2009

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


JANUARY 2009

SELHURST CALLS TIME ON TIMMS

THE Selhurst branch was proud to present a retirement certificate and 50 year medallion to Peter Timms on 11 November. The awards were made by Alex Holness (Branch Chairman) and local staff rep Ray D'Souza.

Peter was a 'drivers' driver' to the extent that he wanted his driver colleagues - people that he'd worked with for so many years - to present him with his record of achievement. We found two 'old boys' who were happy to do the honours!

Peter started on the railway in 1947 at Norwood Loco Depot as a cleaner. He rose through the ranks before passing out as a driver in October 1963 and in 1964 he transferred to Selhurst where he spent the last 42 years of his career as a driver.

I would like to say a big 'thank you' to Grace Fox for laying on another fabulous hot and cold buffet for all the members and guests at the Selhurst BRSA.

Andrew Cook

Secretary 

Selhurst Branch

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


FEBRUARY 2009


EXTRACTS FROM THE ARRIVA CROSS COUNTRY COMPANY COUNCIL 

REPORTS


The CrossCountry franchise commenced a little over a year ago - on 11 November 2007. 

The interim period has been one of considerable activity for the Drivers’ Company Council as the re-franchising brought together 430 former Virgin Cross Country Drivers with 102 former Central Trains Drivers. The salary gap between them was over £7,000.

In the summer of 2007, as soon as the DfT announced that Arriva had been awarded the 
franchise, the Company Council, along with our full-time officer Colin Smith, made it clear to the company that we needed to begin discussions on harmonisation as soon as possible. 

At the same time we needed to ensure that acceptable arrangements were put in place to 
deal with the closure of Brighton CrossCountry Traincrew depot, something that had been 
determined by the DfT franchise re-mapping.

Brighton depot closed on 13 Dec last year, and all the drivers at the depot were given two 
options. They could either transfer to other CrossCountry depots with a relocation package, 
or opt to take an enhanced severance package. Roughly half have opted to remain in 
CrossCountry, four have opted to leave the industry, and the remaining drivers have 
transferred to FCC at Brighton. We should offer special thanks to Mick Whelan, the District 6 Officer, to the FCC Company Council, and to the Local Reps at Brighton FCC for their help in making those jobs available, and at the right time. We wish the former Brighton drivers all the best at their new depots.



LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


FEBRUARY 2009


PAUL’S CASE HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO CONTACT REPS


The December Journal published a letter from Brighton Representative, Paul Overington.
The letter effectively covered two issues, sleep depravation and hardship moves.

Paul also wrote about the sad circumstances surrounding Luke Veness. Unfortunately, no 
senior representative had been made aware of Luke’s situation and therefore we think the 
criticism of A.S.L.E.F. is misplaced. We would welcome Paul contacting one of us, so we can understand what support and advice Paul gave Luke. Local Representatives are in regular contact with drivers and this is crucial in the support A.S.L.E.F. can provide. We like to believe our representatives will guide members to the people who can offer assistance to them for any situation they may find themselves in.

Members should feel they can contact any union representative when they may need advice 
and support.

Our condolences and thoughts go out to Luke’s family at this sad time.


Graham Morris (District Organiser)

Simon Weller (E.C. member) 

and the Southern Company Council.

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


MARCH 2009


BACK IN THE CAB THANKS TO THE UNION


In October, 2008 I had an incident and informed the A.S.L.E.F. Company Council representative of the situation.
John Doyle took my case up and was very supportive throughout the process. After representing me at the hearing where I was summarily dismissed, John assisted me with my appeal against the decision. He kept me up to date with the proceedings and protest when we were told that the appeal was to be heard by another local level manager and not my senior manager, which is supposed to happen.

John represented me again at the appeal hearing. It was heard by an impartial  senior manager who viewed the facts of the case from a fresh unbiased perspective. This hearing resulted in my being reinstated to my driving job with no loss of pay, for which I’m very grateful.

