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the Brighton Motive Power Depots

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F. STEVENSON 1934 -1936

(Footplate Seniority 20.06.1900)


F. BROOKER 1934 -1935

(Footplate Seniority 19.07.1901)




In May 1934 the Brighton Branch of A.S.L.E.F. was split with 

the Enginemen and Firemen working at the Steam 

Locomotive Shed becoming Brighton No. 1 Branch with 

Engineman Bro F. Stevenson continuing in the role as branch 


The Motormen working at Brighton Lovers Walk Electric 

Multiple Unit Depot and West Worthing Electric Car Sheds 

becoming Brighton No.2 Branch with Brighton based 

Motorman Bro F. Booker being duly elected to become the 

first branch secretary of the newly opened No.2 branch. The 

Brighton No. 2 branch opened with 58 A.S.L.E.F. members of 

which 44 where at the Brighton depot and 14 at the West 

Worthing depot. This gives an indication to the sizes of the 

two depots but not an exact figure.

Over the next few years the expanding Southern railway 

electrification programme was to change the face of many 

Steam depots along the Sussex coast, with some depots and 

men transferring from the Locomotive Grade (Engineman) 

into the Electric Multiple Unit Grade (Motorman). At some 

locations where there was still the need to for a Locomotive 

depot a separate Motorman’s Depot would also be opened. 

With the expanding electrification of the Railways serving 

Brighton East and West Coast Brighton No 2 Branch started 

to become bigger until eventually becoming one of the largest 

Motorman’s depots on the Southern Railway, whilst West 

Worthing Motorman’s Depot remained in the shadow of its 

larger neighbour.

In June 1935 saw electrification of the main East coast line 

being completed between Brighton to Ore direct and with the 

spur lines via Eastbourne. Also completed was the route 

between Seaford to Horsted Keynes via Plumpton linking up 

to the main line from Brighton at Keymer Junction. This 

brought about the introduction of more electric train 

services. This in return created three new Motormen depots 

at Ore (the main depot on the East coast) with 26 Motormen 

positions, Eastbourne with 10 Motormen positions and 

Seaford with 8 Motormen positions, of which 2 positions 

where filled by Brighton Motormen transferring within the 

grade. It has always been the case that on the Central 

Section of the Southern Railway to have small Motorman’s 

depots at terminal stations, junctions or other key locations. 

With less than fifty jobs being created through electrification, 

this was not nearly enough to absorb the mass job losses in 

the subsequent redundancies in the  locomotive depots 

affected (St Leonards, Eastbourne, Newhaven and Brighton) 

and as a result this meant many Enginemen and Firemen 

having to move throughout the Southern Railway to stay 

within the Grade.

Owing to the expansion of the electrification in 1935, the 

Brighton Motorman’s depot saw two small influxes of 

Enginemen transferring from Brighton loco depot 5 new 

Motormen in May and a further 8 in December. There was no 

increase to the size of the West Worthing depot. The Brighton No.2 

Branch had by the end of December 1935 a combined 

membership of 70 members.

After the end of the Second World War the Railways of Great 

Britain were nationalised by the new Labour Government 

and in 1948 the Brighton Division of the Southern Railway 

became part of the Central Division of the Southern Region 

of the new British Railways.


Brighton Lover’s Walk Shed Code




Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brighton No.2 

Branch designed by Alan Ricketts.



 One of Brighton's No.2 Branch's earliest branch members


 The opening pages of A.S.L.E.F.'s Brighton No.2 Branch

subscription book from May 1934.


                                               The un-edited pages of the Brighton No.2 Branch sub-scriptions book as of May 1934 



West Worthing Station, the terminating point of electrification 1933 - 1938.







Above Brighton No.2 Branch sub-scriptions book page 1, shows the West Worthing members



It appears from these open pages of the Branch sub-book, that members at the newly opened West Worthing depot 

joined the A.S.L.E.F. within the first few months of the depot being opened.

This is indicated by the dates in the left hand 

column is the date the members joined A.S.L.E.F.



This page also shows the names of the original 14 West Worthing A.S.L.E.F. members and gives an indication of the size 

of the depot. It is not known at this moment in time, the exact size of West Worthing depot.

It was only a matter of time that A.S.L.E.F. was to be recognised as the only voice for footplate-men regardless of their 

grade within the line of promotion. This is reflected in the high number of Motormen joining A.S.L.E.F. after they had 

transferred in to their new grade.




Above  H.G. Pepperell who was one of the first Leading Motorman at West Worthing and become a member of A.S.L.E.F 

in October 1933, he also was branch

Leading Motorman/Driver was responsible for posting altered diagrams, weekly roster and various at their depot owing 

to the depot having no Foreman Motorman. The leading Motorman/Driver would received an allowance for such duties 

and was normally given to the senior Motorman/Driver on each of the two shifts.

This practice still continues at certain depots within various railway companies








Above Brighton No.2 Branch sub-scriptions book page 1 the Brighon membership.

Unlike many of the West Worthing motormen, many of the motormen at Brighton had been A.S.L.E.F. members for many 

years prior to the opening of the new motormen’s depot. The motorman with longest members was W.G. Lewery who had 

joined in A.S.L.E.F. in 1904.

