Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depots

Click on the icon above for

the Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches


 If I’m yon haughty lordling slave. By nature’s law design. Why was an independent wish. E’er planted in my mind?

If not, why am I subject to. His cruelty or scorn? Or why has man the will and power. To make his Fellow mourn?

Robert Burns


 The Strike of the

London, Brighton, & South-Coast Railway.

Engine Drivers

Tuesday 26 March 1867

On Monday 25th, March, 1867 a deputation of the Engine Drivers and Firemen awaited upon the Directors at London Bridge Terminus, on the understanding come to between them on Friday week, that an adjournment of the determination of the men to leave the service of the Company, should take place for a week, in order to afford the board time to consider the whole question.

The scale of wages proposed by the Directors to the Engine Drivers was an increasing one of 6d. per day, at intervals of twelve months to a maximum of 7s. 6d. per day at the end of two years’ service. The strong objection of the deputation was that the advance of wages proposed by the Directors was to take place every twelve months, at the option of the Locomotive Superintendent, and the feeling expressed by the men was that this arrangement would occasion be continuance of a grievance of which they professed to have complained, viz., that a system of favouritism would be pursued. We are informed that with the exception of the question of wages and the objection to power to be given to the Locomotive Superintendents, the other requisitions of the men were compiled with.

The interview between the men and the Board lasted above an hour. The Board declined to accede to the two disputed points, and the men refusing to withdraw them, they retired, stating that they should adhere to their notices for quitting the services of the company, and therefore would not work any of the trains of the Brighton line next day.

The Directors of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway have addressed the following circular to the Engine Drivers in their employment:-

 “The Directors have carefully considered the memorial presented by the Enginemen and firemen with an anxious desire to arrive at a settlement of the question just and satisfactory to all parties, the proprietors, the men, and the public. From the verbal explanations which have taken place, the directors find that the men attach most importance to the number of hours constituting a day’s work or duty, and the Board are able to meet this request freely on the basis of 60 hours per week of six working days, all time beyond to be paid for at the rate of eight hours per week-day as proposed in the memorial. Arrangements will be made to obviate any ground of dissatisfaction as to the payment for extra time and the working out of detail. With reference to the scale of wages suggested by the memorial, the directors are glad to find that the main objection which they see to it is recognised by the older and more experienced of the drivers. It would be unjust and inexpedient that all should be placed on a footing of equality as regards pay, irrespective of experience and other qualifications which constitute a first-class driver as distinguished from an ordinary driver. Such, however, would be obviously be the effect of advancing all –even the least experienced and capable-to the maximum scale of pay at the end of a few months. Such a result would not be to the permanent interest of the men. At present, out of a staff of 191 enginemen, there are more than 100 whose minimum fixed pay is 7s per day and upwards, namely, 74 at 7s, and 35 at 7s 6d per day. The directors feel no difficulty in giving an assurance that the number of men receiving the maximum rate of wages will steadily increased. A corresponding number of firemen will be maintained at a rate of pay, and on terms generally at least as favourable as may prevail on any railway in the kingdom. As evidence of the desire manifested by the board to deal liberally with their men, this company has established and maintained without contributions from the men, a special fund to provide for the superannuation of incapacitated or old and faithful servants, at the credit of which fund there is now £22,853 available for that purpose. An overcoat will be supplied to the men each year, and they will be allowed to retain the old one, as requested in the memorial. On all occasions when men are sent on duty rendering it necessary for them to reside from their homes, they will be paid two shillings and six-pence per day for their expenses, as requested in the memorial. As a rule engine drivers and firemen are to have nine hours clear off duty before being called upon again, as requested in the memorial. Time and half will continue to be allowed for all Sunday duty as requested in the memorial. It is the desire of the Board that any arrangement made shall not be just and mutually satisfactory now, but that it may be such as to maintain, permanently, the good relations which have subsisted between the Board and their staff without interruption for upwards of twenty years. To ensure this the Directors will quite ready to see any man who may feel dissatisfied; and as the public have a vital interest in the question, the directors are willing to leave to the settlement of a public board - say the Board of Trade – any question which from time to time they may be unable to adjust.” 

Walter B. Bartellot, Deputy Chairman.

London Bridge Terminus, S.E. March 21


   Enginemen's Reply

The engine drivers and firemen have sent the following

reply to the Directors.

The engine-driver and firemen employed on the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway respectfully acknowledge the receipt of proposals under to them by the Directors in answer to their memorial, and desire to tender them their hearty thanks for the consideration accorded to them.

They freely admit that proposals now offered would to some extent remove their present causes of compliant, and render their working more satisfactory to themselves, and s they believe, more beneficial to the Company.

