Another great weekend forum at Scalby with the R.M.S. Unfortunately the A.G.S. could not 
attend due to the serious situation in the freight sector but, in his usual informative and 
entertaining style, our president Tosh McDonald stepped into the breach. 

Well done, Tosh. Other speakers included the G.S. of the N.U.M., who was only 17 when the miners’ strike started in 1984. His experience made him determined to fight for miners’ rights which is what he does to this day. We also heard from Rodney Bickerstaffe who was very interesting. Lots of subjects were discussed. Strangely, the more we debated the more the ale flowed. Makes you proud to be a member of A.S.L.E.F. 

Spike Jones



MARCH 2017



Eric Hodkinson, who began his railway career in the 1940s as a cleaner at Yeovil, has died at 87. He progressed through the grades to become a driver at Three Bridges in 1958 where he stayed until the mixed traction depot was moved to Redhill. A passionate trade unionist, Eric was a regular at branch meetings, serving as branch secretary for 20 years, LDC rep, AAD delegate, and on sectional council. He did his national service in the RAF, spending most of his time in Egypt, and loved travelling. As a young man he went around Europe on his motorcycle with Dianna, who became his wife. A keen photographer, he had a massive collection of pictures of the railway and local sites.

David Heydon,



APRIL 2017



It is with sadness that I report the death of retired driver David Shopland at the age of 87. His railway career began and ended at Three Bridges and he served as L.D.C. Secretary, Branch Secretary, and Branch Chair during his 50 years of loyal service to our Society. His only absence was for military service; he served in Northern Ireland and Libya as a member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, a period he enjoyed as it allowed him to increase his knowledge of the internal combustion engine.

As a lad he won a scholarship to Collier’s Grammar School in Horsham, necessitating a 14 mile bicycle ride. When not at school he worked with his father on the farm, and that is how his passion for steam power and mechanical things began. Traction engines, steam thrashers, and Fordson tractors all became his play things, leading him to his railway career. He also purchased a motorcycle and rode daily up to his retirement.

David had a comprehensive knowledge of the countryside, Sussex in particular, and a day out in his company was always an entertaining adventure. He was a big man in stature and in character. His whole outlook reflected this, his integrity was massive, his permanent smile was known by the numerous friends and acquaintances he had, not only among the railway fraternity but from all walks of life. A great chasm has been left by his passing that will never, in a lifetime, be filled. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his devoted family.

Paul Eden

Three Bridges 


MAY 2017



Len Worboys, after a long illness, passed away peacefully, with his family at his bedside, on 15 March. Len was a man well known and much loved within the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers & Firemen. He was a brave man and faced the inevitable with real fortitude, the way he fought for A.S.L.E.F. thoughout his life.

Len was District 1 Secretary from 1990 until 2000; he also represented District 8 from 1990 to 1992. He started his railway career at Fratton (Portsmouth) as an engine cleaner on 28 December 1953 aged 15. He joined the society the same day and stayed a member until he retired. Within 18 months of starting he was elected engine cleaner rep at Fratton throughout the 1955 national strike. Promoted to driver in 1962 at Effingham Junction he returned to Portsmouth in 1966 and was a driver there until 1990.

Len was a local departmental representative and secretary (L.D.C. rep) at Fratton from 1968 until 1990. Throughout his railway and society career Len did much for his fellow man, and there are many who will thank him for the way he represented them, and remember the jobs he protected and saved.

He was one of the union stalwarts who helped us through the trauma of rail privatisation. Len firmly believed that Britain’s railways should have remained in the public sector and did much to advocate that policy throughout his life. Privatisation was a difficult time for the society but, hroughout the process, Len ensured the membership received the highest level of representation. He was the district secretary with the largest membership of any district and carried the additional responsibility of representing District 8 for two years.

He did much during the period of driver restructuring affecting a number of train companies; again, not an easy period in our history. Len was part of the group that got the union through privatisation, ensuring our future, as a trade union highly thought of in the trade union movement.

To Len’s family, especially his wife Vera, we thank you for the time Len gave to us. Len, A.S.L.E.F. owes you very much; many thanks, my old friend, on behalf of the membership.