I’m writing this to say a big “thank you” to John and the Company Council and all of my fellow colleagues who supported me with their phone calls of encouragement, conversations and prayers. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you all

Francis Kwofie

Southern Railway  

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


APRIL 2009


STILL NO APT 20 YEARS AFTER PURLEY CRASH


The Purley rail crash happened just 20 years ago last month. Driver Bob Morgan was unjustly convicted of being culpable and it took 18 years to clear his name in the High Court – but even slower is progress on installing the Automatic Train Protection (A.T.P.) system that was recommended after the tragedy.
A.T.P. is installed all over the continent, but hardly exists in the UK. A.S.L.E.F.’s Keith Norman says he knows why it has never been introduced. ‘In one word – money,’ he says. ‘It is scandalous that accidents have happened and lives have been lost that could have been prevented,’ Keith says. ‘It makes a mockery of the phrase, ‘Safety is our number one priority’ which is trotted out every time there is an incident.
‘The Hidden inquiry into the Clapham rail crash six months after Purley spelled out that ATP should be installed across the rail network. A couple of decades later there are small areas covered in Western and Chiltern.

‘It would be a fitting tribute to those who died at Purley, and to Bob whose life was unfairly devastated if Network Rail was to announce today that A.T.P. will be installed across the UK.’
‘But I suspect that attraction to profit will once again outweigh commitment to safety.’

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


APRIL 2009


SIMON WELLER IS NEW NATIONAL ORGANISER


Simon Weller is the union’s new National Organiser. The result of the ballot announced last 
month showed a clear majority for Simon and has secured him a five-year term of office.
General Secretary Keith Norman congratulated the new National Officer, and thanked all 
three candidates for a ‘dignified and respectful’ ballot.

Over 64% of members who voted did so for Simon. Obviously delighted at the result, he 
thanked all those who had supported him and pledged to do all he could to ensure ‘continuing improvement in our members’ conditions and increased success and recognition for our proud and unique union’.

Runner-up Kevin Lindsay thanked people who had supported him, congratulated Bro Weller 
on his election victory and commiserated with Bro Amour. ‘Our industry is facing many 
challenges in the coming years and if A.S.L.E.F. is to meet these challenges we must stand 
united. Therefore we must all support our Executive Committee and officers in the difficult 
decisions they face,’ he said.


BRIGHTON BRANCH REUNION 

16th APRIL 2009

THE JURYS INN

SEE SUB PAGE

 

Left - Right: Ivan Wilson, John Waters, Ian Osborne, Dave Lace, Dave Penny, 

Bob Attwood, Brian Hall, Dave Swaffield, Barry Brown, Mick Whelan, Bart-Jones, 

Simon Weller, Perry Garland, Paul Heerey, Mick Spencer, Kathy Wilson, Keith Norman, 

Sarah Stinton, Chris Newton, John Osborne, Dave Neish, Trevor Fielding, Dave Eaton, 

Andy Butchers, Ralph Stobbart, & Spike Jones.

 CARINE VISSER COLLECTION

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 2009

I set off from Head Office with a heavy heart on 7 April for an appointment I wished I didn’t have to make. Along with the President Alan Donnelly I made my way to Worthing Crematorium where the funeral of Bob Morgan took place.

Bob’s story has been told often in the pages of the Journal, from the tragic accident at Purley and his conviction and imprisonment for manslaughter to his name finally being cleared 14 years later at the High Courts of Justice.

Bob was the last man who should have had to face such unjust traumas. He loathed the publicity his case attracted and his relief was obvious when he told me, just a year ago, that ‘it was finally over’. And now, with so little time passed since he was freed of the burden, he has died. He was just 66 when he drowned in a boating accident. He was last seen one late afternoon sailing on the River Medina off the Isle of Wight .

It is a deeply sad story, and perhaps the only people who can fully appreciate its tragedy are those who have driven trains themselves. People who know the dangers and the constant challenges of our profession. ASLEF members.

As I looked around the packed crematorium I saw driver after driver who had turned up to pay their last respects, united in a common fraternal bond. I was moved by the comradeship that we share. ASLEF is more than a union.