This page along with the following two pages, shows the names of the original 44  Motormen belonging to the Brighton 

No.2 Branch. This gives a good indication of the size of Brighton's Motormen's depot in 1934.

The opening pages cover the months of 1934 & 1935 with the membership paying their contributions.



 Right & Above are the seniority lists for both Brighton and 

West Worthing Motorman's depots, based on the locomen that 

appeared in the Brighton No. 2 A.S.L.E.F. Branch sub-

scription book and from the Southern Railway Seniority book 

of 1925.

This information gives an indication of the length of footplate 

service that these locomen had served, prior to them 

transferring into the motortmen's grade.

Many of these motormen joined A.S.L.E.F. just prior to the 

formation of the opening of the No.2 branch. This date may 

have some connected to the date when they transferred to the 

motorman's grade?






Above Brighton No.2 Branch sub-scriptions book page 2 the Brighon membership.

These pages gives a true account of the A.S.L.E.F. membership within the Brighton No.2 Branch. and a rough indication 

of the size of Brighton's Motormen's depots during 1934 - 35.

 A rough idea also can be gained of the length of service and age of some of the Motormen prior to them transferring 

from the Brighton Loco Dept./Brighton No. 1 Branch to the Motormen's grade in 1932.







Above Brighton No.2 Branch sub-scriptions book page 3 the Brighton membership.


Page 3 shows the remaining A.S.L.E.F. members of the Brighton No.2 Branch along with Motormen transfering into 

Depot and Brighton No. 2 Branch.

Motormen A. Pearce came from Three Bridges and W. E. Reed came from Reigate, transferred into Brighton by 

September 1934. 

In 1935 Brightom Motorman F. Gurman joined A.S.L.E.F. on 31st June 1935. F. Gurman and A. Pearce (ex T.Bdgs & 

Nhvn) both of them later transferred to the newly opened Motormen's depot at Seaford in July 1935.

Motorman W. H. Reed  transferred from Three Bridges to Brighton just prior to June 1935.



Above Brighton No.2 Branch sub-scriptions book page 3 with new members transferring from Brighton No.1 Branch.

With the expansion of the electrification on the East coast routes, the Brighton depot increase to cater for additional 

work and by the September of 1935, a further five Brighton Enginemen, transferring from the Brighton No.1 Branch. By 

the December of that year another eight Brighton Enginemen transferred to the Motorman's depot. 

With further expansion of electrification from West Worthing to Portsmouth and down the Mid-Sussex line. The 

Motorman's depot along with the Brighton No.2 Branch grew, with more steam drivers transferring across from the 

steam depot to the Motorman's Depot.

It was a reconised practise for "Dual Link" drivers to firstly get their appointments at West Worthing and later transfer 

back to the Motorman's depot at Brighton. This was also the case for many Motormen who where trying to transfer 

within the motorman's grade. At Brighton, along with other Sussex coastal depots, these depots where considered to be 

"Dead Men's Shoes" depots. This practise continued up until the Motormen grade was phased out.

It must be noted, that some footplate-men did not want to join any trade union, or where reluctant to leave the 

Amalgamated Society of Railway Servant (later becoming the National Union of Railwaymen (A.S.R.S./N.U.R) owing to 

their past loyalty to this trade union.




Short Circuit Bar training on the down loop at Preston Park, the year is unknown.



Above is a memo sent to Brighton engine driver Fred Horsman, informing him of his retirement.

 Fred had entered the footplate grades on the 24.06.1889, and through out his railway service he remained a member of 

the A.S.R.S. & later the N.U.R.

This was case of many engine man of that the period .




Extracted and adapted from the Seaford Branch of A.S.L.E.F. minute book.

A Special Joint Meeting of Motormen from the Sussex Coastal depots, of Brighton, West Worthing, Seaford, Eastbourne & 

Ore. The meeting was held on Sunday 10th May, 1936. The elected Chairman for the meeting, gave a l

engthy explanation of the current situation, and letters were read out from A.S.L.E.F. General Office, the Sectional Council,

Secretary, Bro. F. Jeans, and from Herbert Jones Southern Railway.

After the report from the Chairman and the correspondence had read out, a lengthy discussion took place which resulting a 

motion being put to the meeting. The motion was moved and seconded from Seaford Branch, moved Motorman, Bro. A. 

Pearce and seconded by Bro. H. Stedman which read as follows:-

"We the Motormen of Eastbourne, Seaford, Ore, Brighton and West Worthing, supported by the London District, and call 

upon the Executive Committee to act immediately, and take up with Southern Railway Company our requirement, having 

failed to get satisfaction through correspondence to Sectional Council Secretary. To press our claim for Representation and 

the attitude taken by Herbert Jones against the agreed machinery, further the non-attention to genuine report" ."We call 

upon General Office to allow a Central meeting of Motormen to deal with questions, effecting all Motormen on Southern 

Railway's Railway." "Having failed to get permission to our previous resolution to sanction a meeting as per letter of 24th 

February G95/53, we demand in the interest of Motormen and Society a special meeting for Southern Railway Motormen be 

held at Brighton. This is in accordance with all Depots failing permission for same it to be called for Sunday 31st May at 

6.45 p.m. and expenses be covered by collection at meeting". Carried Unanimously.