They submit, however with all difference, that the proposals to fix the working on the basis of 60 hours a week of six working days, instead of ten hours of ten hours daily labour, is liable to many objections which, perhaps, did not occur to the directors. The engine-drivers and firemen look at the matter in this light: - Under the system of working by 60 hours a week, they may have to work 15 hours on one day and only five the next; or it might be possible to keep them on for 20 hours on one day, and allow them to be off the next. Now, they believe that the detriment to themselves and risk to the public is caused by that one day’s overwork, which cannot be compensated by shed restrictions from labour on the succeeding day. What they really desire is to work day by day, as nearly as possible, for ten hours, and, in cases where this must be expanded, that their over-time shall cause by this excess daily, and not by the excess over 60 hours weekly. It is not believed that there would any real difficulty in making such an arrangement, and as the Directors have an anxious desire to achieve at a just and satisfactory settlement of the question, their servants respectfully ask that the simple arrangement of ten hours a day should be adopted instead of 60 hours a week as proposed.

The engine-drivers would further say without reflecting at all on the management of the Brighton Railway, that there are other lines where the men have been induced to agree to a weekly basis of 72 hours in the belief that that would imply a daily labour of 12 hours, whereas some of them now running from 16 to 19 hours a day, and yet not exceeding the 72 hours a week. It is to prevent this very thing, and effect a permanent settlement of the question, that the men are so anxious to have their time defined by the day instead of week by week.

The Directors say that 'arrangements will be made to obviate any ground of dissatisfaction as to the payment extra time and the working out of detail.' If by this the directors mean that they will adhere, as much as possible, to ten hours a day, and that in rare case where it may be exceeded the excess shall be counted as overtime, let them say so in play words, and the difficulty is at an end.

the engine-drivers are disappointed that the Directors have taken no notice of the second and third points in memorial respecting mileage and shed days. The men attach great importance to the question of mileage, and they take the absence of any allusion to it by the Directors as an indication that they will be compelled to run as many miles as superintendents may think expedient.

In reference to the scale of wages the Directors say, 'It would be unjust and inexpedient that all should be placed ona footing of quality as regards pay, irrespective of experience and the other qualities which constitute a first class driver, as distinguished from an ordinary driver.'

In answer to this, the Engine Drivers would say, in the first place, they that no incompetent or inexperienced man should be employed to drive an engine. The safety of life and property, and the man's own safety, demand that he should not be trusted with such responsibility: but, having got a man thoroughly qualified, they think 7s 6d a day is not extravagant pay for him. If  there are men who have proved themselves of extra capacity, or higher attainments, the officials can always advance their position by committing to them the higher trusts, and by rendering their lot somewhat easier than others, or even some extra remuneration might in some way be awarded to such valuable servants. It is creditable to the 'older and more experienced' drivers of the Company that they were unanimous in agreeing to a memorial for a scale of wages which would not benefit themselves, expect by insuring that, while they were careful and attentive to their own duties on the road, they had drivers, both before and behind them, who were careful and competent.

The Engine Drivers are glad to hear that “The Company has established and maintained, without contributions from the men, a fund to provide for the superannuation of incapacitated or old faithful servants,” which now amounts to £22,853, but they must say that this is the first time they ever heard of it.

The Engine-Drivers and Firemen have to thank the Board respectfully for conceding so freely all the other points in the memorial, especially for the assurance that they will be quite ready to see any man who may feel dissatisfied, and they hope they will be equally generous in reconsidering the of the hours and the wages in which, perhaps the difference may be more apparent than real. They regret however, to say, that as the case at present stands, the omission of any allusion to the mileage and shed days, and the proposal of the directors on hours and wages are not at all satisfactory, and they cannot consent to work under them.

Signed on behalf of the Deputation, James Thompson

Tooley Steet March 23.


 Negotiations between the engine drivers and the directors of the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway have not been successful. The men struck on Monday, and the Directors have issued notices that the timetables of the line must be held in abeyance, and that fewer trains will be run until men are secured. 

The Directors have issued the following account of the breaking off of the negotiations:-

 “The Directors were not without hope that the reply which they had given to memorial presented by the enginemen and firemen would have solved the pending difficulty, but they must now inform the public that the majority of the enginemen and firemen constituting the staff of this railway have notified their intention of retiring from the service unless their demands are satisfied.

At a further interview to-day satisfactory explanations took place, and an agreement was come to as regards Shed Day, Sunday Work, the number of miles to be run as constituting a day’s work, amounting in the aggregate to not more than 750 miles per week – all beyond that number to be counted, and paid for as extra. The board also, though deeming the demand unreasonable, and not for the permanent interest of the men, conceded that each day should be counted as ten hours, instead of as a tenth of sixty hours; although, in practice, the day’s work is limited very frequently to less than five hours.

