ASLEF’s executive committee called off a ASLEF’s executive committee called off planned 
strikes of its 550-plus members working on First Capital Connect (FCC) after the company 
made an improved pay offer equating to 5% over two years. Thenew offer will be put to 
members in a ballot with the results declared on 14 January. Keith Norman said he hoped that as part of the process the company would ‘address the causes of the current disagreement by recruiting more train drivers’.

Meanwhile drivers on Southern who were prepared to take action on 27 and 28 December 
and 3 January because the company refused to recognise Monday, 28 December 2009 as a 
Bank Holiday have also called off proposed action as the company were convinced of the 
union’s case.

Two freight firms - Freightliner Intermodal and Heavy Heavy Haul - were threatened with action over disciplinary procedures but the cases were resolved and talks over competence development procedures agreed.

Action at Eurostat over the worth of international allowance dropping because of changes to the value of the Euro looked certain to go ahead as the Journal went to press.



Executive hear views from the Selhurst messroom

No less than four members of the Selhurst branch - Terry Allwright, Andy Cook, Andrew Johnson and Rob Lowndes - went along to this year’s national weekend forum, and found it ‘informative, interesting and good fun’.

Andrew Johnson says, ‘It’s been fantastic. this weekend I’ve met two members of Parliament, I’ve had the general secretary personally apologise to me for being late, and I’ve told the national leadership where they’re going wrong!

‘Everyone is equal here – my opinion counts just as much as the President’s.

‘I’ve never had any contact with A.S.L.E.F. members outside the branch before. but this weekend has made the union come alive for me, seeing it in a national context.

‘We stayed in a good hotel, enjoyed splendid company and took part in lots of debates. It was about the union listening to its grassroots – rather than the other way round! to my surprise I was one of the first people on my feet, Why? because I could!

‘I raised a question about the EU that we’d been talking about in the messroom the day before. how’s that? A debate in the messroom is transformed into a discussion with the national executive! that’s quicker than the internet and a lot more effective!

‘It’s a fantastic opportunity and should be better advertised. We knew about it because Andy Cook has an email list of 140 of our 190 branch members and he makes sure we’re kept in the picture.

‘I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s your union, so have your say in what it does.’



First Capital Connect

Members voted by 66 % in favour of the First Capital Connect 2009/10 Pay Offer which is a 

two year offer as follows:-

1.5% increase with effect from 4 April 2009,

2% increase with effect from 4 April 2010 or R.P.I. + 0.25% * whichever is greater,

1.675% increase with effect from 14 November 2010

Barnham Driver Paul Steadman




AFTER joining the railway in 2000 working for Connex, I had three enjoyable years driving the slam-door 400 series. Then the 375 Electrostar units were foisted on us. After 18 months driving them I began to have problems in my left arm which was, in 2005, diagnosed as ‘golfer’s elbow’, a repetitive strain injury.

I’ve had three years off-track under Southern and two operations. Now I’ve been sacked on the grounds of incapability.

If any other driver has had a similar experience please contact me on my email which is steadmas@yahoo.co.uk

Paul Steadman

former Barnham Driver

  Barnham Drivers Mike Trodd, Andy Healey & Bob Dorkings.

  Photographed at Eastbourne whilst on their 442 training course.





It is with deep regret that I have to announce the passing of Brighton Driver Paul Fish losing 
his battle against cancer. Paul was 45.

Paul started his railway career as a Trainman at Brighton in 1992 before becoming a Driver 
working for Connex South Central.

When Virgin Cross Country opened a Brighton depot in 2000, Paul transferred and was 
elected as Local Level Rep - a position he held until the depot closed in 2008.
Paul then started working for First Capital Connect. He was just starting to get his road 
learning underway when he was diagnosed with his illness.

Paul leaves behind a daughter Molly, 15 and son Amos, 10. 