Following this motion another was moved by Seaford Motorman Bro. A. Pearce, and seconded by Brighton Branch 

Chairman, Motorman Bro. W. Lewery (B'ton No.2 Branch).

"Secretary send letter to reach Organising Secretary Bro. J. V. Sweeney by Friday mornings post (re cancelling meeting)."

The meeting was then finally closed with a hearty vote of thanks to visitors who attended this meeting, this was moved by 

Seaford Branch Chairman, Motorman Bro. F. Wilmshurst.

Organising Secretary Bro. J. V. Sweeney, arranged a meeting to be held at at the Brighton Labour Club, this meeting was to 

be held on Sunday 21st June, and starting at 2.30 p.m. At this meeting, Bro. J. V. Sweeney gave a up to date report to the 

Motormen, after which a number of  various discussions and questions were raised, and after three hours, the meeting was 

finally adjourned. Bro. J. V. Sweeney was to reconvene  a further meeting. This meeting was arranged for Sunday 28th June, 

which saw two meetings being held, one being a morning meeting, starting at 10.30 a.m. which was followed by an evening 

meeting, starting at 6.30 p.m. This was to enable as many Motormen as possible to attend from both the early and late shifts.

Organising Secretary Bro. J. V. Sweeney, gave a further detailed report of the current situation and after lengthy discussion, 

the Seaford Branch Secretary, Motorman A. E. Harrison, moved a resolution, that spelt out the feelings of the vast majority 

of Motormen, who were in attendance at both of these meetings, the motion reads as follows.

"That this main meeting of Motormen, view with grave dissatisfaction the delay with which the complaints of Motormen are 

dealt with, and are of the opinion that in its present operation the machinery is inadequate to deal with such complaints. We 

express the opinion that the number of appointed representatives of Motormen is inadequant and that immediate steps 

should be taken by the Society to increase the number of L.D.C. from 5 to 6."

"Further we suggest that consideration be given to the setting up of a separate Sectional Council for Motormen for the 

purpose of speeding up the settlement of matters in dispute by representations competent in technical knowledge of varying 


"Further in view of our increased numbers, we express the opinion that we should be given increased representation on the 


"Further with a view to assisting the E.C. and the Sectional Council to promote these objects a Motorman’s vigilance 

Committee be appointed for the purpose of collecting necessary facts and submitting them to the proper authority."

"We ask the E.C. to obtain this or suggest some better method whereby the business can be carried out more quickly and 


The resolution was carried with only one Motorman voting against the resolution. A Special Meeting was called for 13 

September. (No info available yet!!).

Eventually a position on the Executive Committee was created to represent the views and issues of the Motorman grade.










Back Row Standing

H 'Soapy' Watson (Ernie), Reg Taylor, A. Stubbs, ?, ?, H. Hemsley, Alf Reichart, A. Hazel (Harry), L. (Lincoln?) Godley,

George Johnson, Jack Peirce, Les Bunker, ?, Fred Reakes.

Front Row Standing

Chas Taylor, ‘Buster’ Brown (Bill), ?, Harry Mitchell, Bill Aldrych, Spud Taylor, C. Wood (Silas), Harry Ware, ?, ?,  H. 

Durnell, (Jack?) Bell, ?, Verennes,  ?, ?,  Foreman Motorman, ? Cudge Taylor.                                                                                                                        

Back Row Sitting

Bert Bolingbroke, C. Crosswaite, Works Driver,  C. Peirce, Fred Wheeler, Les Parker, Stan Jessop

Front Row Sitting

C. Evans (Charlie), K. Peirce, H. Wilson (Flash Harry (P.O.W.), Jim Hatcher, T. Ward (Tommy), H. Skinner (Harry), ?, ?, T. 

Smith (Tommy), Bert Parker, McVerall (Canadian W.W.I).

 50 in total, 37 named & 13 Unknown

Ted Janes recall four of footplate-men, who were his Drivers, Alf Reichart, Stan Jessop and Jim Hatcher.

Jim was my mate in the next to top gang and we used to have a duty with a Marsh tank where we went to Glynde to pick up 

milk then 13-20 Oxted and return with I think the 15-35. on arrival at the loco we had to dispose and prepare for London men 

who would leave the loco around 19-00 and it was usual practice to wait the arrival of this particular crew in case they 

needed showing out the yard. Jim and myself both liked visiting the Dog Stadium so on Dog nights we would take turns on 

who left for the Dogs and who did the work on the engine.

This arrangement lasted all the time I fired to Jim and we were never rumbled. Jim was a Gent and had three daughters, he 

used to remark how nice it was to escape his all  female environment to come to work.

I also noticed Harry Hazell in the picture who was at both Crystal Palace Low Level and West Worthing with me in  my early 

driving years. 


Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depots

Click on the icon above for

the Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches



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