KEITH NORMAN

GENERAL SECRETARY

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 2009


BERT FIELD

SERVED AS A REP. FOR 30 YEARS


IT IS with great sadness that I have to advise of the sudden and unexpected death of Brother Bert Field, formerly of Battersea Branch

Born in 1933, Bert started work at 14 with the Southern Railway at Nine Elms Loco where he worked his way up the links with the likes of Derek Fullick and Ron Lifford. On reaching the top link he had his own engine, 35019 French Line CGT.

Bert married Pat during the 1955 strike. During their 54 years of marriage they had two sons of whom they were very proud. In 1960 Bert moved to Peckham Rye as aMotorman. He stayed until the depot closed four years later before moving to Victoria Central EMUT until his retirement in 1998.

Bert was a committed trade unionist and served as an LDC rep for over 30 years, right up to his retirement. He then joined the Campaign for Real Ale and was an unstinting worker at beer festivals and on committees.

He’ll be missed by all who knew him or worked with him and our thoughts are with Pat and their sons at this sad time.

Graham Hoy 

Secretary

Battersea Branch 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 2009


GENEROUS UNKNOWN FRIENDS


I AM writing to thank everybody for all their help and financial support over the last 21 months.

I’d been on the railway since I left school in July 1990. In that time I’ve worked on the platform, ticket office and as a crossing keeper at various locations in the Faversham area. I got a driver’s job based at London Victoria in March 2002.

In June 2007 I was taken ill at work. I was diagnosed witha balance disorder and have since taken medical retirement.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank union members for their help and ASLEF for financial assistance from the Hardship Fund. I’d also like to say thanks to all the branches who sent cheques from all around the country. It is very touching that so many branches contributed to a stranger.

But most of all I’d like to say a big thank you to all the lads at Victoria. They’ve been unbelievably generous with various financial collections for me. You don’t realise what fantastic and true friends you have until something like this happens. I look forward to seeing the Vic lads again soon for a drink.

Thanks to you all once again. I really am truly grateful.

Allan Bolter

Ex-driver London Victoria

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


JULY 2009

LITTLEHAMPTON LOSES DRIVERS 

LOVELL AND MORGAN

It is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of two Littlehampton retired drivers.

Alec Lovell, a former Nine Elm’s footplate man, moved to Littlehampton to become a motorman, passed away on 20 March after a short illness. Alec was always a dedicated Chelsea fan. His funeral took place on 3 April at Findon Crematorium in Worthing. It was well attended by family and former workmates of all grades. I did hear that Alec could be seen riding his bicycle around town until recently, but a year or so ago he took to an electric 3mph machine.

The funeral of Bob Morgan took place at the same venue on 7 April. Again it was very well attended by family, former workmates of all grades and the landlord of Bob’s ‘local’ on the Isle of Wight. Bob suffered a tragic accident on the River Medina when he was moving from his dingy to his new 40 ft boat. ASLEF was well represented including President Alan Donnelly and General Secretary Keith Norman, who said some comforting words on Bob’s behalf at the services.Fifty years had elapsed since Bob’s start on British Rail at Brighton as a loco cleaner on 23 April 1959. Moving through the grades he went to Addiscombe in 1966 and a year later to Bognor. Littlehampton was his next port of call in 1988. When he was made redundant there he moved to Barnham in 1995. Later he took the position of shed shunt driver at Littlehampton and retired little under a year ago.

Ian Munro 

Retired Driver

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


AUGUST 2009

 

TALES  OF TATTENHAM 

The reunion in May at the Foxley Hatch pub in Purley for drivers, staff, friends and well wishers associated with Tattenham Corner, Caterham and Purley was such a success that the organisers are thinking of a follow up.
People turned up who hadn’t see each other for decades, swapped tales and rekindled friendships. Many thanks to all who came along, especially those who had travelled along way to be with us.
A.S.L.E.F. is more than a union!
Daniel Nash
Tattenham

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


AUGUST 2009

 

THANKS FROM MARATHON MAN


I would like to thank all branches who responded and supported me in my recent appeal for 
sponsorship.