At a very moving and well-attended funeral on 9 October a poem was read out that he had 
written himself for the occasion, praising his two children. It demonstrated what a deeply 
thoughtful person Paul was.Paul’s former colleagues Cross Country came from as far as 
Bristol and Bournemouth to join ASLEF officers from District 1 to pay their respects to a 
dedicated, thoughtful and very brave man indeed.

Ivan Wilson 


Brighton Branch 




MARCH 2010


A TRANSPORT minister Sadiq Khan said last month that the government is considering 
nationalising First Capital Connect, the franchise tat runs the Thameslink service.
When Kelvin Hopkins challenged him to take over the firm which ‘has shown itself totally 
incompetent and interested only in making money, not providing a service’, the minister told 
the Luton North MP that ‘all options were on the table’.

ASLEF members exposed a massive shortage of train drivers in the company when they 
began to decline voluntary overtime working towards the end of last year. The service 
collapsed, leading almost 5,000 people to sign a petition on the Downing Street website 
calling for FCC to be stripped of its franchise due to a ‘gross lack of competence’.

Keith Norman said he understood the concerns, but accused the government of continuing to 
ignore the ‘blatant and obvious’ fact that the franchising system was inherently flawed. He 
said, ‘Rushing round trying to sort out individual companies over which it has no control is 
not going to be successful in the long-term.

‘Mr Khan told the House of Commons that the Department for Transport is having daily 
conversations with FCC to ensure a ‘radical improvement’ of the service. If the Department 
needs to do this, it should take control of the franchise and implement improvements - rather 
than having to appeal for favours from a profit-driven private firm.’

When the Thameslink programme is completed over the coming five years, the company will need an additional 80 train drivers according to transport minister Chris Mole. He was 
responding to a Parliamentary question by Bedford MP Patrick Hall.

The programme includes providing 92 air-conditioned Electrostar carriages, more capacity, 
improved stations, a train frequency of 2/3 minutes and additional destinations.

MAY 2010


I read with interest the report in the March Journal regarding the planned introduction of automatic doors on London Underground. It reads, A.S.L.E.F. believe that the more the design of a train takes away the task and decisions from the driver, the greater becomes the risk of him or her making a mistake.” Steve Grant says the management case in support of Automatic Door Opening (A.D.O.) “makes sorts of unconvincing assumptions.”

Could someone tell me what statistical evidence A.S.L.E.F. sourced in order to each the conclusion that the less a driver has to do, the grater is the risk of them making a mistake?

M.J. Bristow



MAY 2010

Franchises? good plan!

I’D LIKE to congratulate the ASLEF leadership for their decision, published in the previous edition of the Journal, to become active in the franchising process.

Of course, it is unlikely that the government would allow us as a trade union to be instrumental in running a franchise, but I do applaud the move towards such a campaigning strategy.

I feel vindicated as I proposed exactly the same strategy when standing for election to the Executive Committee last year. I spoke on this issue at a number of District 1 branch meetings and the idea was well-received.

It makes sense that the communities who are served by the railways are allowed to have a stake in the direction in which their operation is taken. ASLEF is just such a community – of highly trained, proud and professional train drivers who know where the current system is going wrong through our own daily experiences.

Cooperatives running franchises would remove the embedded obsession with profit, profit and more profit, and instead allow a greater focus on investment in and improvements to operations, safety, ergonomic cab design, social responsibility, customer care, pay, terms and conditions, and so on.

This is also guaranteed to garner substantial press interest if handled the right way, not only from the screaming doom merchants in the Daily Mail et al, but also from the more sympathetic news outlets.

I have been saying for a long time that ASLEF needs a higher media profile than we have currently. Bob Crow is not the voice of the railways, and it is a tragedy that ASLEF should allow the massed media to cast him as such without taking steps to redress the balance.

In order to achieve this we need innovative campaigning strategies, and proactive leadership.

ASLEF is the only sensible choice for professional Train Drivers but we need to show why this is true.

If this initiative is the first welcome step towards that long awaited higher media presence, and modern, innovative campaigning I welcome it, and I offer my time and support in pursuit of such an aim, no matter how overdue it may be.

