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ON THE 6th JUNE 1851




R.E. Laffen Captain R.E.



The scene at Newmarket Arch de-railment on the 6th June 1851 


Engine drivers and firemen were required to be reliable and have stamina and aptitude rather than formal education. By the 

1850s, a chain of recruitment had been established from teenage engine cleaner (pay 10-12s. a week) to fireman (20-30s.), 

with eventual promotion for many to driver (30-45s.). Senior drivers were thus well paid and highly respected employees. 

The branch line from Brighton to Lewes is eight miles in length upon the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, in 

consequence of a train being thrown of the line between Brighton and Lewes.

The Branch line from Brighton to Lewes is eight miles in length; there is but one intermediate station, called Falmer, situated 

as nearly as possible half-way. From Falmer the line defends towards Lewes, for a distance 3 1/2 miles at a gradient of 1 in 

88, which is succeeded by a short length of level line leading to the Lewes Junction. The Company’s regulations direct that all 

engines should go down the descending gradient from Falmer with the steam shut off; and they further direct that the speed 

should not be allowed at any part of the decent to exceed 20 miles an hour. The practice, however, of the engine drivers upon 

the Lewes branch appears hitherto to have been to shut off steam on leaving the Falmer  station and then to allow the trains to 

run down unchecked till it became necessary to apply the breaks on approaching the junction at Lewes. From an experiment 

on the spot, it appear that the speed of trains so conducted varies from 10 or 15 miles per hour at the head of the incline, to 50 

miles an hour at the point it is usual to apply the breaks. 

Midway in the descent, or about 1 3/4 miles from the Falmer station , the line sweeps round to the left on a somewhat sharp 

curve through a deep chalk cutting, the upright side of which prevent a driver, conducting a train towards Lewes, from seeing 

the rails in front to a greater distance than 200 yards. this is a point which should be passed at a moderate speed. The 

ordinary trains on the Lewes branch, even if running at no higher speed than 20 miles per hour, could not always be stopped 

within 200 yards upon so steep a gradient; and from the experiment above alluded to, it appears that the usual speed of those 

trains at this point is not less than 27 miles per hour. Engine drivers are seldom good judges of the speed at which they are 

running; they generally under rate it; and when the steam is shut off, the smoothness of the motion and the absence of the beat 

of the engine are apt to deceive them.

At this period of time, it was found necessary to operate short trains on a roundabout system between Brighton and Shoreham, 

Worthing, Haywards Heath, Lewes in order to increase these services without interfering with the main line traffic. On arrival 

at Brighton from Worthing, an engine would run round its train and depart in a few minutes for Lewes, where a similar rapid 

change round made the same engine and carriages available for the return service to Brighton. Such a system, of course 

necessitated much tender first working, thus when 'Sharp Brothers Singles' loco No. 82 arrived at Brighton from Haywards 

Heath running chimney leading just before noon on Friday 6th June 1851 and left again at 12.5 p.m. hauling the same 

carriages consisting of four carriages, on first-class, two second (one of the second class carriages was in lieu of a luggage 

van), and one third-class, and it was working tender foremostMost providentially the train happened to contain very few 

passengers. It was usually the lightest train during the day.

A stop at Falmer station and then the journey recommenced with speed gradually increasing to 50 m.p.h. Driver Samuel 

Jackson, had been accustomed to do, with the steam shut off, but without any breaks being applied. It swept round the curve 

already described at a speed which was certainly not less than 27 miles an hour, and at the end of the curved cutting came in 

contact with a wooden sleeper, the end of which rested upon the left-hand rail; this threw the train off the line to the opposite 

or right-hand side, the tender, engine and two of the four carriages suddenly left the rails, then ran some 85 yards along the 

ballast before crashing through the bridge parapet into the road below. The other two carriages miraculously remained 

upright on the track and were undamaged.   

At 12.45 p.m. the greatest alarm was created in Lewes, by the intelligence that a frightful accident had occurred on the 

railway line between Lewes and Falmer, and that several lives had been lost. Flys were seen driving and horses galloping 

through the town with the utmost rapidity towards the scene of the catastrophe. Immediately on the receipt of the disastrous 

information, Mr. Turner, the intelligent Station Master at Lewes, at once jumped into carriage, and taking some assistants with 

him proceeded to the spot. In the meanwhile a messenger on horseback had summoned Mr Murrell, the surgeon, who 

mounting his horse, in a very few minutes reached the scene of the disaster, to which, a like summons having arrived at this 

office, we immediately precaution to convey the needful intimation to the medical practitioners nearest the station, who 

quickly repaired to the spot.

On arrival at the second milestone it was at once evident where the accident had occurred. At this point of the line there is a 

high embankment, passing along from the cutting just above Mr. Steyning Beard’s New Barn, almost to the Ashcombe 

Turnpike Gate. Through this embankment are several “accommodation” bridges, and near the second miles stone from Lewes 

is one apparently of somewhat larger dimensions than others.  The embankment here must nearly 30 feet high. It was here that 

accident had occurred.