I ran the London Marathon on the 26 April in 3 hours 48 mins in aid of the Martlets Hospice 
in Hove, East Sussex.

Thanks to your generosity I raised £5,322. This was gratefully received by the hospice and 
will go some way to help with the sterling work they do to enable the terminally ill to die with dignity.

Once again a big thank you


Mark Johnson 

Driver

F.C.C. Brighton



  

Barnham Driver Tony Watts on his last day at work

21st August 2009

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


AUGUST 2009


WHAT A.S.L.E.F. REALLY MEANS


My name is Paul Fish and I am currently employed as a driver by FCC at Brighton. Prior to 
this I was a driver for Cross Country Trains, also based at Brighton (where I was also proud 
to perform the role of LLC rep for eight years) before being made redundant, and before that 
I was a driver and trainman at Brighton for BR and Connex SC (ah, such days!) since coming onto the railway in 1992. I am also a single parent with a 14-year-old daughter.
In February this year I was diagnosed as suffering from pancreatic cancer. I am 45 years old 
and last April I was told that the NHS considers my cancer to be incurable.

Since going off sick in March I have been receiving SSP – as a relatively new employee of 
FCC who was still on probation, I was not entitled to any company sick pay – but the 
‘savings’ provided by my redundancy money from Cross Country meant that I am not entitled to any other mean-tested state benefits – which turns out to be most of them.
On the other hand, I have received a payment from the ASLEF EC’s Hardship Fund and, at 
the end of last week, a payment resulting from a nation-wide appeal to ASLEF branches for 
help. It is in connection with this that I write now.

I want to take this opportunity to say how genuinely and deeply moved I have been by the 
kindness and generosity shown by the membership. The money that has been donated will 
make a genuine difference in the weeks and months to come, helping to  provide (as it will) 
some measure of security for the loved ones that I must leave behind, and offering me the 
solace of at least some kind of peace of mind as I enter what are projected to be the last few 
months of my life. And it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of peace of mind when faced with a situation like the one I find myself in now.

I guess we’ve all been in situations in the past, sitting in a branch meeting, when an appeal 
has been read out and hands have been raised in support and then we probably don’t think 
too much (if at all) about what happens after that, as far as the individuals involved in the 
appeal are concerned. Let me assure you that the help you give means an enormous amount 
to the individuals concerned, and is hugely appreciated.

And perhaps it’s the least that we could and should expect from one of the last great trade 
unions. The fact is that ASLEF has been there for me and my family – and for that I cannot 
thank you all enough.

Keep up the good work!


PAUL J. FISH 

Brighton

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


SEPTEMBER 2009


HOW ZOI GOT HER "TICKET TO LEARN”!

KEY WORKER: THE UNION LEARNING REP.


When Brighton train driver Zoi Kakouris became an A.S.L.E.F. union learning rep (URL) 
seven years ago she’d already been an active member of the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual 
and transgender (LGBT) consultative committee.

“I decided to become a ULR because I’ve always liked helping people and working on the 
LGBT side of things meant I’d already been involved in a bit of eduction of small minded 
people!” she laughs.

Her own schooling had hardly been the happiest days of her life. One day while she was still
in the infant she was locked in the teacher’s cupboard for refusing to read in front of the rest 
of the class. Life didn’t improve at secondary school. She was bullied by fellow-pupils and 
did so little during her CSEs that the school forced her to take the English exam twice - 
because she didn’t even put her name on the paper first time around.

“I had no motivation, there was no one at school you could talk to, and I didn’t get a lot 
support from home,” she recalls.”

The next time she had to take a test was the guard’s exam when she started working on the 
railway: although she failed first time, she didn’t give up, passing at the second attempt 
despite all her difficulties with studying from books. When she went on to take the driver’s 
exam, she adopted a new learning stragerty: she got a good friend at work to fire questions at her until the answers stuck - and passed first time.

PASSPORT TO HAND

After becoming the lead ULR on Southern Railway in September 2005 (for which she got 
two days’ paid release to carry out her duties), Zoi was seconded full-time to the “Passport To Learning” project between the company and the three rail unions in July 2007.

