Our friend and colleague Brother Ralph Zanellotti has left us far too early at the age of 43. Ralph started his railway career as a trainee driver in March 2009, qualifying as a driver at Selhurst depot on 16 April 2010. He decided to move to Gatwick Express, joining on 13 January 2014, and rising to driver instructor. Ralph was a regular attendee at Battersea branch, often asking off the wall questions! He could always brighten your day with a smile and joke. He wasfamous for appearing on Come Dine With Me – as Posh Train Driver Ralph – and his amazing PA announcements made passengers laugh. Captain Ralph would announce that ‘We are cruising at 90mph at an altitude of 6 feet, so sit back and relax and let the train take the strain. Gatwick Express! Why settle for anything less?’ Ralph, everyone at Gatwick Express and Southern will miss you. RIP.

Nick Warner
Gatwick Express


MARCH 2021


Is it time for a windfall tax on companies – like Amazon – 

which have benefited from covid-19?

Not specifically an ASLEF matter although, as you are my union, it’s probably best passed on to you, as you will know who to suggest it to if it is worth consideration. I think this is something potentially cross-party in scope, but is possibly best raised initially by the union movement in conjunction with certain employers’organisations and others (eg faith groups) with whom you could find common cause. 

Given all the covid-19 shutdowns, the ensuing cost to the economy, and with certain sectors much worse hit than others, along with the impact on individuals through the loss of jobs, etc, and given that certain companies are benefiting from current events – Amazon, of course, but there are others – would some form of windfall tax levied upon companies, such as Amazon,that have benefited disproportionately from current events make sense – especially if it were hypothecated towards stimulating the hardest hit areas of the economy? 

This would benefit businesses and workers and the wider public, by helping retain, or open new, local shops, and cafes, etc. 

As I say, not really ASLEF’s bag, per se, but potentially something that much of the country could unite behind if there were a non-partisan push for it. 

Richard Mansfield, 
Eastbourne, Sussex


MARCH 2021


Has the diary had its day? In these modern times of electronic this and that, I would hazard a guess that a large proportion of diaries sent out by the union every year are unused. This, if I’m correct, is a vast waste of trees and money. Would it be possible for the union to ask every member whether they wish to keep receiving a diary? I would guess that more members would say no than yes. Prospective members could have a tick box on their application form, too. The saving to the union would then benefit us all, as the presumably ever-rising cost of producing them would be significantly reduced and increases in monthly subscriptions would reflect the saving made. 

Gary Warburton, 
Battersea branch 019


APRIL 2021



Barnham branch was saddened to learn of the passing of Darren Hornsey on Monday 8 February suffering from covid-19. Our friend and work colleague left us far too early at the age of 51. Ever present at branch meetings Darren was always polite, kind, and respected. Darren’s driving career started back in 2000 at Barnham, where he stayed. Popular, and always on hand to chat to all grades, whether he was changing ends or on a PNB. The messroom will never feel the same, Darren, you will be sorely missed. RIP. 

Jeff Turner

Barnham 029 branch secretary


MAY 2021



Retired Barnham driver Bob Dorkings and Par driver Paul Edwards have produced a covid-19 railway service badge to mark theefforts of London Underground and Overground staff during the pandemic. ‘TfL workers continued to work because they, too, are key/critical workers,’ says Bob. ‘There are 11 versions, one for each of the 11 Underground lines, plus a London Overground version. Each badge has a white top half, with the red portal logo, while the bottom has the relevant line colour.’ Each badge costs £5.00 (plus p&p which will vary from £2.50 to £6.00 depending on order) with all proceeds to NHS workers; email Bob at rdorkings@yahoo.com


JUNE 2021




It is with a heavy heart that I have to report the passing of retired Victoria driver Ken Heydon. Ken was a former Battersea Stewarts Lane driver, moving to Victoria when Battersea Stewarts Lane closed. Ken was one of the founder members of the Victoria social club, as well as a devout trade unionist, serving on the LSR for many years. Even after retirement, Ken was a true activist, attending branch meetings and managing the Retired Members’ Section for our social club. A true gentleman who will be sorely missed. Our condolences to his wife Rita, and the rest of his family. RIP Ken and keep the red flag flying high.

Victoria LSR


JULY 2021




Battersea branch is very sad to report the passing of retired Victoria driver Ken Heydon on 19 April at the age of 81. Ken was born on 15 October 1939 and began his railway career at 15 as a cleaner at Salisbury on 11 January 1955. He progressed through the ranks before transferring to Feltham as a driver on 2 October 1967. When Feltham closed in January 1969 he moved to Stewarts Lane until its closure in 1974 when he went to Victoria mixed traction depot. In November 1983 Ken was part of the depot merger which saw the mixed traction and electric depots merged on the introduction of the new Gatwick Rail-air services.

Ken was a wonderful friend and colleague, always on hand to offer help and advice, and nothing was ever too much trouble for him. He had a lovely sense of humour and was very good company. He was a loyal ASLEF man and served as an LSR rep until his retirement in October 2004. He was a real branch stalwart at Battersea, served as branch secretary from 1994 to 1996, and covered several other roles within the branch over the years, and still attended branch after his retirement.