The rate of wages paid by this Company is so liberal that no permanent loss will result in conceding the scale asked. The directors were therefore willing that the minimum pay of drivers should be 6s., progressing towards to 7s. 6d per day; and the minimum pay of Firemen 3s. 6d,. advancing to 4s. 6d. per day. But the demand that all Engine –drivers and Firemen shall be advanced to the maximum scale of wages after a few months of service, without reference to their ability, is so wrong in principle that the board cannot reconcile it with sense of duty to consent to such demand.

Should the Engine-Drivers and Firemen act on their notices and retire, the directors will at once reduce the number of trains and the present speed, so as not to exceed in any case of a maximum of twenty miles per hour; and they will make available all the resource and means at their disposal for safely working as many trains as practicable and will not spare the exertion to replace staff at the earliest possible period.

By order

Allen Sarle Acting Secretary,

London Bridge Terminus, March 25, 1867.


 At Brighton during Monday night Mr. Craven, the locomotive superintendent; Mr. Molineaux, his assistant; Mr. M.G. Denvill, assistant traffice manager; Mr Webley, the station superintendent, with their chief clerks and subordinates, were either travelling, working, or telegraphing all over the system in order to provide against the contingency.

Notwithstanding the anxiety shown by the Directors of the Railway to meet the demands of their Enginemen and Firemen, the latter remained unsatisfied, and the following announcement was issued on Monday night :-


The public are respectfully informed that, in consequence of the strike of a large number of Engine Drivers and Firemen, with the time tables must considered as in abeyance. The utmost possible endevours will be made to carry passengers to their respective destinations, but a large number of trains must be taken off, and the speed of those run materially diminished.

By order, A. Sarle, Acting Secretary.

Secretary’s Office, London Bridge, March 25, 1867.

 The threatened Strike of the Engine-drivers on the Brighton Railway began on the morning of Tuesday 26th March, and never since the famous cab strike in 1853 has such great sudden inconvenience been inflicted on the public. The Brighton line is above all others a line for the accommodation of London people. Brighton itself - London - Super - Mare, as it has been called-is maintained chiefly by the people who are connected by business with London, and who come up daily, or several times a week. The stoppage of the traffic on a week-day morning throws out of order the arrangements of a large and important body of London men. All along the line, too, as far at least as Reigate, the holders of season’s tickets take the train for London every morning, and return to their homes at a fixed hour in the evening. All these found yesterday that their conveyance failed them and though the Company did its best to supply the place of the absent drivers, the traffic was almost suspended, not only with Brighton, but with places which depend for their communication with London on the Brighton line, as far as Hastings on the one side, and Portsmouth on the other side.

On Tuesday morning great confusion and considerable excitement prevailed on Tuesday at London Bridge, Victoria and the other stations of the Company, and as the public generally were not aware of that fact, many disappointments to passengers were experienced, particular to the disappointment of hundreds of “lovers of the turf” who were anxious to be present at the first day Epsom Spring Meeting, who intended to go down from London Bridge or Victoria by train, was expressed with such freedom and vigour as sorely to test the patience of the officials who remained at their posts.

On being made acquainted with the determination of the Enginemen the Directors made application for assistance in their difficulty, to the managers of other lines; but as might be expected, very few could be subtracted from their own staff of drivers, who must be skilled in their business and possessed of considerable intelligence and power of observation. Under these circumstances it was resolved to make a reduction in the number of trains, and the limit their speed to twenty miles per hour. The trains were driven by travelling railway inspectors and by foremen of works, accompanied by competent men on the engines who thoroughly understood the signals. In some cases on the main line two or three ordinary trains were made into one, but not exceeding 18 or 20 carriages in the whole on an average; and "short service" trains so called, were worked between Victoria and West Croydon on the one hand, and between the Crystal Palace and London Bridge on the other. In this way the directors adapted themselves to the inconvenience to which they had been thus suddenly subjected, with all the attendant loss. in the meantime all the ordinary time-tables were in abeyance, and the season ticket holders, on the principal lines especially, were being seriously incommoded. the six o'clock train from London got away in good time considering all the circumstances which impeded any approach to regularity, but the train which should have started from London at 8 did not move from the Terminus till after 10. On the South London line only one engine employed, and the traffic to and from Crystal Palace was almost entirely suspended. The hundreds of city gentlemen residing in the suburbs, and who ordinary avail themselves of this railway to come up to town, were of course put to inconvience, and altogether the event was attended by an immense, amount of excitement and loss of tile and business. All the available  foremen were put in charge of the trains, and every exertion was made by the Directors and managers to obviate the almost insurmountable difficulties in which they found themselves entangled.