Karl Davis, 

Barnham Branch


MAY 2010



It is with sadness that I relate the passing away of four retired South Coast drivers. The funeral of each was well attended.

Norman Tendall’s funeral took place on 10th February. His rail career started in the late 1940s at Brighton and he retired at Littlehampton E.M.U.T. deport. Norman was 83 years old.

Lew Churcher has also died aged 83. Lew’s railway career centred on Brighton and he retired from West Worthing EMUT depot. His funeral took place on 24th February.
Harold Stokes was buried at Chichester on 10th March. He began work for the railways at Horsham Motive Power depot before moving first to Wallington E.M.U.T. depot and finally to Bognor Regis E.M.U.T. depot. Harold was 81.

Stan Jannaway’s funeral took place on 11th March at Worthing . He began at Bognor Regis MPD before moving to Brighton Motive Power. He ended his career at Littlehampton E.M.U.T. depot.

I’m sorry I don’t have details of start and retirement dates for these former colleagues.

 Ian Munro,

Retired Driver

Brighton, West Worthing and Barnham


JULY 2010


Limited Edition of 300. All profits to fund branch reunions. 

Available for £10 including p&p 

(cheques made payable to A.S.L.E.F. Branch No. 35) 

Badge designed by Mark Johnson

Mark as since done numerous Brighton badges

 with the proceeds go to the annual reunions, 

Justice for Miners, British Legion & Brighton Suffragettes 


AUGUST 2010 


First Capital connect Company council, along with Bedford Health & Safety reps, have been pleased with a new agreement which sees the company investing substantial amounts of their own money in cab improvements on 319s, reports Tony Farmer.

Phase one will see improvements to the driver’s desk and other cab switches.
Phase two will at the earliest opportunity fit a Cobra seat to a test unit.

Consideration is also being given to grading windscreen wiper system, AWS Sunflower and side window tints and we will examine DSD and side window design.



Attracting rail passengers: how not to do it

THREE stories that emerged last month prove, according to ASLEF general secretary Keith 
Norman, that ‘customer care’ in many rail companies is more of a joke than a provision. 

‘When rail was privatised and franchising introduced, one excuse was that the private sector
would be ‘much more responsive to customer needs’. That notion has now firmly been laid to rest.Southern has decided to run an old fleet of 313s to ‘improve capacity’ along the hour
-and- a-half Portsmouth to Brighton line – despite the fact that they do not have toilet 
facilities. Rail watchdog Passenger Focus understated its case when it branded the 
decision ‘a blow’ for the elderly, people with medical conditions and those travelling with 
children. ‘It’s not alow – it’s a deterrent to taking the train,’ said Keith. ‘And its sole aim is to squeeze more revenue.’

Due to be introduced in December, Southern say the new trains will have a ‘refreshed 
interior’ including new seats and flooring. ‘How long will they stay pristine if there are no 
loos on the train?’ demanded the ASLEF general secretary.

Meanwhile a couple had to pay a £114 fine after getting off a train two stops early! Emma 
Clark and Davyd Winter-Bates were travelling to Southampton from London with South West Trains when they decided to get off two stops early at Eastleigh. They were each fined £57 for failing to stay on the train!

And Cross Country has been fined by the Department of Transport for not implementing Wifi on its services. This was a specific commitment in their franchise and a date had been agreed, but the company failed to meet it.

‘At least it seems like some form of equality,’ Keith Norman says. ‘Rail companies are as 
dismissive about business passengers as they are about private travellers!’



Tollpuddle Rally  2010

 Left ~ Right; Simon Weller A.S.L.E.& F. National Organiser (Brighton Branch), 

Graham Morris A.S.L.E.F. District No.1  Secretary (London Bridge branch ,

& Marz Colombini (Waterloo & Nine Elms ) A.S.L.E.F. Executive Committee District No. 1.





IN July I cycled from John O' Groats to Lands End in aid of Cancer Research UK.

