleepers, which until now had been passing shadow like beneath merged into one continuous blur. “When they do that we know we’re doing about sixty,” said Mr. Brooker. As the speed increased I found I could stand and write in my notebook wit ease, so smoothly do these giants ride, something of a contrast to a trip I experienced on the footplate of a northbound express before the war, when I was nearly jolted out of my skin. 

We were six minutes late passing Havant, and then once over the Fratton Junction we gained speed again into Fareham dead on time. Here the thirsty engine was given more water, while four more coaches were shunted on to the rear of the train.

The Melty Road

Leaving Fareham we commenced to negotiate a stretch of line which is know to engine crews as the most difficult in the sector. It is called the Melty Road and consists of switch-back like gradients many of the climbs being made on sharp curves. A coach limits 15 imposed here, engine of the West Country class, most powerful for their size in the country, being allowed 15 coaches.

Clovelly, as our engine is named, climbed the bank without any of the chuffing and snorting one usually associate with a gradient of about one in 55. “No trouble with these engines,” said Mr. Brooker. “Theres always just the little bit spare.

Leaving Southampton behind we roared through fields and villages, bathed in winter sunlight. Here and there a woman waves from a garden. “They all know us,” said Mr Brooker. I permitted myself the luxury of a wave back.

After a short climb, Fireman Heritage dew my attention to a bridge “That’s bridge 44” he told me, the fireman’s harbour light. no need to stoke any more. We’ll see Salisbury Cathedral in a minute.

And as we wound over the points into Salisbury station the cathedral spire pointed skywards, its tip surmounted by scaffolding, looking rather like bandaged finger.

Roaring Through The Night

The return journey, partly through the darkness, was also exhilarating affair. Heavy holiday traffic from the West Country had necessitated 15 coaches on the train, weighing over 400 tons. Headed by Merchant Navy class engine drew in from Plymouth nearly three-quarter of an hour late.

With all possible speed engines were changed, and puffing and snorting, driving wheels slipping occasionally on the greasy metals, we moved off looking backwards, the train appeared like a long snake as it wound around the curve out of the station.

With a clear road, except for one stop at signals at Romsey, we made up time to Southampton, where seven coached were dropped. From here the journey was made in darkness, driver and fireman watching for the pin points of green light which told that the way was clear. Stations appeared like island of lights which loomed out of the distance into the background.

Illuminated by electric light the gauges showed a full head of steam, the fire box when open threw out a blinding heat an a glow which lit our faces and transformed us so that we must have appeared like friends riding some monster into the jaws of hell.

“Rat-a-tat-tat,” said the wheels; Pssssssssss,” hissed the steam; “Clang” went the fireman’s shovel, and above it all sounded the majestic song of power, as though the engine herself were proud to be devouring those precious lost minutes.


Then came the disappointment. After gaining a considerable amount of the time lost, signals slowed us down or brought us to a halt many times between Ford and Brighton and all the effort was frittered away.

Perhaps some driver would not have cared, but this one did. Like many others he takes a pride in bringing his train in on time.

When I am eating my Christmas dinner tomorrow I shall be thinking of Mr. Alf Brooker and Mr. Frank Heritage and the thousands of other who will spend Christmas away from home serving the public.


From the Brian Lawrence Collection

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