The majority of the Drivers and Firemen remained firm to their notices, for it was found that only two drivers out of the whole number had accepted the terms of the directors. One old man, Driver of No. 73, who had been with the company from it's opening day, refused to strike, and was called upon to run some of the most important trains, for which purpose one of the more modem and powerful engines was prepared; but he would not abandon his own locomotive, and kept No. 73 throughout, although she was comparatively old and second-rate. On the South London line (then opened only from London Bridge to Brixton), Driver A. Turner and a cleaner from New Cross Sheds, manned engine, No. 51, and were working the whole duty of the branch line. 

Only two drivers remained at work, but by supplementing these by locomotive foremen and shed-men, together with a few station-masters and inspectors who had had locomotive experience, eighteen engines were kept in service the first day and a considerable proportion of the traffic dealt with, and addition to those two, there were some six to eight trains being driven by the under firemen and the locomotive superintendentsThe Enginemen who are in work say that the same feeling is experienced at the London end, particularly in the case of the Croydon trains. The men who are now working the trains are old and experience drivers, who had been promoted from driving to act as “Foremen” at junctions and other important posts. In ordinary work they supervise the general body of drivers, but as their occupation is gone in this report for the present, they are put to their old calling till the emergency passes over.

The traffic on the branches was more disorganised than the main line. In some case horses were employed to draw the trains, in others omnibuses and coaches bring passengers to the junctions. The number of trains run throughout the day was much less than usual, and these proceeded at very slow rate. On several of the branches the service was wholly discontinued, causing much inconvenience to the public. The public feeling has so far, been unanimously against the step so suddenly taken by the Engine men, and delay and inconveniences have been borne in the best possible spirit. 

 The Directors met on the Tuesday afternoon and passed resolutions, embodied in the following notice, which was promptly issued

The Directors met on the Tuesday afternoon and passed resolutions, embodied in the following notice, which was promptly issued

The circular above is from the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in which shows the railway employers’ hard-line attitude clear: 

“The directors are in principle opposed to combination for any description for the purpose of interfering with the natural course of trade. They think that masters and men [note the view of railway workers as servants - in those days, “men” could mean “servants”] should be left in every establishment to settle their own terms, and arrange their own differences without foreign [a word implying that trade unions are un-British] interference or dictation.” 

The pamphlet explains the strict discipline that existed on the railways, with dismissal, blacklisting, eviction from railway cottages and “ultimate resort to the dreaded workhouse” in store for anyone who attempted to form a union.

Extract from an article

by Liam Physick 

on the Edgehill station website



The Enginemen and Firemen wanted improvements or changes in a number of ways, most of which were accepted by the company, but two of which formed the main stumbling blocks and were the cause of the strike.

The first of these concerns hours of work, the men wanting to have a 10 hour day for 6 days, whereas the company wanted them to have a minimum 60 hour week.

The second point at issue was that the L.B. & S.C.R. wished to continue with the principle of advancing wages with seniority and experience in the separate grades of Enginemen and Firemen whereas the men wanted to have uniformed system not dependent on seniority or experience.


Below the engraving at Balcombe station, which reads


The Strike of the


Engine Drivers

Tuesday 26 March



   The Brighton Gazzette

Thursday 28th March 1867

Era thus comments on the ‘Situation’


Among the quibbles and quarrels, the deputations and strikes, which take place between master and man, there is not one that so intimately and immediately affects the public as the present dispute between the engine drivers on the various Railways and the Companies which employ them. Affecting, as it would do, the whole social traffic of the kingdom, should a strike take place among the engine drivers and their subordinates, the firemen, the question of their grievances is, as we have just said, one of public interest, and more than that, one of public sympathy. What traveller who had a heart or a fellow feeling ever reached his terminus on a bitter cold night, after hours passed in the face of cutting wind or sleet, but has felt how much he owed to the man who, in the face of such discomfort, had brought him safely to his destination, and how gladly, if the regulations admitted of it, he would show that feeling by a gratuity. With sentiments like these, shared in by thousands of the public, the appeal of the engine drivers is sure to receive from us our warmest sympathy and support, for all working men who consider the locomotive engine drivers as the men who should be paid the highest wages, and their hours of labour confined to the lowest number consistent with physical endurance, and honesty to their employers. It ought to have been a point to the credit and honour of every Railway in the kingdom to keep their engine drivers so well paid that the public should be never startled by the knowledge that some of the oldest hands on the line had seceded for want of higher pay. It is a frightful thing only to imagine that many of the accidents which have occurred on railways have resulted from the substitution of an ignorant for an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country,an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country, if peace and harmony is restored, an experienced engineer; and that a difference of six pence in a man’s claim may have been eventuated in a collision, and the death of numbers. It is however, with infinite satisfaction that we hear that this temporary feud between the various Railway companies and their engine drivers is at last likely to brought to an amicable conclusion without that resort to arms a strike which usually ends such disagreements. The London, Brighton, and south-coast, who employ nearly two hundred engine drivers, have acceded, in the most liberal manner, to the demands of their servants, and in that quarter, one of the oldest lines of the country, if peace and harmony is restored, we may surely hope that other Companies will follow suit, and end this vexed question in peace.