On arrival, the scene that presented itself was one that might have appalled the stoutest heart. On the South side of 

accommodation bridge lay the bodies of four persons whose lives had fallen a prey to this fearful accident, while around them 

were wrecks of the engine, tender, and a second and third class carriage, which had been precipitated over the bridge and 

which in their descent had brought with them the entire parapet wall. Two of the bodies were those of females, dressed in 

black, and who have been since recognized as Mrs Chatfield of Brighton, aged 73, and her daughter Sarah Chatfield aged 33. 

Close by the corpse of a young man, dressed in a black coat, red plaid waistcoat and drab-stripped trouser, since ascertained 

to be Mr. A. Langhorne, of Camberwell, Surrey. Each sufferer had, in addition to other injuries, received severe fracture of the 

skill, and owing to the force with which they had evidently been precipitated from the carriages, it was manifest that their 

death must been comparatively instantaneous. Close at hand, with his fare embedded in the earth, and jammed against the 

cast wing-wall of the bridge by the footboard end of the engine, fearfully mangled, lay the body of the unfortunate Fireman, 

George Chase, and aged 19 years old. With him death must have been instantaneous. His right thigh was literally cut to 

pieces. These poor creatures were all far beyond human aid, and the first object was, therefore, to  aid the engine Driver 

Jackson, who had just been extricated from the engine, his over extremities scolded and fearfully charred and one of his legs 

extensively lacerated, especially near the ankle. Mr. Murrell, who, as above stated, had galloped to the spot on receiving the 

sad intelligence, was busily engaged in temporarily dressing the poor fellow’s wounds. This done, the sufferer was lifted into a 

fly, and accompanied by Mr. Webly, a trustworthy and efficient officer of the Railway Company, was carefully conveyed to 

Brighton Hospital.


Ill news travel with proverbial rapidity. The intelligence of the accident soon spread far and near and within an hour after its 

occurrence, hundreds of persons had arrive at the scene of the catastrophe. Mr. Laing, Chairman of the Railway Company, 

Mr. Hood, Mr. Craven, Mr. Balchin and other officers of the Company were soon on the spot, and directions were at once 

given to clear the line, and render free for traffic. A large body of workmen arrived from Brighton with machinery for raising 

the engine and extracting the body of Fireman Chase. With the due appliances, this was ere long effected, when the shockingly 

mutilated remains of the poor fellow were placed in a fly and conveyed to the Black Horse, Lewes where had also been 

deposited the bodies of the other sufferers, to await an inquest. It is a singular fact that the father of George Chase lost his life 

about year or more ago by a railway accident, being run down by a train while engaged on the line at the Croydon Station. 

His mother is employed at the ladies’ waiting room at Brighton Station, and is respected by all who know her. Her melancholy 

bereavements entitle her to universal sympathy.

On the first examination of the clothes of the young man who was killed, the marks on the linen led to the impression that his 

name was Lawrence, and a statement to that effect found its way into the papers. Closer inspection however proved that his 

name was A. Langhorne. It seems that he was staying in Brighton for change of air and Mrs. MacKay, the person whom he 

was lodging, he finding did not return at night, became alarmed, and came over to Lewes by the first train on Saturday 

morning. On arrival, her fears were verified and the deceased was at once identified as her lodger.

It is but due to the Directors of the Brighton Company to state that no kind of effort was omitted to afford facilities and 

assistance to the relatives of the unfortunate persons who perished. Every consideration was paid to their wishes and the 

promptest steps taken to every them into immediate execution.

The wooden sleeper which threw this train off the rails, was one of three spare sleepers which had been placed at that part of 

the line about two months previous to the accident, for the convenience of the plate layers when they should require a new 

sleeper of the repair of the permanent way. The three had been stacked one above the other on the north side of the line, about 

5 feet from the outer rail. These sleepers are 9 feet long, 10 inches wide, and 5 inches thick; one of the three, happening to be 

a half-round balk, was placed hove the others with the rounded side uppermost. It appears that  a short time previous to the 

arrival of this train at the spot one end of the half -round balk must have been lifted up and pulled around till it rested upon 

the outside rail, while the other end was left bearing upon the other two sleepers.

The three sleepers had been seen in their proper places at 8 o’clock that morning by a plate layer who examined that part of 

the line; and a train which left Brighton at a quarter past 11, had passed the spot without finding any obstruction in the way. 

After that, to the time of the accident there were none of the servants within sight of the spot; three plate layers were at work 

about a quarter of a mile off, but were hid from view by the curve of  the chalk cutting.

