MARCH 1991


What an inspiring publication the special edition called ‘Legal Briefing’ was. As a Branch 

Secretary, I have always advocated importance of the unrivalled legal assistance which we as 

a trade union have given to our members.

Since members received the supplement, the comments and talks I have had with our 

members has been one of praise and appreciation for the sort of help which Robin Thompson 

& Partners gives ASLEF.

There is one area over which members seem a little confused: that is when their wives might 

not be entitled to legal assistance. If their wives are working, help may not be given as some 

members seem to believe. As always, members should seek advice from their Branch 

Secretary before asking the union to act on their behalf.

C. Newton

Branch Secretary



Brighton Driver Barry Brown, at Gatwick Airport 1991


APRIL 1991


I am writing this letter to express my gratitude and to say thnk you for allowing me to attend the 1991 Society School in Blackpool from which I received an in-depth knowledge and understanding.

I especially wish to thank Ross Goff who, with this first class teaching and tutorship, made the course so enjoyable and interesting.

So much thought has gone into the course and the handout is excellent. Its content is so valuable when carrying out the duties of Branch Secretary.

I believe that the Society schools are essential, and I hope others will have the opportunity to have this teaching.

Once again I express my thanks.

Stuart Fuller

Branch Secretary

Eastbourne Branch 

Graham Penn Collection 

Eastourne Driver Ted Selwood


MARCH 1991


The branch meeting held on 10 February saw in attendance Len Warboys, District Secretary, to make presentations to Bros. R.H. (Dick) Coombes and Peter Dove.

Dick Coombes served as Branch Chairman for many years, and was presented with a pen and pencil set for his loyal and devoted services to A.S.L.E.F.; Peter Dove was presented with a retirement certificate and badge. He was also made an Honorary member of the Branch.

Len Warboys wished Peter a long and happy retirement. Len said he felt honoured to be asked to make the presentation nd that the General Secretary would have liked to have been in attendance, but unfortunately was on Society business at the time.

Len also mentioned an item on B.R. deafness scheme (252/1990) saying that in the future it will be an item on the agenda, and anyone with deafness problem would benefit from this scheme.

We, Eastbourne Branch, wish to thank the District Secretary for his services

S. Fuller

Branch Secretary


APRIL 1991


Len Warboys & Dick Coombes  

Len Warboys & Peter Dove 

District Secretary Len Warboys makes retirement presentation to Peter Dove (above) and Dick Coombes (top) of Eastborne Branch

In February’s issue of the Locomotive Journal, it was stated that Bro. Coombes had retired from railway service.

In fact, this is not true, he has only retired from the Branch Chairman, and he still is in the railway service, but is off on sickness leave.

I wish to apologise for this error, and I hope this puts the record straight.

S.J. Fuller

Branch Secretary


MAY 1991



Les Friend, Ron Can & Mrs Friend

A large gathering took place at the Railway Social Club on Friday 1 March, the occasion being the retirement of our colleague Leslie Friend, who has been an A.S.L.E.F. member for 49 years

He started work at Tonbridge in 1942 as a cleaner boy moving to various depots until he eventually settles at Bognor Regis in 1962.

Les has always been a keen union member having held various positions in the Branch all his working life, finishing as Vice Chairman. He was always there to help and advise should the need arise.

The evening as one to remember. It wa nice to see retired colleagues together from Brighton, Fratton, Littlehampton and Worthing.

A presentation was made by Ron Can of a picture together with monies collected. Our District Secretary Len Warboys made the presentation on behalf of the union, touching on Leslie’s loyalty and dedication to the union over the years.

One must say a special thank you yo all those involved in organising the evening. It was a credit to all concerned.

Leslie, we wish you and your dear wife a long, healthy and happy retirement.

Branch Reporter.


West Worthing Driver Lou Churcher’s Last day

L~ R: Lew Churcher, Peter Ward (Guard Brighton), Tim Lavington (W.W) & Bob Dorkings (L'ham)



JUNE 1991

I wish to thank Robin Thompson and Partners for al their efforts in bringing my claim to a successful conclusion, and I enclose a donation of £30 to the A.S.L.E.F. Orphans’ Fund

J. Sanders 


Eastbourne Driver Dennis Roberts


On the 27th July 1991, a London Victoria to Brighton high speed run, worked by Victoria Driver Ron Taylor, as part of celebration for the Brighton Line 150th anniversary. Unfortunately an emergency brake application marked the attempt by 319 unit 176 & 184. The existing 39 minutes 14 seconds record (16th April 1988) thus stood unchallenged until the 26th March 1994



Left ~ Right Drivers: Roy Swetman, John Naisby (Train Crew Manager), Cyril Hutchings, 

Gus Wright, Don Hill, Harry Mitchell, Norman Light & John Brookshaw (A.T.C.M.)

Norman Light's retirement due in 1991

Back row Left - Right: Jimmy Edwards, Roger Thomas (W. W.), Laurie Osman & Gus Wright.