When she’s not in her office in Lewes, setting up courses, looking for funding or writing 
reports, she’s in one of the project’s learning centres in Brighton and Croydon (a third opened in Victoria during Adult Learners’ Week), catching up with learners throughout the Network, meeting providers, attending starring committee meetings or even talking to Government ministers.

What’s made all the difference is training as a ULR, and following that up with Skills for Life and advice and guidance courses (she’s just got her IAG Level 4).

“I think I’ve always had a lack of confidence with learning - I didn’t think I could do it - but 
in the last few years I’ve been doing all sorts of courses,” she explains.


PASSING ALL DOWN THE LINE!

She’s most recently passed her National Test for Adult Literacy Level 2 and completed her 
Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) course which qualifies her to 
teach English for Speaker of Other Languages (ESOL) “It was hard going. It felt like I was 
computer all day and all night, but I thought, “If I’m going to do it, I want to get the top 
grade.” I worked really hard and when I got my confirmation letter a couple of weeks ago, 
they’d given me an A grade, so I’m really pleased,” she says.

To cap it all, Zoi won the Learning the Unions Award (sponsored by Union Learn SERTUC) 
at the Adult Learners’ Week South - East Awards in May.

“We are extremely proud of her and the work that she does for us,” said ASLEF Project 
Worker Declan MacIntyre, who nominated her for the award. “She’s a beacon of hope who 
has earned the respect of all who know and work with her.”

Perhaps still just as reluctant to occupy the spotlight as she was at primary school, Zoi can’t 
quite decide how she feels about the recognition.

“It’s quite funny really: I was kind of pleased and excited but I’m one of those people who 
gets embarrassed if someone compliments me,” she says.

And what’s the best thing about being a ULR? “ There’s a lot of satisfaction in helping my 
co-workers,” she says. “It really pleases me when people tell me they’ve just passed their 
course, or got promotion, or are happier in themselves - that’s something that makes a 
difference, not just to them and their career but to their whole life and to their families as 
well.”

And she hasn’t finished with her own development , either. She’s now looking into an IT 
teaching qualification, and after recently setting up a Makaton sign language course is now 
think about that as well. “I just want to teach everyone everything!” she says. “I didn’t have a great experience at school and there’s thousand of people out there who had worse than I had, but after the way I’ve developed over the past couple of years, I just want to encourage as many people as I can: there is something everyone can do - if you can get the motivation and a bit of courage.

Zoi is only one of a small army of ASLEF Union Learning Rep out thee who want to help 
and home lives as well as opening up opportunities for a better working environment and 
prospects.

If you are interested in finding out what skill you can learn or improve on, contact one of the 
ASLEF Proud to Educate Project Workers or your local ASLEF Learning Rep.



LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL
 
OCTOBER 2009

CONGRATULATIONS MARZ

Congratulations to Marz Colombini following his election to the Executive Committee. The election was, I believe, fought vigorously but fairly by all candidates, avoiding dirty tricks or personal attacks.

Although I’m obviously disappointed to have been an unsuccessful candidate I’m sure Brother Colombini will be a strong voice on the ruling body of our great union. My commiserations also to Brother Sheehan.

I look forward, as do my fellow A.S.L.E.F. representatives and activists I am sure, to working in the spirit of openness, transparency and democracy that are the watch-words of successful and progressive trade unionism.

Karl Davis.


LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL
 
OCTOBER 2009

LONDON BRIDGE IS STANDING UP

At our branch meeting in July presented 20 and 30 years long service badges to drivers G.Dartnel and Sammy Rao respectively.

Our Regional Organiser (and our branch chair) Graham Morris made the presentations and it was good t see our complete Company Council in attendance, it was an achievement in its own right to get all three in the same room at the same time (which I should perhaps explain is my little joke).

The London Bridge branch has recently undergone a bit of a resurrection from being fairly inactive to becoming a (sort of) well attended branch with good standard of debate. We affiliated to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) this year and we advertise their paper at the depot and raise their points at our meetings.