He was very nstrumental in the formation and success of the Victoria social club, and very proud of how it developed over the years. He was an auditor until his illness, serving in that role for 20 years, and playing a key part in organising the driver reunions every April and October, the annual dinner dance, and the children’s Christmas party the social club put on.

Ken was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. He was married to Rita for 63 years, his son David is a driver at Redhill, and his grandson Richard is a driver at Bristol. He also leaves a daughter Valerie, and another son Desmond. When people talk about a gentlemen, well, Ken really was a true gentleman. He was loyal, helpful, kind; an absolute top man. Everyone who had the good fortune to know Ken knows we have lost one of the very best. Our thoughts are with Rita and her family at this very sad time.

Pas Luongo

Battersea 019 branch secretary 

with special thanks to David Heydon and Graham Hoy for your assistance


JULY 2021




It is with a heavy that I report for passing of retired Gatwick Express driver Jon Boyle on Tuesday 18 May, who unfortunately, only spent a few years in retirement with his wife Margaret and family.

Jon joined British Rail on 15 July 1991 after being made redundant from Da La Rue printers, starting his basic training at Waterloo Southside training school. He became a Trainman ‘D’ at London Bridge before moving to Victoria Central for his driving position. Jon was then moved to the new Gatwick Express franchise, under PTR&R, in March 1994. Jon was very passionate about Gatwick Express where he became a driver instructor/trainer, helping to launch  the careers of many new recruits.

During his retirement celebration, held by Battersea branch, Jon was delighted to see so many face of those he had helped and trained. He was great lover of music, often whistling his way through an entire song, and having a morning chat over coffee. Often the call went round, “Where’s Jon?”only to find him curled up on the tatty old depot sofa. 

He will be greatly missed by friends and colleagues who hope to be able soon to raise glass to Jon despite these testing times.





JULY 2021

Tories set to axe services and jobs

The future of Britain’s railways has been thrown into jeopardy just weeks after the government announced, on Wednesday 19 May, with a fanfare of trumpets, and a lot of brass neck, that it was setting up Great British Railways under the Williams- Shapps Plan for Rail.

But on Tuesday 15 June the Tory government – under Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – announced the start of a process designed to cut £2 billion a year from the UK rail network.

An announcement by the Rail Industry Recovery Group said: ‘Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, the government has been funding the significant gap in rail finances created by the loss of passenger revenue. During this time, taxpayer support for rail services has increased significantly, while the industry’s operating costs have, broadly, stayed at pre-pandemic levels.

‘The government’s position is that the current financial commitment is not unlimited or sustainable. As a result, industry representatives have worked with the four recognised trades unions to agree an enabling framework agreement that sets out common principles and focus areas that will shape our work to create a sustainable recovery for our industry. At its core is a transition to a more secure, sustainable, future for our industry and those who work within it.’

That statement – described by the DfT as ‘a little vanilla, deliberately anodyne’ – hides a determination by the government to force through the biggest cuts to Britain’s rail network since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

Mick Whelan, general secretary, said: ‘The government is forcing cuts on our industry in the wake of the pandemic. We are currently engaging with the government, the other rail unions, and all the other stakeholders in the rail industry, to protect our members – and to protect Britain’s railway. Because the rail industry is vital to the UK; moving people and goods, passengers and packages, around this country.

‘The railway is a vital artery for the body of Britain and we are determined to ensure it has a sustainable future – not just in the next few months and years, but down the decades in this 21st century.’

Rail workers have played a vital role in keeping the country moving since March last year, ensuring that key workers, and essential goods, have got to where they are needed. So it is galling to hear Grant Shapps disingenuously claim, ‘Rail staff played an important part during the pandemic and their continued support will help us to build a safer, more reliable, and efficient railway for the future.’

The government – the Treasury, DfT, and Number 10 – are said to believe that cutting the number of passenger services, rowing back on investment and maintenance, slashing jobs, attacking workers’ pensions, and tearing up our terms and conditions, is ‘the way to keep Rishi Sunak happy’.

ASLEF, along with the other rail unions – the RMT, the TSSA, and Unite – are, at the moment, engaging with the RIRG and its EFA. Why? US President Lyndon B Johnson was once asked why he hadn’t sacked FBI director J Edgar Hoover. ‘Well, it’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.’

We would rather be sitting at the table, talking, and helping plan a way forward for Britain’s rail network, than not having any input. Because it gives us a chance to protect the jobs, pensions, and t&cs of our members. But we will walk away – and take appropriate action – if Johnson and Shapps do a Beeching on us.


JULY 2021



We are sad to report that Tony Allen, a former member of Southern Region Sectional Council ‘B’, and one of the founding member of the South Central D.F.C. had died.

Tony started in the footplate grade at Salisbury in the 1960s before moving to Tunbridge Wells West, where he served as Branch Chair and a member of the L.D.C. until it’s closure in 1985, when he moved to Seaford, again serving as a member of the L.D.C., until his election to Sectional Council ‘B’ in 1990. When Seaford closed in he moved to Brighton where he remained until his retirement, due to ill health, in 1996.