Front row Billy Kenchington, Gordon Hatcher, George Hilton (Sfd), Norman Light, Harry "Zippy" Mitchell, Eddie Forder (W. W.) & Eddie Ricketts.


Commemorating the centenary of the Brighton Branch 25th August 1891

the badge was designed by Branch Secretary Chris Newton




July’s meeting of Brighton Branch held at the Staff Club would normally have been held 

during the first week of the month - but with Society business taking much of the limelight, the 

Branch was held over to take account of events

We were honoured that we had invited Districted Secretary Len Warboys to come and speak 

to the members and we enjoyed a larger than usual number of members attending the 


Minutes were read and accepted, letters and circulars were read our with questions and 

answers to circulars. We heard, via an appeal, to the plight of one of our members from LUL 

and we will be affording our concern in the usual way and extend to his family our thoughts 

and support.

Concern was raised on staff car parking arrangements, our Chairman and L.D.C. leader 

explained the position to members; then our health and safety rep reported on the latest 

round of H&S problems and that he would be attending a visit the updating of cab seals on 

319/1 at Ilford.

At this point our Chairman invited our District Secretary to address the branch. Len thanked 

members for inviting him to the meeting and kicked off by addressing the problem over SPADs 

and signal irregularities referring to Purley.

He explained the way these incidents were being conducted.We’ve heard recently that 

problems within this area were still occurring, putting our members in very uncertain 

positions. Members asked if Bro. Bob Morgan’s case would be reviewed, but no decision has 

been taken.

Len then went on to talk on Restructuring, explaining the working parties and the way the 

talks will lead hopefully to a successful conclusion.

With time being the enemy, we had to call time but a call went out for Len to come again.

C. Newton

Branch Secretary 

Brighton Driver Vic Clarke 

on a EDL 73101 "The Royal Alex" 

(formerly The Brighton Evening Argus)



Don Pullen reports on 150th birthday celebrations of the Brighton Line 

and looks back at Grilled kippers, toasted firemen

Full marks to Divisional Director Chris Jago and hard working team for putting on a truly 

great show marking the 150th anniversary of the first train to run into Brighton station from 


For railway enthusiasts this was a quite remarkable demonstration of the development of 

routes and mileage, all breeds of locomotives, rolling stock, stations, depots and systems and 

how they fitted into the general pattern running through social and political change down 

through the years.

This celebration really began at the beginning of the summer with all sorts of events up and 

down the Division.

The climax came on Saturday and Sunday 21 and 22 September when Brighton station was 

almost completely over taken by a programme of entrainments, education, history and pure 

nostalgia attended by many thousands of railway buffs, friends and relations.

We have to say “almost overtaken” because, somehow, the normal train services, plus a good 

many extras, managed to find their way around the hundred of exhibitions, demonstrations, 

bands and dancers, vendors and caterers crowding every available inch of space on 

platforms and concourse.

I was luck to be there with John Wickes (former Industrial Relations Chief on the Southern 

Region) in charge of Network SouthEast official stall selling items like badges, books T-shirst 

and all manner of memorabilia.

Our real purpose was to collect a generous percentage of total takings as a donation to that 

oldest-of-all railway charities, the Railway Benevolent Institution. 

We had an absorbing, interesting couple of days, supported throughout by the Secretary of the 

North Staffordshire Railway Modelling Club who manned the stall next to us and likewise 

gave a nice commission to the R.B.I.

This was a weekend offering thousands of things to see and do and although our own 

activities were limited by being tied for most of the time to the business in hand, the highlights 

for me where (1) the opportunity to join the footplate of the Bulleid Pacific Taw Valley and (2) 

to sample the luxury of riding up to Victoria aboard Brighton Belle (or Orient Express), both 

of which came from the invitation of Chris Jago.

Brighton Driver Peter Staniford

It happens that I did quite bit of firing on Bulleid locos when stationed at Ashford during the 

war years and afterwards. Those of us who can still remember Bulleid would be forced to 

admit that Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid was not on the list of favourite locomotive engineers 

among the footplate fraternity of those early days.

In fact, we all quickly found the opinion that here, with the introduction of Utility ‘Q’ Class, 

we had unearthed some sort of idiot for a locomotive engineer. Those ‘Queers’ or ‘Spam 

Cans’ were odd to look at and even odder to work on.Nor, in those early days, were many 

marks given to the Bulleid Pacifics. I recall the chief of the Ashford Works drawing office, 

Joey Palmer, giving a lecture to the Mutual Improvement Class one fine Sunday morning in 

the early war years.

Joe wanted all drivers to understand that the new, revolutionary chain-drive gear on these 

engines had to be handled with great care. To se the reverser to notch back towards mid-gear 

could be fatal to the heavy handed. A snapped chain would fall into a sealed oil sump and the 

loco would be a complete failure. The message went home.