 Tuesday evening a handbill was circulated offering permanent situations and liberal pay to the experience men. The directors issued a notice stating: 

“That, believing a large majority of those who are still out will (upon reflection) regret having pushed matters to such an extremity; they are willing to receive back into service any of the old hands who may re-join it not later than Thursday next.”





All Brighton trains were regularly despatched during day, except four the eight a.m., the ten a.m. the four p.m. and the seven p.m. it said that plenty of men are ready to come in, that some have already come up from Liverpool and other places and that the men on strike will not hold out long.

Late on Tuesday some of the Brighton enginemen showed signs of giving way, and some had misgivings as to the policy of the course they had adopted. Verbal communications were opened with some of the Company's officials, and it was suggested a mediation should be effected. It was, however, pointed out to the men that extreme step they had taken and the granting of all their demands, save the condition pointed out rendered any course but one out of the question.  The London men were not, however, disposed to give in so easily and an equal vote was the result. Under these circumstances the Brighton men came to the determination of acting for themselves. At a late hour on Tuesday night they forwarded a request that Mr. Craven the Locomotive superintendent, would meet them at their Brighton Committee room. The meeting between the Brighton Delegates and Mr. Craven  with a view to resolve for themselves and Mr. Craven consented, and he was accompanied by Mr. Pickering, (who has for many years been connected with railway affairs).

All the men's demands about pay and hours and overtime, which indeed would be reckoned moderate enough nowadays, were granted by the directors; but they would not consent to all men, clever or stupid, diligent or lazy, being put on an equality as regards pay; nor would they yield to another demand-that the men who remained loyal should be dismissed.

The Directors having granted all they could grant, the men were shown that it was left for them to waive the one point they were asked to concede. The subject was to canvassed in all its bearings, the advance of wages being regulated in the manner proposed by the Board, the deputation seemed impressed with this view, and on Wednesday morning the strike was at an end so far as the Brighton drivers were concerned, this decision being forthwith telegraphed to the London committee. 

It was exclusively the Brighton men who resumed work Wednesday morning. Provision had been made for bringing down the first London train (6 a.m.) from London by a Brighton driver and fireman; it arrived to time; and but little locomotive was felt throughout the day, all the main trains being in to time within a few minutes, and the requirements of the traffic were admirally met. It seems that the main line is worked principally by whose home is Brighton, out of eleven main lines trains per day, the Brighton men work eight. Every train was sent off from Brighton yesterday, punctual to time.

On Wednesday 27th, saw many applications to take the strikers' places were received from Wales and the North; some  400 to 500 Belgium, France, and German engine-men were reported to be on their way to London, and one Belgian driver actually started work. This was more than the revolters had bargained for, and those south of Three Bridges accepted the proffered terms.

By noon on Wednesday 27th March, the verdict was “All right” all Brighton Hastings, Portsmouth and all branch lines as far as Three Bridges. We heard from London at 2 p.m.; at that time some of the old drivers had resumed work but all was going on well with the men that had been put on.


On Wednesday morning at London Bridge Terminus of the London and Brighton Railway, relative to the strike of the engine-drivers and firemen, it was ascertained from Mr. Hawkins, the traffic manager, that the strike might be considered virtually at an end, inasmuch as all the Brighton men and those employed south of “Three Bridges,” had come in to work and all the main line trains were running the same as usual, as well as the Epsom ordinary trains, but not the extra race trains. 

Mr. Hawkins expresses great confidence in an application either to France or Belgium, where 400 or 500 experienced drivers might be had (he thinks) in the course of a fortnight. The vacancies are now all filled up, and the Locomotive Superintendent as under the necessity of declining the applications of number of good men who are now applying for situations. The number of applications from men employed on the Welsh lines have been unexpectedly large. This was more than the striking enginemen had bargained for, and this then made it hopeless for the London men to persist with the strike.

