Railway accidents on British Railways

Southern Region 

Central Division


Sweet Hill 19th December 1978 

Involving Littlehampton EMUT Driver Ronald Jefford, 

Brighton EMUT Driver Harry Mitchell 

& Selhurst EMUT  Driver R. D. M. White.  






In recent years we have lost nearly every concession made to our fraternity. The secondman has all but gone from the front of our trains, mileage is only accorded to the elite few, bonus schemes consolidated into basic pay.

This now leaves us all on our own, accepting more responsibility doing twice as much - if not more - work train running than in previous years.

We still have to supervise others to make sure they do their jobs properly when coupling and uncoupling and in the case of train failure. The new Guards are told by their instructors to “Ask the Driver” if they get into difficulty

We supervise ourselves through each working day to ensure the safe and efficient and punctual journey of each train worked. The trains are faster, heavier and we are spending more time in our cabs.

At all times were are responsible for the safety of passengers, expensive equipment and this who work around us.

The comfort and cleanliness of our cabs leave much to be desired and we now learn 14 per cent of our fraternity are “off the track” through ill health.

For all this we are remunerated with a basic wage of £62.80 a week - WE MUST BE MAD!

We idly sit by and watch while others on the regrading wagon go up in leaps and bounds, accepting no further responsibility or work load.

We have now reached the stage whereby Station Managers have nothing to manage than empty or non-existent yards, bus shelter stations and a hand full if staff, A.S.Ms performing duties on stations that were adequately performed by porters ten years ago - Station Supervisors with nothing to supervise other than a few parcels and ASMs doing porters’ work: Motive Power Supervisors with nothing more to worry about than the next day’s alteration sheet, empty loco sheds and empty drivers’ rooms: Area freight Controllers or TOPS offices with no more than one or two  block oil or coal trains and non-revenue earning departmental wagons to register in their expensive machinery.

Controllers who sit in their plush sophisticated office away from the railway, whose only answer to any problem is cancellation due to lack of stock or staff.

These positions may be necessary within our system but they do not deserve all the regrading that has been going on since the pay codes began, while our standard of living goes down and down.

Management are not only treating us fairly they are rubbing our noses in it.

With all these points in view here are my suggest 1979 resolutions

1. All drivers to be reclassified as Train Controllers and awarded Supervisory Grade C conditions. Drivers of trains of 100 mph or above to “Ds”.

2. Train Controllers to spend no more than six hours in cab environment including stopping times.

3. As we are supposed to run the finest train service in the world, we want our status back. Gold Braid to be put where it belongs - on the Train Controllers uniform.

4. A new system of working whereby Train Controllers have some form of social life, and to reduce the stress factor places upon them. 

These conditions have been rightfully ours for years - we now DEMAD then before the 1970 pay negotiations start. If they are not forthcoming, we stand up and fight. If need be to the death. We have nothing to lose.

Micheal Jeffery

Redhill Mixed Traction

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