Now that six months have passed since our dispute it is perhaps worth taking stock of the present and future prospects for footplatemen.

It must first be said that although the strike was engineered by the BRB in order to break union, the reverse has happened. The vast majority of the members who gave support to the EC realise that without collective strength their conditions of service and other agreement would all be in danger.

The failure of the TUC to give one of its most loyal members support, when the fundamental principles of trade unionism were at stake, ensuring our defeat on this issue, will forever remembered by members of A.S.L.E.F.

As an LDC member who has dealt with flexible rosters, it is quite clear that the management are stuck with an albatross of gigantic proportions.

For the future, I would urge the EC to place the ball firmly in the Board’s court and put a high price on any productivity proposals that are acceptable to the Annual Assembly of Delegates.

For those who are prepared to forgive and forget the Judases in our midst, I would say this; in any future dispute, we will have a body of “men” who are prepared to stab us all in the back for thirty pieces of silver.






Over the last few weeks, the main topic of conversation has been the Executive Committee decision only to fine, and not expel the scab drivers who worked during last summer’s dispute.

Although I sympathise greatly with my colleagues who feel very let down with the EC’s decision, I nevertheless feel that some of them being slightly unfair to the E.C. More importantly, these drivers who are critical of the decision are not totally honest themselves in facing up to the realities of Norman Tebbit’s 1982 Employment Act.

To start with many more of the E.C.’s critics should familiarise themselves with Tebbit’s law. They would then realise that our E.C. is walking through a legal minefield.

To understand the position more clearly, imagine you are an E.C. member. What could you do?

Firstly, you could expel the scab drivers who don’t pay their fines. The drawback there is simple BR management will just do publicity what has already happened privately at St Leonards depot, that is they now publicly break the “Closed Shop Agreement”. So the drivers we now expel will end up as parasites or leaches, men who because of some inverted principle cannot support a trade union, but at the same time who will not let that principle prevent them from accepting trade union negotiated pay rises, and improved conditions of services.

Finally, to rub salt into the wound, not only will these men obtain all the benefits that A.S.L.E.F. fights for and maintains, but they will be at least £55 per year richer in unpaid union contributions which they can bank along with all the other money they have made through their explanation of the rest of us this year.

Faced with this unattractive situation, you as an E.C. member tell BR “uphold the closed shop agreement or else”. “Or else what?” asks Sir Peter Parker. “Or else we will call our members out for a day’s stoppage” you say.

Well in the pro - Thatcher days we could have had a day out over this subject, but this time around we would come face to face with the 1982 Employment Act i.e. Tebbit’s law. The Tory party propaganda machine would certainly call this proposed stoppage a “political” strike. not only that, we would find ourselves being issued with the mandatory High Court injunction, and if we ignore that injunction, and go ahead, we could find ourselves being sent a very expensive invoice for our actions, an invoice we would ignore at our own peril.

Alternatively another situation might arise were we would to ask the BR to uphold the closed shop agreement, BR might say yes. On the surface all our problems might seem to be over. BR would simply dismiss the expelled scabs, and then these worshippers of Norman Tebbit would join the other three million plus victims of his government on the dole queue, and we who remained could driver our trains off into the sunset and all live happily ever after.

Unfortunately it is not so simple. Management’s reasons for upholding the closed shop voluntarily would be only the first stop in a well-planned, pre-meditated set up, with A.S.L.E.F. as the fall guys.

“The Sting” that BR and the government would plan for A.S.L.E.F. goes as follows. Firstly, amidst a flood of crocodile tears, BR sacks the scabs.

This is quickly followed by rush of organisations like the Freedom Association dragging the scabs by the back of the necks to the nearest industrial tribunal screaming unfair dismissal.

Th BR lawyer turns up and tongue in cheek tries to defend his master’s actions in expelling men who were publicly told that they would keep their jobs even if they lost their union membership. BR, surprise surprise, then loses the case and the tribunal orders it either to re-instate the scabs or pay them compensation.

If BR is asked to pay compensation the scabs would probably be given over generous rewards for their actions, all this to be used highly publicised propaganda advert for showing all parasites the financial advantages of using Tebbit’s law and fighting the close shop.