Tony was a very active memorial of the trade union, attending a number of A.A.D.s representation both Eastbourne and Brighton districts. He was a studious delegate and ensured all the branches he represented were given a thorough report of proceedings.

The most noticeable comments made by people who knew or worked with him were how meticulous he was before, during, and after meetings.

Tony was a generous activist, he alway had time for members and other reps., giving freely of both his time and advice. Our condolences to his wife Barbara and his two daughters

Roy Luxford Retired Members’ Section 

and D.O. 1 Graham Morris


The presentation was made by Retired Barnham Driver Bob Dorkings 
and former Brighton Drivers Paul Edwards, Ivan Wilson, and Andy Gregg

Andy Gregg (Bristol), Bob Dorkings Michelle Quittenton, Ivan Wilson (Airdrie) 
& Paul Edwards (Par)

After many months of designing, promoting and selling the Covid 19 Railway Service Badges we finally decided to make a donation to the NHS Charity Together. Owing to the complexity of the way the NHS operates and there appears to be no country Benevolent/Hardship fund for the families of the NHS who have died whilst fighting through the Covid pandemic. We finally decided to go to the NHS Charity Together as they are a countrywide charity that is giving assistance to all NHS workers.  

On Wednesday 21st July, retired Barnham train Driver Bob Dorkings & Par train Driver  Paul Edwards, met Michelle Quittenton from the NHS CHARITIES TOGETHER at London Victoria station, to present her with a cheque from the profits from the sales of the Covid 19 Railway Service Badges.            

Bob and Paul were also accompanied by fellow railway workers, Bristol Train Driver Andy Gregg and Airdrie Train Driver Ivan Wilson whose dedicated work along with many others helped to make this cause such a great success.

A Cheque for £13,000.00 from the proceeds of the Badges already sold was presented to Michelle by Bob and Paul in front of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway War Memorial on the Station Concourse. This is a fitting backdrop as the origins of the Railway Service Badge dates back to the First World War when they were issued to all Railway Workers of the Railway Companies and also London Transport to denote they were essential workers who could not be conscripted into the Armed Forces. 

Bob, Paul, Andy & Ivan have spent large part of their footplate careers working on the old London Brighton and South Coast Railway Division of the Southern Railway.

Bob and Paul would like to thank everybody who has supported, promoted and contributed by buying these badges. There were numerous other fellow railway workers from across the country including Transport for London that have gone out of their way to give us the vital support which was way beyond any of our expectations and we will be forever grateful for their support.

There was a total of 23 variation of these badges which  include the original Covid 19 Railway Service Badge (British Rail & Transport for London ) versions, along with the following variations, 6 British Rail Regional colours, 3 British Rail colours, 1 London Overground and the 11 Transport for London to represent the tube lines on the London Underground.

The Brighton 130th Anniversary Badge 
designed by Mark Johnson & Paul Edwards



Railway badges raise £13,000

Throughout the pandemic rail workers have continued to report for duty as key workers. But it appears our efforts have been overlooked. To show we have also been playing our part, day in, day out, to keep the country moving during the crisis, retired Barnham driver Bob Dorkings and Par driver Paul Edwards produced railway service badges based on the original Second World War versions issued to staff to denote that they were in a reserved occupation. 

There was one for main line rail companies and onefor the London Underground and Overground, followed by six BR regional and three BR coloured versions and, finally, a series to cover the various Underground and Overground lines.

We decided to donate profits from the sale of the badges to NHS Charities Together and, on Wednesday 21 July, met Michelle Quittenton at London Victoria station to present her with a cheque for £13,000 in front of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway war memorial on the station concourse.

Bob, Paul, Andy and Ivan all spent a large part of their footplate careers working on the old London, Brighton & South Coast Railway division of the Southern Railway.

Through the Journal, we would like to thank everybody, including many ASLEF members, who have supported, promoted, and contributed by buying these badges. Numerous fellow rail workers from across the country, including Transport for London employees, have gone out of their way to give us vital support and we will be forever grateful.






It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of Tom Carpenter, one of our Epsom depot family. Tom had a relatively short battle with cancer that finally defeated him, passing away on the morning of Monday 9 August at just 56 years old. Having had a bad reaction to earlier treatment he chose to refrain from further treatment and, in his words, ‘Make the most of the time I have left’.

Tom joined the railway in 1999, originally at Selhurst depot, where he passed out as a driver. In 2003 he opted to leave Selhurst and join one of the smallest depots, at Epsom. He progressed to become a driver instructor, passing on his knowledge and assisting trainee drivers qualify.

Tom was quite a quiet guy who had a dry sense of humour. He would sit listening and then question the conversation or inject a cutting or humorous quip. The number of comments of disbelief, and fond memories from so many drivers, and other staff, on social media show just how highly regarded Tom was.

As a small depot the loss of one of our own drivers cuts deeply. Tom will be missed by Epsom drivers present and recently retired, as well as several other colleagues he worked with.

Epsom drivers offer Tom’s wife Beverley and her family our deepest condolences. As Tom rejected further treatment, determined to’ make the most of my time left’ part of the railway family he will not be forgotten.

Dave MacLennan and Epsom drivers

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