I did this in memory of my mum-in-law who passed away last year. She was married to Cliff Pattenden, a retired Three Bridges driver who was my Driving Instructor.

My work colleagues were very generous and when ASLEF very kindly put out a national appeal, branches 

donated a further £295. Without Gift aid we have now raised £4,860 (our target was £1,500!). With Gift aid it will be nearer £5,700!

Many thanks to you all for your remarkable generosity. If you are interested, there are some pictures of my journey on-line at www.kevsjogle.com

Kevin Shepherd, 





Three stories that emerged last month prove, according to ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman, that ‘customer care’ in many rail companies is more of a joke than a provision. ‘When rail was privatised and franchising introduced, one excuse was that the private sector would be ‘much more responsive to customer needs’. That notion has now firmly been laid to rest.

Southern has decided to run an old fleet of 313s to ‘improve capacity’ along the hour-and- a-half Portsmouth to Brighton line – despite the fact that they do not have toilet facilites. Rail watchdog Passenger Focus understated its case when it branded the decision ‘a blow’ for the elderly, people with medical conditions and those travelling with children. ‘It’s not a
blow – it’s a deterrent to taking the train,’ said Keith. ‘And its sole aim is to squeeze more revenue.’

Due to be introduced in December, Southern say the new trains will have a ‘refreshed interior’ including new seats and flooring. ‘How long will they stay pristine if there are no loos on the train?’ demanded the ASLEF general secretary.

Meanwhile a couple had to pay a £114 fine after getting off a train two stops early! Emma Clark and Davyd Winter-Bates were travelling to Southampton from London with South West Trains when they decided to get off two stops early at Eastleigh. They were each fined £57 for failing to stay on the train!

And Cross Country has been fined by the Department of Transport for not implementing Wifi on its services. This was a specific commitment in their franchise and a date had been agreed, but the company failed to meet it.

‘At least it seems like some form of equality,’ Keith Norman says. ‘Rail companies are as dismissive about business passengers as they are about private travellers!’



11th NOVEMBER 2010


John Osborne (Right) receiving his 50 year ASLEF medallion 

from Keith Norman A.S.L.E.F. General Secretary 11 November 2010.


Visiting A.S.L.E.&F.'s Head Office 

11th November 2010

Front row Left ~ Right: Steve Chatfield, Dave Eaton, John Osborne, 

Carrine Visser, & Paul Edwards.

Second Row Spike Jones & Ivan Wilson.

Back Row Mark Johnson & Paul Heerey




AT THE forthcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, Southern Driver Philippa Roles will be making history as the first Welsh female athlete to compete in four Commonwealth Games.

Philippa has been one of the UK’s top throwers in recent times, and is one of the most medalled athletes at National championships ever.

She is also a double Olympian, having competed at both the Athens and Beijing Games. She is looking to make it a hat trick of Olympic appearances in London 2012.

Margaret Lynes, who coaches Philippa, says, ‘I think she deserves all the help she can get, particularly holding down a full time driving job and trying to train as a full time athlete as well!’

Brighton Driver Carrine Visser




Thanks ASLEF, and goodbye


As I have left the railway quite unexpectedly, I’d like to say my goodbyes to my colleagues. I have no regrets about coming tothe UK from the Netherlands to drive trains but it is time to start a new adventure – in this case, a course in restoring classic cars.

Thanks to everybody who made my May Days and Tolpuddles so enjoyable, to all the friends I made at work, to Roy Luxford and John Doyle for their support and especially to Kevin Eade.

I wish you all the best for the future.


Carine Visser, 

ex-driver Brighton





I have to inform you that Arthur (‘Archie’) Dougherty died on 29 August. He was 82 years old. The cremation took place on 9 September.

After his stint in the Navy, Archie became a driver at Tunbridge Wells West until its closure in 1985. He then moved to Victoria Central before transferring to Victoria Eastern.

He never married, and our thoughts are with his niece at this sad time.

Ken Heydon,

Battersea branch



Freddie Goff


It is with great sadness that I have to inform ASLEF of the passing of retired Brighton Driver Freddie Goff on 28 September 2010 at the age of 81. 