As a driver of 20 years, I’m "old school” on my politics. My dad was a docker in Scotland. I remember clearly him telling me of the days before the Dockers’ union when the men had to queue up at the gates in the rain to be asked, “Who wants work today?” and they had to put their hands up! So I know at first hand the importance of being a union member and activist.

I encourage new guys to “look back” and see what being in the union means. It’s about fighting for out right to work safely and earn a decent living and to have the pressure of anti-social working, which affects our families as well as ourselves, recognised. how many bosses do we see getting home and at three in the morning?

So let’s hope that future members fight the good fight for us when we are pensioners. Hopefully one day we will all be pensioners who are able to look back with pride and say, “When I was in A.S.L.E.F. I fought the fight and we got to retire in dignity. It’s no more than we deserve.

Graeme Baxter

Secretary 

London Bridge

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

NOVEMBER 2009


THANKS FOR ROY

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Roy Luxford for pursuing my claim for Sunday payment when off track. I had an incident in June 2008 and was off track but with a Driver Instructor (DI) on a coaching plan, and was told that I could not work my rostered Sunday.

This resulted in 16 months of Roy pursuing my claim, with the help of once-a-month emails from myself, before it was paid out - despite the fact that it was provisionally agreed in November 2008. Only the sheer determination and perseverance of Roy made it happen.

This is a good example of the type of hard work that the union does on a day-to-day basis that members often don’t see or hear about. The union does great work representing people every day.

Thanks again to Roy Luxford and the time and effort he has given this claim.

S. Cresswell

Norwood Junction

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

NOVEMBER 2009


CUT THOSE DATES

Would it be possible to produce a half size ‘pocket’ version of the A.S.L.E.F. diary, and thereby offer a choice to members?

It would save me from having to give away my diary every year.

If this is viable, you could include a notification slip in next year’s diary for those members who would prefer the ‘pocket’ version, and the new size could be introduced in 2012.

Keith James

Driver – Victoria – Battersea Branch

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL


DECEMBER 2009


FIRST CAPITAL CONNECT 


STRIKE BALLOT ANNOUNCED


ASLEF’s executive committee has set in motion a ballot for strike action of its 550-plus 
members working in First Capital Connect.

The ballot result will be known on 9th December and industrial action could commence a 
week after that date.

At the root of the problem is the pay offer made by the company which consists of nothing 
this year, and 3% (or one percent over inflation if that is more) next year.

‘Last year the company was awarded the Evening Standard’s ‘award’ for the company which combined the worst service and the biggest profits,’ says union general secretary Keith Norman. ‘Our members want to improve the service – but they are also entitled to a 
reasonable share of any surplus they have created.’

Keith has informed First Capital Connect that ‘the company’s failure to satisfactorily resolve 
the 2009 Pay Review and its failure to resolve our concerns relating to a breakdown of 
industrial relations is totally unacceptable to ASLEF’, and given statutory notice of the 
union’s intention to ballot its members in First Capital Connect for strike action.

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

ORE BRANCH

DECEMBER 2009


ERNEST SPRAY – A DAUGHTER’S TRIBUTE


It is with sadness that we report the death of Ernie Spray at the age of 84.
In April he fell and broke four ribs and went steadily downhill thereafter, dying in hospital on 25 July. Ernie worked for 48 years ‘at the front end’, starting on 10 March 1941 as an engine cleaner at St Leonards. For his 48-hour week he earned £1/7-6 – which was 10 shillings a week more than he had been earning as an errand boy!

He progressed to firing and at 21 he started firing to driver Len Griffin on the Schools Class ‘Sherborne’ 906. This was to prove ‘the happiest three years of my life on the railway’. Ernie loved to recount his steam days. One anecdote was about the ‘races’ between the 5.15pm (‘King Arthur’ to Ramsgate) and the 5.18pm (‘Sherborne’ to Hastings) departures from Cannon Street until their ways parted at Chislehurst.

Steam gave way to diesel and there were many redundancies at St Leonards. Ernie opted for electrical work (but it was never as good as his days on the steam) and so worked out of Ore for 24 years reaching the top position of Leading Driver. Ore depot was closed in 1986 and the Ore and St Leonards depots were combined. Ernie then returned to St Leonards where he had started his railway career, to work the last 3½ years before his retirement, working both Central and South Eastern Division routes.