Alternative, of course, BR might be requested to re-employ the scabs. So now, not only do the scabs return to their jobs having broken the closed shop, but as pawns of the government, they have indirectly humiliated A.S.L.E.F., and have been used by Tebbit to issue a strong warning to all trade unions about the effects of Tebbit’s law.

The options are left open to us, no matter what course we take, are all very complicated and none of them appears to carry any real likelihood of success. The EC of course can still inflict further punishment on the scabs who don’t pay their fines, they can attempt to withdraw their benefits, ban them from ever holding union office, deny them representation and so on. But whatever further punishment the EC may decide to dish out to these men, it should only be done after very careful consideration and after taking professional legal advise.

Believe me, none of us like the idea of seeing the scabs get away with it. But don’t blame your EC member for the situation we now find ourselves in. blame NormanTebbit, because it’s his law which has tied your EC’s hands.



Extracted and adapted from

Tunbridge Wells Meeting

Sunday 20th March 1983 at 10.00 a.m.

at the Welfare Rooms Tunbridge Wells Central Station


The President of our Executive Committee Bro. Derrick Fullick thanked all for asking him to attend this meeting, to carry out a presentation to Bro. Fred Diplock for being with union for 45 years. Before he handed the long service badge, the Chairman did mention that Bro. Fred Diplock had been active within the union on and off since before 1945 as that was the earliest that the Branch had. The President then presented Bro. Fred Diplock with his badge.

The Chairman then mentioned to Bro. F. Diplock that the Branch would also like to present him with a memento of this Branch and presented him with a pen set inscribed from A.S.L.E.F.

Then Bro. D. Fullick asked that the Secretary write to the Journal and give a branch report.


The Chairman then moved that the floor now be given over to Bro. Derrick Fullick and asked him to give us an up to date report on the latest at Head Office that of the 6%,  plus One Man Operation.

Bro. D. Fullick then gave a very full report and what was going on between the union and the B.R.B., mention was made of the Tribunal Decisions 79 & 80, 80 being the 6% also mention was McCarthy had said that no one should get any rewards from flexible rosters until all depots. Bro. D. Fullick said this had pleased the unions as it stops L.D.C. excepting all sorts of things outside the Decision 77/78.

One thing mentioned which did please everyone was the 6% pay award was to be paid on Thursday 31st March including 25 weeks back pay, the remaining three weeks in April.

To get this the union had to agree with Decision 80. This was One Man Operation and the training of the men concerned and the rewards would be £6 + 6% per turn or part off. This was all that the unions had to agree too, thus they felt was better that B.R.B. first offer of £2.50 per day and no 6%.

The units, 455, are now being after training of the men concerned, brought into service and once the stock is available will spread. After some interesting points Bro. D. Fullick finished his report.


APRIL 1983



A change of thinking within the BRB is required. Non railway minded members of the BRB should resigned. Our industry is being eaten away by political abuse and manipulation - inciting strike action and upsetting work relations for no other purpose than to turn public opinion against BR. What we require is this I.K. Brunels of our society, not the local demolition brigade.


1 Total electrification of the system.

2 Standardisation of rolling stock, cutting cost of maintenance

3 Building up a successful freight business.

4 Tighter control of money spent in the various departments.


I would suggest using outside contractors (the Tory policy-makers) to complete the work needed to modernise the rail system. After all, monetarists are interested in making money; how it’s made is immaterial. Money for these projects should come from the same place as money for the road network.


The British government to recognise the need for, and importance of the British Rail network, and create healthy competition between rail and road by bringing road taxation into line.

Yes, I am biased. But the railways are part of our heritage, and to this day BR is still the envy of the world. When other countries are spending millions upon millions on their own systems, it would be criminal to destroy our own.