Lew Adams
A.S.L.E.& F. General Secretary 1994-1998


MAY 2017


The attendance at Len Worboys’ funeral was testimony to the great respect and regard in which he was held by the members he represented and others in the railway community.
Len was my friend and colleague for over 30 years. We were both local reps and delegates at A.A.D. Then he was District Secretary and I was the E.C. member for District 1. We worked closely together during the privatisation process and I must say that nobody did a better job than Len in leading his various company councils in what were unique circumstances. We both retired in 1999 and spent many happy hours on the golf course and socialising at the numerous old boys’ reunions. Len was a dedicated family man and my condolences go to Vera and the family at this very sad time.

Bill Mackenzie


MAY 2017

Forza America

In response to the letter from Adam Thompson (Journal, April) I am also a new A.S.L.E.F. member. I’m not sure whether his letter was satirical or genuine but am making the assumption it was the latter. If he is, as is suggested, a supporter of the President of the United States I am unsurprised that he wishes to quash any dissenting voices. His presumption of Eric Stuart’s ignorance is typical of the right-wing ‘I know best and everyone else should think what I think’ attitude that seems to prevail in society at the present time.

How dare he suggest that other members should refrain from offering political opinions
because counter to his own views. His own ignorance shows through with his statement ‘President Trump loves the UK.’Trump does not love anything other than increasing his own personal wealth, irrespective of those affected by his actions. He is anti-free speech (his staff bar reporters employed by organisations that disagree with him from press conferences) and makes knee-jerk allegations without supporting evidence (about G.C.H.Q.).

A.S.L.E.F. is a proud, historic trade union run on a democratic basis, and the Journal is a democratic mouthpiece. I would not wish to silence Brother Thompson’s views but attempt to persuade him that Donald Trump is in no way a friend of an enlightened, civilised society (although he may be a friend of the U.K. in the current political climate in this country!) but an arrogant, self-serving, misogynist bully. 

Simon Cummings

Three Bridges 

Presentations made at the Brighton A.S.L.E.F. Reunion

2nd May 2017

Jem Hannam Collection

Paul Horan &Andy Snelling receiving their 30 year badges, Spike Jones receiving his 50 year medallion & Paul Edwards receiving his presentation for his services to the Brighton Branch


JUNE 2017




Steve Bull, a great friend and servant of ASLEF, passed away on 8 October 2016 at Saint Christopher’s hospice, surrounded by his family, after a mercifully short battle with lung cancer.

He began his railway career, which spanned more than 40 years, as a second man at Norwood. There was a brief sojourn when Steve worked at his brother’s garage, but the tug of the railway was too strong and he soon returned. 

He became a driver instructor and, when the position became available, Norwood health & safety rep, at one point the most highly qualified local staff h&s rep, to the immense benefit of all our members.

Steve had a great love of family; his own, his colleagues, and his railway family. No matter what happened at the end of a debate he’d always ask how you and your family were.

His patience knew no bounds, and this showed as he nurtured each of ‘his’ trainees along. He followed their progress long after they had left his care. Whenever you needed an opinion, Steve’s would be reasoned, backed by knowledge and, no matter what you wanted to hear, it would be the right one!

Steve leaves a loving wife, three lovely children, and a long lasting legacy at Norwood depot. He will be remembered by all who knew him for a long, long time. The union room at Norwood has been renamed the Steve Bull so his name lives on at the depot he cherished. 

Rest in peace Steve. A Norwood man, enough said.

Daniel Bound

Norwood Junction

The Measure of a Man: a tribute to Steve

If your measure of a man is by how high he stands,

counted in feet, or in hands like a horse, you could be pardoned 

for thinking that Bully didn’t make the cut. But you’d be wrong, 

because that man had a backbone strong as running rail steel.

Maybe you feel that a muscled chest, or bulging arms or 

all the rest, is what impresses you? Well, that’s fine I guess! 

But Bully, in a test of wills, had a strength of character that 

could pull a thousand slew, up and down three hills.

If courage is your benchmark, a list maybe of daring dos. 

You talk the talk but, really, could you fill old Stevie’s shoes? 

Bully had an inner power, he had nerve, he walked the walk, 

what we call bottle. I would liken his passion, and

the fire in his heart, to a Diesel 66 in full throttle.

I have known many men who thought that they were great,

some have fallen by the wayside, some I tried hard not to hate. 

The last time I saw Bully, I looked into his eyes, and said ‘Take care’. 

Kissed his aching head, and stroked his hair,

in the knowledge that a real man would soon be dead.

Mick Green


JULY 2017


The seventh annual ASLEF Brighton reunion was on 2nd May – and what a fantastic 

afternoon it was. It was well attended, with drivers old and new. These events are not just 

about honouring our retired members but also a fantastic opportunity for new drivers to 

meet, share stories (and a beer or two) and keep the solidarity across the generations alive. 