He was derailed once, on a cold and foggy New Year’s Eve in the early 1970’s. A crowbar had been placed on the line. A spell of bronchitis followed, the result of spending three hours out in the cold fog sorting it all out. 

A lucky escape occurred on the day following the storm of 1986. He was alerted by the frantic waves of a passenger standing on the platform at Wivelsfield station (where he was not stopping) that a tree had just fallen on the line beyond the station. Thanks to this warning Ernie managed to dodge sideways in time just before the tree came through into the cab. The tree caught his hip – but it could have been so much worse.

Retirement for Ernie did not turn out as the relaxing time one expects. His beloved wife, Pamela, was in the early stages of Alzheimers and she continued to decline. Ernie cared for her devotedly, putting his own health in jeopardy, until she died in 2003 – the tragic end of a very happy 58 year marriage.

Ernie was through and through a Hastings man, born and bred. There wasn’t much about Hastings that he didn’t know. He loved gardening and spent many happy hours tending his garden. He was a life-long keen cyclist, cycling as much as he could to fit in with railway work. He continued to cycle until three hip replacements and muscle wastage in his shoulder caused him to stop – but he still kept in touch with the cycling fraternity. He was a long-serving committee member, helped out with marshalling races whenever he could and met up with the club at coffee stops when they were riding nearby.

I have written this in memory of my Dad of whom his family are very proud. We would like to thank all who ensured there was a good turnout at his funeral – testament to the fact that he was a very special gentleman, loved by all who knew him.

Fraternal Greetings to you all.

Linda Ireland 

Ernie’s daughter.

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

DECEMBER 2009


WOLFIE’S DONE A LAZARUS AT LONDON BRIDGE

London Bridge branch had been inactive for a number of years. At times there were just enough people attending branch to make up the numbers for a committee meeting. For months on end there were no meetings at all, and at one point it looked as if the branch was going to close and amalgamate with Charing Cross branch. It was dead in the water.

Then enter our new Branch Secretary - Graeme “Wolfie” Baxter. Since he took up the reins about a year ago he’s taken the branch by the scruff of the neck and turned it around. It’s changed from being a lame duck to a fully fledged working branch.

Wolfie changed the times of the meetings to 14.30 and attendances and membership are both up, with regular visits from Functional Council, a few visits from members of the Executive Committee and even a visit from General Secretary himself at our October meeting. We even have our own badge.

It’s stalwarts like Graeme and his selfless attitude that make this union great and one I’m proud to be a member of. Along with all my colleagues at London Bridge I’d like to say a big “thank you” to Graeme for saving the branch and turning around its fortunes with his hard work and commitment.

Mickey West

Health & Safety Rep

London Bridge

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

DECEMBER 2009


GOOD WORK ROY!

I WOULD just like to put into writing my many thanks for the work Roy Luxford put in for me in helping me to return to my Driving job, which is still being worked on.

Once again many thanks and keep up the good work that you and the DFC do.

John Ward – Selhurst

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

DECEMBER 2009


REGINALD STANLEY WILKS – WIT MISSED


I have to inform you of the death of Reggie Wilks at the age of 83. He passed away at home on 22 October. Reggie served in Germany in the 4th Company, 1st Regiment of the Footguards.

He started his footplate career at Stewarts Lane Battersea depot as a cleaner in April 1949 and was appointed to Fireman in March 1950.

I first met Reggie in 1969 when he was on the LDC and dealt with the move to Victoria in 1972. He was one of the founder members of the Victoria Train Crew Social Club.

Reggie had a great sense of humour and wit. He liked to give route-learners things to look for. One favourite was asking ‘Where along this line is a dove above a cat?’ The answer was that ‘Dove’ was the name of a Jaguar dealership in Croydon – so their name was above a symbol of Jaguar.

Reggie will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our deepest sympathy goes to Reggie’s widow, Margaret, at this sad time.

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