APRIL 1983


We held our annual general meeting at the BRSA, Selhurst on January 30, which is of course in contravention of Rule 37(3). When the financial year ended on the last day of October a December AGM was fine, but since the introduction of the branch statement sheet which requires a balance sheet made up to December 31 yearly, to comply with the Trade Union and Labour Relation Act 1974, a December AGM is out. how can any branch secretary present a balance sheet to the membership before the end of the financial year? Selhurst members demand a full balance sheet at the AGM, not one of an interim nature. Therefore Rule 37(3) must be changes.

Branch meetings throughout 1982 were dominated by flexible rostering. The talking point in 1983 will be depot closures. The two topics are not related. Yet!

Seven depot make up Selhurst branch and two of them will close in October 1983. Many branch stalwarts are at these two depots including our chairman and secretary. Should these men register their Clause 14(a) moves away from the area then our branch will be much the poorer for it.



The seven EMUT depots making up the Selhurst branch were

Selhurst, Epsom, Epsom Downs, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, West Croydon, 

Coulsdon North. With West Croydon & Coulsdon North to close in October


APRIL 1983


We have now entered the third period of define decline in the industry, when an acceleration in the closure of lines and service and a rising level of charges, coupled with vast changes in manning levels and other operating methods to enable revenue to meet other costs.

The yearly amount of income we receive from the state is greater for this industry than any other, although it is of constantly declining value. Yet all the finance and investment monies are insufficient to keep pace with the wear and tear on the industry. There is insufficient finance to enter into projects at a sufficient level to make any of them worthwhile. The country’s economic showing means that any government could not put sufficient money into the railways to make a significant impact on the total investment requirement.

Where traffic flows are high or certain potential is there to realised, finance may be available, e.g. the trunk route the railhead principle of the Beeching proposals will be developed, although at a much lower level bearing in mind the country’s economic state.

Our “requirements” will need to fit this overall lower level of operation. We must now give maximum support to trunk route/railhead development and any area potential, also total change in the control of suburban systems, not proposals for metropolitan transport authorities.

A railway is a mass mover of people or freight in bulk. There can be no significant change in freight movement by rail unless there is an upward movement in world economic activity. Therefore we have to concentrate on the job of the mass movement of people between cities, or to cities and railhead catchment, and suburban systems.

Any significant change in freight carryings could only be brought about by a return to the principle of traffic from any point to any point, thereby depriving others of the traffic by service and efficiency.

Any thought of integrated transport must be dispelled. It can only mean fewer railways and is not feasible, otherwise it would have been achieved under the British Transport Commission.

There is no way we can attempt to pursue standard practices if we are to keep bulk of the railways together. We must pursue flexibility in conditions of operation and to enable us to accommodate the rationalisation that is inevitably approaching. Our response to change must be rapid and continuous.






The F.P.R.S. was a unrecognised trade union that was founded in May 1983 by former members of the A.S.L.E.&F. & the N.U.R. who were worked during the 1982 Flexible Rostering strike and also to the Closed Shop agreements. It aimed to secure recognition from B.R.B, but was unable to do so. Members of the union were involved in driving coal trains during the 1984/5 miners strike when other rail unions asked their members not to do so.

Membership still stood at 200 in 2004, but had fallen to only 33 in 2015, and it dissolved that year.

This organisation was referred to by other railway workers has 

Federation of Professional Railway Scabs 


Seaford Driver George Caulfield 


MAY 1983


found Bro. White’s letter (March Journal) very interesting read. However, I would like to direct our membership our brother toward Tony Benn’s work Arguments for Democracy”, published by Penguin in 1982 - if he studies pages 115 and 116. Bro. White will understand more clearly why we do not have a daily trade union newspaper in this country.

I agree with Bro. White’s view that it is in the trade union movement’s interest to establish a national union strike fund.

Secondly, I was pleased to read see that Bro. Halsworth is making a noise about noise. We hear more about “yellow vests” from the Board’s Safety Officers than we do about the problem of noise. Both are important! It is easy to inform a member of staff about the need to wear a yellow vest, but more costly to overcome noise levels on locomotives. That is the reason why this problem falls on deaf ears.

It is good that people like Dr. Else of Aston University and Dr. Vernon Coleman of the Royal Society of Medicine understand the problem of noise and its effects of loco men.