Fred entered the footplate grade at the age of 15 on 22 May 1944 at Newhaven, where he 
worked up through the grades from Cleaner to Fireman and Engineman. When he was made 
redundant with the closure of Newhaven Loco depot on the 9 September 1963, Fred 
transferred to Brighton Loco/Mixed Traction depots. He stayed at Brighton until he retired on 10 February 1994 after completing almost 50 years (all bar a few weeks) of dedicated railway service.

Fred spent many a night sitting in Brighton mess-room waiting to book on duty or for his first train home. This was due to Fred not having any means of transport so he would catch the first/last train to and from Newhaven. It didn’t take him long to get a card school going – 
known to by many as ‘Goff’s Gamble. Many of our grades became victims of his various card games! 

Fred took on the role of Branch Secretary of Brighton No1 Branch in 1970. It was a position 
he retained until he decided to stand down a decade later, making him the longest serving 
Secretary the branch has ever had.

During the mid 1980’s Fred carried out the prestige role of ‘Royal Train Driver’ for the 
Brighton Area. He carried it out with great honour and dignity working the Royal Trains 
between London Victoria and Tattenham Corner on Epsom Derby days among others.
He was the last Brighton driver to hold this position.

Fred will always be remembered as a truly great ‘footplate character’, a loyal and proud 
ASLEF member with a great sense of humour.

His one-liners put a smile on many a face regardless of the situation they were in.
Fred’s funeral was held at the Downs Crematorium in Brighton on 11 October.  brought 
together many of his former footplate colleagues, past and present, to pay their respects to a 
fellow driver of whom they all had great memories.

Paul Edwards

LDC Secretary






It is with deep regret i have to inform you of the death of a perfect gentleman, Brian Matthews. Brian died on 11th March at the age of 73. As he had decided to leave his body to medical science, a very well attended memorial service was held at St Mary the virgin church at Chessington on 9 May.

Brian was evacuated to Devon during the war years and after his National Service he started on the railway in the late fifties. He married his wife Patricia in 1959 and they had two children, Tracy and Paul.

brian was on the L.D.C. at Stewarts Lane M.T. and dealt with the move to Victoria Central M.T. he was also involved with the amalgamation with the E.M.U.T. depot at Victoria.

Brian witnessed the Purley disaster and attended all the subsequent inquiries. Following this his health deteriorated and he was unable to continue driving trains. He joined the team going around schools and held other seminars lecturing on railway safety until he retired. Our thoughts are with Patricia and all Brian’s family at this sad time.



Philippa Roles - when she’s not in the gym, she’s training!

WHEN Philippa Roles was a young schoolgirl in Neath in South Wales her PE teacher suggested that, as she

was tall, she should have a go at throwing the discus. To her surprise, she found she could throw it remarkable distances – to the extent that only three months later, after entering the national championships, she was the Welsh Under-13 champion! It was a path that would eventually take this Southern train driver to the Olympic and Commonwealth games.

‘It was a relief finding I could throw the discus,’ she says with the Welsh lilt she will never lose. ‘It meant I could give up swimming which I was doing before. It was doing my head in. I was up at six ploughing up and down a pool for hours before school. And I wasn’t actually very good at it. I thought to myself, well at least throwing the discus is going to be easier than swimming!’

She has persisted and honed that skill to the extent that she’s represented her country at the Athens Olympics and at four consecutive Commonwealth Games – including the ones in India in October. She threw a very creditable 57.99 metres and came fourth.

‘I’m still feeling down about it if I’m honest,’ Philippa says. ‘I’d thrown over 60 metres the day before and I really thought I could have won. My personal best throw is 62.89 metres. I know that physically I was up for it, but there was some nagging doubts on the day. And if your confidence isn’t there, you’re not going to win.’