On the other hand, the Secretary of the Engine Drivers Committee states that only trains worked at present where those from Brighton; but those men had gone to work under a misapprehension and would to-day apply for an explanation from the directors, which, if not satisfactory, would induce the whole of them together with the others south of Three Bridges, to again leave. He states that none of the men from Epsom, Battersea, or New Cross had gone to work; and that no trains had started this morning from Epsom, and also that should the old hand not be taken on at the scale of wages advertised by the company this morning, that all those now employed would again send in notices.

On Wednesday afternoon a deputation from the Committee of the engine–drivers on strike arrived at London Bridge, and were waiting upon a meeting with the Directors, with a view to the settlement of the question in dispute. There was also approximately thirty striking Enginemen, who also gathered at the station to show support to their Committee. After some discussion the men received assurance that they would have full opportunities of proving their claims to the highest rate of wages allowed by the company. On this promise the men have placed reliance, and consented to resume work. It was then hopeless for the London men to persist, and the whole of the London men have now gone back to work and the strike is really at an end. 


It was then hopeless for the London men to persist, and the strike fizzled out.

During the strike there had been any accidents occurred, nor had there been any breakdown

It was fought with much forbearance and good temper, although attempts were made to stop two of the working locomotives by placing soft soap in their water tanks, 

the effect of which was to cause priming or bubbles in the gauge glass, and prevent the driver seeing the quality of water in the boiler of his engine, and one of the engines was stoned from a bridge near Brockley. 





On the morning of Thursday 28th March, 1867, The main lines between London, Brighton , Portsmouth and Hasting were running as normal and a full Suburban service  resumed (London, Croydon, & Epsom).

The Daily Telegraphed

28th March 1867

The public will hear with satisfaction that the strike on the London and Brighton Railway is at an end. The circular inserted elsewhere shows that all the engine-drivers and firemen have returned to their duty, and the traffic will now resume it wonted course. We announce this happy close of a painful dispute with special gratification, inasmuch as the resolution taken by the men is nearly in accordance with the suggestions we threw out yesterday. To a certain extent, the drivers and firemen have conceded that the point on which the directors stood firm. They have met the directors half-way, by leaving the right of promotion in the hands of the authorities, on the conditions that there shall be a right of appeal to the board. Their good sense has shown them that, since the directors exercise a public trust, and are responsible to the whole community, they must have a large and wide discretion in the appointment of servant



THURSDAY 28 March 1867


We have in other columns, given all the particulars it has been possible for us to gather, concerning the unfortunate collision between the railway company and the directors. This being so, we have but little space for comment. Nor. At present amount, do we deem it desirable that we should discuss the matter, and its bearings. Strife and ill-will have been evoked, and much hot blood remains to be cooled down, and our own feelings as to the injury likely to be inflicted on the town generally by the ill-advised action of these imprudent men are such that we prefer deferring discussion. At the moment we write dark clouds are again arising, and our fears are rife that the directors have but “scotched the snake; not kicked it.” However, the worst is past: there are some good men and true still found faithful to their old employers, aid is being furnished by other Companies, volunteers are offering themselves, and if these “wrong hand” persevere in their conduct, they will find it to their cost, when too late, their post occupied by some of the 400 or 500 men whom we hear Mr. Hawkins can in less than a fortnight procure from Belgium.

No more liberal management exist that the of the Brighton line; and the spirit of liberality has animated the directors in the present unfortunate controversy. They freely conceded nearly all the points put forward by the men, but the rock on which the disputants split was that of “equality” of wages, and this on a somewhat high scale. The men reject the directors’ proposition of distinction according to ability, alleging that thereby “favouritism” would be fostered. And it is on this essence of “unionism,” this “levelling” principle, that the “strike” has taken place. They contend that all men are equal ergo all engine drivers are equally skilful, there are no degrees of merit in engine driving, and all should be paid alike. Here we have Chartism rampant with a vengeance; and in the scene now enacting we have a foretaste of that Millennium which Messrs. Beales, Dickson, Bright, White, Fawcett and Co. are doing their best to hasten on, of that “people’s” rule tyranny the most intolerable shall bear away, the tyranny exercised by the lower orders by that Frankenstein which mob orators have created, reckless of the power it would processed and the injury it would perpetrate.

The engraving at Balcombe in October 2011.

Story as it, that a striking Engineman and his Fireman, sat at Balcombe station with their engine for the 24 hour stoppage,it is also believed that the Enginemen had thrown their fire out. A record of the 1867 was recorded by the Enginemen carving the date of the strike into the sandstone rocks at Balcombe.

Readng through various newspaper reports, there seems to be no mention of an engine being stuck at Balcombe for the duration of the strike. Therefore was this carving done a Enginemen, whilst on a ballast train at Balcombe? 