If any of our members live near Bootle they will always be welcome at the Health and Safety Executive library to Bootle. The library is computerised and receives many in quires from the public about safety legislation and medical scientific matters.

Keep five jumps ahead of your Safety Officer and keep A.S.L.E.F informed.




MAY 1983


Our branch meeting this year was a special meeting for one of our senior members Bro. Fred Diplock who has been with the union for 45 years. The branch had invited Executive Committee president Bro. Derrick Fullick to our meeting to present Fred with long service badge. for those who have not yet seen iy, the badge is to a different design from the others, and I am sure that it will stand out from all the other badges Fred has and that he will be proud to wear it.

I see that Fred’d name keeps popping up in the old minute books in different offices; he has been a very active branch member since before 1945; assistant branch secretary, vice chairman and LDC member. Back in the steam days he did Mutual Improvement Classes. Very he was chairman of our branch, but he decided to stand down to make way for a younger man. Fred is one of the back bones of our branch, one of those men who make a small branch into a big happy branch - thanks, Fred.

after the presentation by Bro. Fullick, the chairman presented Fred with a pen set suitably inscribed.

The chairman then asked Derrick Fullick to give us a report on head office actives, and Derrick went through Decision 80, and then dealt with pay and back pay. After a very informative report, the chairman opened the meeting to questions. A number of good questions were posed with equally good answers from Derrick Fullick.

It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously that a vote of thanks be recorded to the Executive Committee for their work done during the past year; also endorsing their actions over Decision 80.




The head-board which was conveyed on a special speed run, between London Victoria - 

Brighton on 16th July. 

This event was to mark the 50th anniversary of electrification of the 

Brighton main line. 

The train was driven by Brighton Driver Norman Light


Brighton Driver Norman Light 

meeting the V.I.P.s after his arrival at Brighton


 The slim down railway system according to “the 

Serpell" report of 1982/83



OPENED 1925 - 1983

On August 15 the Coulsdon North EMUT depot closed, and followed by the closure of Coulsdon North station on 30th September 1983. Couldson North Motormen's depot was opened on the 1st April 1925 as part of the overhead electrification extension of the suburban area and on 22nd September 1929 become a third rail electric depot.

Originally there was a steam shed locate at Coulsdon which opened in 1900 and closed in June 1929.

The Coulsdon branch of A.S.L.E.& F.  was originally called the Purley & Stoats Nest and incorporated the members of Caterham and Tattenham Corner loco shed.The Coulsdon branch closed in c1929, and its A.S.L.E.&F. members become part of the Selhurst Branch. 


Coulsdon North Sidings




On August 15 the Coulsdon North EMUT will close, some eighty three years after the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway opened a steam shed (Originally called Stoats Nest but subsequently renamed “Coulsdon” after a short time). In 1928 the Southern Railway electrification caused the closure of the shed and a move to the station. Drivers’ and guards’ duties have remained much the same ever since.

The station itself is due to close and be demolished on October 3, at the beginning of the winter timetable. Two ex-South Eastern Railway stations in the locality are taking over the traffic; Coulsdon South (on the Redhill) and Smitham (on the Tattenham Corner branch), both within minutes of our station.

There are a lot of mixed feelings about closure, some taking advantage of it to transfer to other areas, most remaining at depots within the area. I’m sure that all 31 drivers will mourn the loss of what surely must have been one of the best depots on the system. The sociability of our turns had to be seen to be believed, and our route knowledge was quite wide, giving a good variety of work. Coulsdon’s best attribute however, must have been the men. Drivers and guards had an excellent working relationship with one another. Wherever I end up I’m sure I will never work with a better crowd of railwaymen.

With regard to closure details, we have been very fortunate in that all our men, along with West Croydon, have jobs to got to although two of our colleagues have chosen resettlement. Quite an achievement in this day and age. I would like to thank Sectional Council ‘B’ representatives Peter Allen and Bernie Noakes for the first class job they have done at the redundancy interviews.

Lastly I would like to thank all the drivers at Coulsdon North for their support of the LDC during this very traumatic time, and wish the best of luck where ever they eventually end up. 