My mate at the time, Jack Milbury, was one of the lightest, most experienced drivers at the 

depot. I reckon Jack handled an engine so gently that if a coal-saving bonus had been 

available in those days, he would have retired a rich man.Bit from the moment Jack learned 

from Joey Palmer of the danger of snapping the chain, he resolved never to be guilt of 

notching back too far. The result? Whole shovels full of good coal straight out through the 

tubes without touching the firebox - and a fireman with an aching back...!

It is true that after a long period of trial and error and numerous modifications to the 

alignment of the blinkers alongside the smokebox - with other beat and blast refinements - the 

Merchant Navy and West Country Class locomotives became very good , powerful machines 

which served the ‘Southern’ very well until the withdrawal of steam.

But Bulleid’s greatest abomination without any shadow of doubt was the infamous  Leader 

Class monstrosity. Built to like a carriage, it had the firebox and mini footplate in the middle 

of the coach with a drivers desk at each end. Result? Happy driver, roasted fireman.All that 

was so long ago as to be almost forgotten and forgiven. Down at Brighton for the 150 years’ 

celebrations we were privileged to witness the naming of a Class 73/128 loco - OVS Bulleid. 

Officiating were two sons of the great man Messts Hav and Michael Bulleid - both retired 

engineers and architects.And, buffered up to the new locomotive, stood the magnificent Taw 

Valley a preserved West Country Class, in steam and positively sparkling.It was my luck to be 

invited on to the footplate with the Deputy Mayor of Brighton and other civic dignitaries. 

There was also an invitation from the fireman to try my hand with the shovel again.

After the absence of something like 45 years and recent major surgery, this was an offer I felt 

obliged to decline. Yet it was great to be back on the footplate where it all began! Amid all the 

speech making ad grandeur of many old steam locos; among the new, powerful diesels in the 

modern fleet, it was good to that members of the staff and long-suffering passengers were 


The guard of the first Brighton Bell train arrive, Peter Hambridge, was called to the rostrum 

with his wife. Peter worked for 46 years on the Brighton Line, often on the Belle.It was his 

65th birthday and this his very last duty before retirement. He received from the Divisional 

Director a scale model of a Belle coach and nice things were said on both sides.Some 

“customers” began as mere passengers more than 40 years ago and have shuttled between 

Brighton and London all that time, clocking up in some cases more than 900,00 miles. And 

they can still find it within themselves to say kind things about the services and the staff.

In my own case, I ended my active footplate life ats a driver at Victoria Central in 1962. 

Several Brighton Belle turns were worked by Victoria men, so I know enough about the Belle 

stock to be able to report that while that while famous people like Sir Laurence Olivier, Dora 

Bryan nd others were enjoying their special lipped breakfasts, the poor old driver was 

perched on a piano-type flat, circular stool bolted to the inside of the cab door, having a 

really rough ride at the front.

That’s why I was delighted to be asked to take a seat on the last Belle trip that day. It was nice 

to spend the next 58 minutes in the rare luxury of a Pullman car, sampling the splendid 

services of a bygone age.And to crown a pleasant trip, our driver was none other than 

George Knight of Norwood Junction depot, a longtime L.D.C. officer and great A.S.L.E.F 


Yes, the 150 Years of the Brighton Line was a big success. Such events together with railway 

depot Open Days do so much to improve what are now known as customer/staff relations. 

They also provide an opportunity to advertise the work of railway charities as the R.B.I and 

Woking Homes.

John Wickes and I enjoyed the visit. We are grateful to Mike Edwards, Claire Wickes and all 

those who worked so hard and so long to ensure celebrations befitting the occasion. The Bi-

centenary is still a long way off. But its organisers now have a good pattern from which to 





Many congratulations to Len Warboys on a very enjoyable weekend school at Southsea.

The choice of speakers was excellent. Getting Sir Bob Reid as a speaker was certainly a coup on Len’s part.

The General Secretary gave an informative talk on restricting and was as usual on top form.

Sara Leslie from the union’s solicitors spoke most interestingly on points of law and the latest Trade Union Acts.

It was good to see members of Sectional council among the ranks and their secretary Ron Lifford closed the weekend session.

A good time shared with friends and colleagues. I look forward to the next one, Len.

R. White

L.D.C. Secretary 


Ian Dove c1991




I wish to express my appreciation of you and the Society in presenting my recent claim for 

loss of hearing caused by my work to the solicitors who successfully resolved the claim with 

much satisfaction in my award.

Furthermore, I have extended the same to Mr. C. Newton, Brighton Branch Secretary.

J. Sayers

Retired, Brighton Branch


These photos have been taken from the video of Brighton Train Crew Social Fund Christmas Party of 1991.

The presentations made by Len Warboys ASLE&F District Secretary No 1 
(left in photos) & John Naisby Brighton Train Crew Manager

 Harry Mitchell

  Cyril Hutchings

Norman Light

Roy Sweetman


 Don Hill

Gus Wright

Vic Harris

Gordon Hatcher

Sandra Fleet Collection 

(Laurie Osman’s daughter)

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