It is alleged that the Engineman & Fireman where suspended for this shameful acted.

It's hoped that one day we will find out more about the enginemen who done this engraving and the intials W.F.C.



 It is of interest to note that in 1867 a scheme for the amalgamation of the Brighton Railway with the South Eastern was debated with much acrimony and ultimately rejected by the former company's shareholders. 

After fifty-six years this fusion became a fact in 1923.




extracted from RTCS book on locomotives of the LBSCR



On the 29th May, 1867 when Driver Marley (New Cross?) was unable to close the regulator of a 'Craven Standard Passenger 2-4-0 loco' No. 185  as it run into Brighton station with the 8.0 a.m. down express. Despite a full application of the tender brake, and assistance from the guard, the speed could not be reduced below 20 to 25 m.p.h. Fortunately, this train was booked to call at the ticket platform before running on to the terminus, which gave just sufficient time and distance for both crew members to force the regulator closed, and then reverse the engine and apply steam. The buffers were hit, but only at a walking pace and no serious injuries were suffered. Subsequently the driver, fireman and guards were fined for ‘running into the Brighton ticket platform dangerously and at too high a speed’, the regulator on No. 185 having been found in good order.

Driver Marley, however was not satisfied, and found on other occasions that the regulator failed to close completely as well as at times opening slightly on its own. Complaining of this eccentricity, he was not believed and no thorough investigation was made until there came the day when No.185 had to be moved on New Cross shed by the Staff. The regulator opened with ease and then stuck. Moving quite smartly the engine bumped into a line of coke wagons and propelled them towards the foremen’s office, from whence this gentleman appeared at high speed, warned by much shouting that all was not well. He just managed to leap clear before the coke wagons and the gently puffing loco enveloped the area. Halted by the debris, the culprit’s regulator was closed. The offending item was removed forthwith, and since nothing could still be found amiss a new one was fitted with apparent success, since no further mentioned appears in the accident reports. One hopes that those fined received a full pardon and their money back. 



4th MAY 1867

Adapted from the B.o. T. Report

by C.S. Hutchinson Capt. R.E. Major

On the 4th May, 1867, a passenger train from Littlehampton to Ford ran into a train of empty carriages standing in a siding at the Ford Station of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, on which occasion six passengers and the guard of the train were injured; no bones were broken, but the injuries consisted of cuts and severe shakes.

Ford is a junction station on the line from Brighton to Portsmouth, the Mid-Sussex line entering it from the north, and the Littlehampton line from the south.

There is a signal box at the junction of the three lines; to the westward of this a wooden bridge over the Arun, and then a station signal-box close to the east end of the platform. The down or south platform is double-faced, and the siding on its southern face is continued to the westward till it rejoins the main line 400 or 500 yards from the platform. The trains from Littlehampton to Ford usually draw up to the platform on this siding, and it is customary to use the western portion of the siding for empty trains. On the evening in question a six-wheeled engine and tender attached to s train of empty carriages was standing on this siding, the engine being at the east end of the train, and about 250 yards from the station signal-box, or 120 yards from the west end of the platform, which is 130 yards long.

The passenger train from Littlehampton to Ford consisted of a six-wheeled engine (with 5 ft. 6 in. driving wheels) and tender, a third-clam carriage, second-class carriage, a first-class carriage, and break van, Provided with ordinary break power, coupled in the order stated. The guard states that the train left Littlehampton at 6.40 p.m. on the 4th May, and that they proceeded at a rather faster rate than usual up to the bridge over the Arun, the signals being all right for them to enter the station ; but that the speed from this point, instead of being gradually reduced as is usual, did not slacken till the station box was reached, when, after running for about 20 yards at a reduced rate, the train again shot ahead, and maintained its increased rate of speed until it ran into the engine of the empty train on the siding.

Before reaching the bridge the guard states that he applied his break, and kept it hard on until the collision occurred; and this statement is corroborated by other testimony. He was unable to communicate with the driver, from the absence of any means of doing so. The driver of the engine of the train of empty carriages stated that be happened to be standing at the east end of the platform when the Littlehampton train passed. From the rate at which the train was going (which he estimated at from 18 to 20 miles an hour) he felt sure a collision would occur, and followed the train as quickly as possible. On reaching the engines he found h i own had been knocked back about 40 feet ; and he observed that the break blocks of the tender of the engine from Littlehampton were of as f as the screw would admit, giving him the impression that the handle had been turned the wrong way. This driver's fireman was standing on the main line opposite to his engine when the collision occurred; he also estimated the speed of the Littlehampton train at from 18 to 20 miles an hour, and observed that the break blocks of the tender were right away from the wheels.