STEAM SHED 1839 - 1935


OPENED IN 1925 - 1983


1908 - 1983

On the 30th September 1983* saw the closure of West Croydon E.M.U.T. depot.

West Croydon depot opened on the 1st April 1925 ? as part of the overhead electrification extension of the suburban area and in 1929? become a third rail electric depot

* may have closed on the 12th August at the same time as Coulsdon North EMUT depot

When Coulsdon North  and West Croydon E.M.U.T. depots closed, their work was moved to Selhurst with many of the  drivers  following their work until their redundancy moves allowed them to move to the depots of their choice when the vacancies become available across the country. This in turn left Selhurst E.M.U.T. depot  with a lot vacancies. Management did allow two men, one from each depot to take early retirement with around £10 to £12,000 which is not much when you see management leaving on £47,000. Train Crews were leaving on a shoe string.




Left - Righton Ken Skelton, J. Scott, Bobby Black, Earnie Streeter & Jack Longley

It is with regret that I have to inform you that another piece of our railway closed on August 15 - West Croydon and Coulsdon North. Both depots are part of our branch and already fifteen men have moved with the list. All the rest will have their 14A move in shortly.

In the past few months we have lost two chairmen - Bro. E. Streeter, who went to Victoria and Bro. J. Scott who went to the Plymouth. Bro. K. Taylor, our minute taker, and Brian Denton, LDC for Coulsdon, have moved, and our branch committee has taken a knock too with Bro. R. Collins away to Tunbridge Wells West.

We had a party night at the Selhurst BRSA club who put on a buffet and music for us. The entertainment was supplied by our own local talent and a very good night was had by all who attended it.

Earlier in the year we presented to Bro. E. Streeter the ASLEF pen set for his work for our branch. Bros. C. Jarrett and T. Selwood took resettlement; we wish them a happy retirement.

I and all the rest of the lads from the two depots are at Selhurst now. At the moment it is like a displaced person's camp, with sixteen vacancies in No. 3 link plus road learners and all the West Croydon men to be trained for the main line. It will be difficult job to cover all the work.

The only bright spot in recent times for us was the settlement obtained for a deceased member's widow and family. I would like to thank all branches who contributed to the appeal on behalf of Bro. H. Rennie's dependents. on the widow's behalf I would also like to thank Neil Miligan and the solicitors and head office staff for their work in obtaining the  settlement of £83,000.

Well, while we wait to see where the rest of our lads go in future, it seems my 100 per cent record is keeping up - everywhere I go it closes! Kipps, Parched, Crystal Palace, and now West Croydon; where next?

All the best to the lads that have gone away; keep in touch.






The branch meeting held at the Three Bridges B.R.S.A. Club on October 9 was, as usual, well attended. After the reading of branch correspondence by branch chairman Roy Luxford, the membership cast two important votes for the appeals committee and the A.S.L.E.F. parliament panel. After this district council rep. Cyril Blundell gave a precise and detailed report, for which the meeting was grateful.

Discussion then centred on the LDC report, prepared in advance by our LDC secretary Ray Young, who is also our Health and Safety rep. The detailed report listed a whole catalogue of safety faults in the Three Bridges and Gatwick Airport area, ranging from missing signal telephones, deliberately removed by the S&T for no apparent reason, to authorised walking routes which now resemble an obstacle course. It is hoped that now we have started the nationwide campaign. “Safety Line 83”, local management here in the Three Bridges area will rectify these faults.

The subject of flexible rostering took up the remainder of the meeting. Three Bridges drivers had been forced to work new rosters as from October 3. The meeting ended on a united note with the membership voting unanimously in favour of presenting management with a revolving cycle flexible roster, similar to those used by our central division colleagues at Brighton and Selhurst. This system prevents men working diagrammed unpaid overtime in their individual eight week cycles, and we would hope that more of colleagues in other depots would investigate the use of such system, as a safeguard to prevent further deterioration of our conditions of service. After this an extremely interesting branch meeting came to an end.



* Brighton No.2 Branch (EMUT) worked to this method of rostering at this time 


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