Our General Secretary presented service badges including a 50 year medallion to retired 

railwayman Spike Jones and an engraved decanter on behalf of Brighton branch to Paul 

Edwards. I would like to thank Mick Whelan, Marz Colombini and Graham Morris for 

attending as I know how busy their schedules are. Also a huge thank you to Paul for all his 

hard work in making this event happen and the success it was. See you next year!

Jem Hannam, 

Branch Secretary 

Horsham Thameslink depot opens 




Retired Redhill driver Ernest White passed away on 28 July at the age of 97. Ernest was born on 8 July 1920 and started cleaning at Dorchester in 1937. He was stood off the first winter and then called back. After a spell cleaning at Weymouth and Bournemouth he transferred to Three Bridges in 1941 as a fireman and then became a driver there. He passed for driving on what was meant to be D-Day (put back a day because of bad weather) making him one of Britain’s youngest drivers at the time. In 1958 he moved to Redhill from where he retired in 1985. He was a great gentleman and was at the retirement of his son Steve White at Three Bridges. There are not many fathers and sons who are both retired train drivers (although I have hopes of joining the club in around four years!)

David Heydon

Railway accidents on 


London Bridge 8th December 2017 



Taking toilets off our train

Southern rail say they are trying to ‘improve the service’. let me remind you what Southern’s idea of improving the service for passengers is. they now run trains between Brighton and Portsmouth with no toilets on them. When challenged they said people can get off the train and use the toilets at stations. But most stations have locked their toilets because of vandalism. 

Southern say ‘ask a member of staff to open them for you’. unfortunately, another of 
Southern’s great ideas for improving the service is to remove staff from lots of stations.

Keith Wells





I am trying to find out when Caterham opened as a drivers’ depot so 1 can make some commemorative badges – the 90th and 100th, as well, if it is confirmed I have the right date. What I know, so far, is that there was a depot when the station opened in 1856. that it was closed and moved to Purley around 1899. the Caterham line was electrified in 1928. and the motorman’s depot – Caterham depot as we know it today – opened on Sunday 17 June 1928. if anyone can confirm 17 June 1928 as the date when Caterham depot opened.

Dean Anderson
Caterham Depot




No one left to speak for me

Thinking about doo, as someone new to the industry, i thought of Martin niemöller, the lutheran pastor who spoke out against the nazis.

First they came for the metro guards, and i did not speak out, because I was not a metro guard. It was nothing to do with me, but I did get more money. 

Then they came for the platform staff, and I did not speak out. I did not need them, as I had cameras to see with. 

Then they came for the ticket office staff, and I did not speak out, because it was nothing to do with me. I did not need them, they had machines to collect the money. 

Then they came for the rest of the guards, and I did not speak out, because I was not a guard, but i did get more money. 

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

It’s only a matter of time before they want to replace train drivers; our turn will come, and those who say they will not be able to replace train drivers should look at all the different industries that now have automated systems. Many of us came into this trade because of automation taking our old jobs. I came from the print trade, and can remember when computers first came in, and we said they could never replace what we did, as it was all done by hand and so skilled. Within 10 years, we were all unemployed and now every house has a computer that can do page makeup and print anything you want. Who needs printers?

We are not just fighting for our jobs, but the jobs of our children and grandchildren. taking the money is a short-term solution. We may benefit, our children will not. automation will slowly be rolled out to replace all working-class employment. We are looked upon as an expensive commodity, which they would like to do away with. We cannot stop it, but we can slow it down and should resist wherever and whenever we can.

We must all wake up and say no to doo, support the guards, and take action to stop this automation. it may cost us in the short run, but in the long run we might keep our jobs and secure jobs for the future for everyone.

Steve Cresswell





Nothing too much trouble

I want to thank the general secretary, staff and officers for organising a great AAD this year. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone I asked for help in the run up to, and during, conference. Please convey my sincere thanks to all involved and also to those who stayed behind to run head office and answer the phones to members across the railway whilst we debated the hot topics of the day. Please also pass on my thanks to the visitors for their time, courage and enthusiasm when addressing conference – not an easy task! I would also like to thank Katy Proctor and Marz Colombini for their pre-conference support and advice to District 1 delegates and for Marz’s social media updates during the week.

Andrew Cook

Branch Secretary


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