For many of us, to be the fourth best person at something in the entire Commonwealth would be a source of considerable pride. For Philippa it was worse than disappointing. ‘It was heartbreaking. It was terrible,’ she says. ‘It’s hard to pick yourself up again after you’ve had this target in your mind for years. It’s like the 2012 Olympics in London. If I am serious about it I’ll have to start serious training from January. To put in all that time and effort and not manage to produce your best on the day is ... well, you can’t imagine how deflated you can feel.’

And it certainly is effort. When most of us think of Olympic athletes, we see in our minds a toned , glamorous and fit person performing at a sporting event in a far-away city for a few minutes. We don’t consider what it takes to get there.

‘It does take a lot of discipline. If you’re going to succeed in any event you need to be quick, coordinated and strong. I was lucky that we’ve got a really good ASLEF rep here at Victoria in Graham Hoy and that the drivers in my depot and the company were really understanding and supportive. Between them they let me work permanent lates running up to the Commonwealth Games. That was a great help in organising my training.’

Which involved what ....?

Getting up and going straight on to work when I’d finished. Usually 
I’d start with rowing. It takes some of the pressure off my back, which I really messed up years ago through bad training schedules. Then I spend a couple of hours lifting weights. Some days it feels as if it’s taking forever. Sometimes I’ll do running and then an hour of throwing, usually about 80 times. I have a bag that will hold 15 discuses so it saves time going back and forth.

Then it’s shower, something to eat, and off to work. I do a shift, crawl home, sleep – and start again.

‘At times it has given me wonderful moments of pleasure and recognition, but looking back I’ve sacrificed a lot of my life for this sport. I haven’t had a holiday for 15 years because I use my leave to go to events. Yes, I know people think it’s a holiday to go away to international events, but it’s not. Basically you fly in, train, perform and leave. You don’t really see much of the country. Wherever you are, it always seems the same. The same event, the same people ....’

I suppose being a top athlete does mean you are in a rather exclusive club, and wonder how Philippa gets on with the other members ....

‘There is always a good sense of comradeship in the Welsh team, but not so much with the British one. There are a lot who are just there for themselves, and many are from different backgrounds with rich parents or sponsorships. They are often more concerned with their mobile phones or their new cars. They live on a different planet from those of us who have to work full time to pay the mortgage. They can’t believe I have to pay for my own accommodation to compete in about ten weekend events in the UK!

‘Mind you, the whole experience of international events is like living in a bubble where the outside world doesn’t seem to exist. I find it pretty weird. Dealing with all that is another skill. ‘

Suddenly, Philippa cracks up with laughter. ‘Do you know, talking to you I suddenly think I must be mad to carry on with it! But I’m 32 now and that is coming up to the peak for my event. And I do want to take part in the London Olympics. There is a lot of hype about it, but it is a great opportunity and very exciting for British athletes.’

It is not surprising that at times Philippa feels ground down by a sport to which she has given the last 20 years of her life. After starting in competitions largely in Wales as a member of the Swansea Harriers Athletic Club, Philippa decided in 2003 that if she was to improve, she’d need to move to London and specifically Crystal Palace. ‘At that time that was the only place with facilities that would let me improve, so I moved here.’

She did a variety of jobs, including fund raising and she applied to the police and prison services before being offered a job as a duty manager at Victoria, and then Clapham Junction. Then, four years ago, she moved over to driving and now works on suburban work for Southern.

‘It’s the best thing I ever did,’ she says. ‘I like driving trains – even more than I hate sitting on them as a passenger! It’s a job I really enjoy. That’s something throwing the discus did for me. Whenever I have a bad day, I just think, ‘You could be working in Tescos in Swansea!’

Philippa has worked incredibly hard and with remarkable dedication to get to the top reaches of her chosen sport, and deserves all the support and encouragement she can get.

Knowing train drivers, I say that I don’t suppose her workmates ever take the mickey?

‘Oh right!’ she says with a chuckle. ‘That’s one thing you can rely on ...!!’

Philippa then wanders off across the concourse to book on. I’m sure we all wish her every success in the London Olympics. If anyone deserves it, she does.

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