I was unable to examine the driver and fireman of the train from Littlehampton, as the former had absconded, and the latter was in gaol, awaiting his trial. From the evidence it appeared that they were both perfectly sober on the evening in question ; that they knew the line well, having run over it nearly 50 times since the lst of April ; that the driver had served & such on different lines for l9 ½ years and the fireman for two years, though they had joined the Brighton Company's service only on the 1st of April ; that the only excuse the driver made was that he could not shut off steam, from his regulator not working; which statement was proved to be false by the locomotive foremen at Littlehampton, who found the regulator working perfectly, shortly after the collision. Both driver and fireman had a copy of the Company's rules, which state that the speed on pawing the bridge over the Arun must not exceed 15 miles an hour.

I think, therefore, there can be no doubt but that the collision was caused by inattention to their duties on the part of the driver and fireman, and that on suddenly finding themselves entering the station at too high a speed they lost their presence of mind, and neglected to me the ordinary means of reducing speed by reversing the engine and applying the tender break.

It seems very objectionable that any trains should be permitted to leave s station without communication between guard and drivel; and it is quite possible that the present collision might have been avoided had such communication existed in this instance.

* Enginemen's depot not known


 One of the two railway maps of the L.B.S.C.R. that is on display at London Victoria station with its map showing the railway lines heading out of London down to the South Coast. 

The second map at London Victoria shows all L.B.S.C.R. suburban routes around the London Area.


Accident at Victoria on 5th October 1867

Extract and adapted from railway report

By F.H. Rich

Lieut. Col. R.E.

A train, consisting of an engine and tender, a guard’s break van, a third class, a second class, two first class, and two third class, coupled in the order given, left South Croydon station for London at its proper time, 6.17 p.m., on the 5th instant. A guard was travelling in the front van, and a second guard in the third-class carriage, at the tail of the train.

The train passed the Hole-in-the-Wall signal station at the entrance to Victoria station at slow speed, about 7.10 p.m., and on passing through the facing points at Eccleston Bridge, which is just inside the Hole-in-the-Wall signal box, the engine and tender kept the rails that lead up to the Brighton main line platform; the guard’s van next to the tender got its two hind wheels off the rails; the third and second-class carriages next behind the guard’s van got completely off the rails, and the rest of the coaches in the train kept to the rail that lead up to the local or Crystal Palace platform.

The entrance to the L.B.S.C. section of Victoria station is controlled by a signalman stationed in the Hole-in-the-Wall junction box, and by two pointsmen stationed under Eccleston Bridge, which is about 50 yards nearer to the platforms.

The Hole-in-the-Wall signal box

The pointsmen work in connexion with the man at Hole-in-the-Wall. They signal to him when the platforms are clear for trains to enter the station, and they receive permission from him to let trains pass out.

The points and signals at the Hole-in-the-Wall, with the exception of the dummy or shunting signal, are arranged on the locking principle; but those at the Eccleston Bridge stations are not.

When the South Croydon train arrived at the entrance to Victoria station the signal at the Hole-in-the-Wall and at the Eccleston Bridge stations were all right for the train to pass to its proper destinatio0n, which was to the local or Crystal Palace platform. On passing through Eccleston Bridge Points the front part of the train took the road for the Brighton trains, and the hind part of the train followed its proper road, as before described.

Charles Fuller, the pointsmen at Eccleston Bridge, states that he set the points for the road which leads up to Crystal Palace platform, previous to lowering the signals some minutes before the South Croydon train arrived, and that he did not move them again. He endeavours to account for the accident, by saying that an engine passed out from the arrival platform for the Brighton trains without his knowledge, and that this engine, by forcing its way through the points, stained them and left them partly open for the South Croydon train.

The driver and fireman of this latter engine stated that distinctly and decidedly that they got the signal from Fuller to pass his station, and they are borne out by the signalman at the Hole-in-the-Wall, who also states that he allowed the said engine to come out after having received leave to do so from a man at Eccleston Bridge.

There appears to me therefore but little doubt that Fuller omitted to set the points for the South Croydon train to proceed to its proper destination, to the Palace platform, and that in the surprise of seeing the engine of the South Croydon train taking the wrong road he became confused, and moved the points while the train was passing over them, thereby causing the accident.

The arrangement of the points and signal at the entrance to Victoria station is being altered, in connection with the Battersea new lines, and I understand that the points and signals will be locked when the new arrangements are completed.

It is most desirable that all the points and signals should be arranged on the locking principle, and thus prevents such mistakes as will occur, with the best men, when they are locked.





Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depots

Click on the icon above for

the Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches


Make a free website with Yola