On reviewing all the evidence bearing upon the subject of this inquiry, it seems evident that the immediate cause of the 

disaster was circumstance of a sleeper being left resting upon one of the rails; and that the act of placing the sleeper in that 

position cannot be attributed to any of the Company’s servants. It is evident, also, that the company’s servants cannot, by any 

practicable exercise of vigilance, prevent persons mischievously disposed and watching for an opportunity, from getting 

unseen upon the line; but it is equally clear, that that undue facilities for mischief are afforded to such trespassers by the 

practice of leaving sleepers in secluded spots in such close proximity to the rails; and independent of this, there is a strong 

probability, that had the traffic on the Lewes branch been conducted with a proper regard to public safety, the wanton act of 

placing a sleeper on the rail would not have been followed by the fatal consequences which actually ensued. It is quite clear 

that the train, when it met with the obstruction, was running at a speed which was imprudent at that spot; and it is equally 

clear, that the circumstance of the engine running tender foremost had a most important influence on the result.

The practice of running engines with the tender foremost is the most objectionable. When the engine is in that position, it is 

impossible for the driver, without neglecting his other duties, to keep a proper look out upon the road in front; and when the 

engine attains svn a moderate speed, the fine dust blowing off from the coke renders this necessary duty extremely difficult of 

performance. Engines, also, are specially constructed to run in one position namely, with the chimney end in front, and the 

weight is so distributed on the wheels as to ensure the utmost attainable degree of steadiness while running in that position. In 

the engine which drew this train, the weight upon what should have been the leading wheels was more than double that on the 

trailing wheels, and that arrangement, from being an additional security, became a positive source of danger when the engine 

came to run at high speed with the lightly weighted wheel in front. In addition to this, it is to be remembered that  the engine, 

when running in its proper position, affords, by its great weight as compared with the tender, a much greater security against 

the train being thrown off the line; besides which, it is nearly certain, that had the engine in this instance been in front, the 

iron guard which precedes the leading wheels would have swept the end of the sleeper off the rail, and thus rendered the 

mischievous act of placing it there perfectly innocuous.

It appears that for some time past it has been the practice upon the L.B.S.C.R., to run all the short trains, whether on the main 

line or on the branches, without turning the engines; and that, therefore,either on the out or on the return journey, the engines 

must travel tender foremost. In the present instance there were turn table-table both at Brighton and at Lewes, and there was 

therefore no necessity for having recourse to such a dangerous practice. The principal reason alleged by the Secretary and the 

Locomotive Superintendent to justify the providing was the desire to save time, and thus conduct the short-train traffic with 

fewer engines. The Chairman, however of the L.B.&S.C.R., in the evidence given by him before the coroner at the inquest held 

at Lewes on the 14th, endeavour to support the practice of running engines with the tender foremost on other ground. I 

append a certified copy of the Chairman’s evidence, which the coroner has been good enough to send to me. It will be seen 

that Mr. Laing stated, that he was Chairman of the Board of Directors  of the L.B.&S.C.R. company, and that he was 

previously Secretary of the Railway Department of the Board of Trade for several years; that it was then his duty to receive 

reports from the different railway companies as to accidents occurring on their lines, and to classify them, and report them to 

Parliament every Session; that it has all along been a very general custom to run short trains tender foremost; that millions of 

miles have been run tender foremost, and that he does not recollect any case of accident arising from that circumstance. In 

giving this evidence, the recollection of the Chairman of the L.B.&S.C.R. must have failed him as regards his experience when 

Secretary of the Railway Department of the Boards of Trade. On that subject I beg to call the attention of the Commissioners 

of the Report of the officers of the Railway Department of the year 1841, when Mr. Laing was Secretary. It will be seen that in 

that year a circular bearing Mr. Laing’s signature was sent to all the railway companies, and that the repipes to that circular 

called forth the following remark in the Annual Report:

“Another result which appears from the returns in the Appendix is, that the practice of running tender foremost is universally 

pronounced to be dangerous, and that a very general opinion is pronounced against propelling trains by an engine from 

behind when it can be avoided. These opinions are entirely conformable to the recommendations frequently made by the 

Inspector -general in his reports, and urged by this department, and it is believed that the practice of running tender foremost 

with passenger trains is almost entirely discontinued, and that the practice of propelling passenger trains from behind is 

rarely resorted to.”  

Among other letters also referring to this subject, which will be found in the Appendix to the same Report, I beg to quote one 

at length, inasmuch as it was specially addressed to the L.B.&S.C.R. Company

“Letter sent to the L.B.&S.C.R. Company, with a copy of a Memorandum from Sir F. Smith, relative to the working of the 

Shoreham Branch.”

Board of Trade, 21 August 1841


I am direct, &c. to subjoin a copy of a memorandum which has been addressed to their Lordships by Lieut-Colonel Sir F. 

Smith, relative to the working of the Shoreham Branch of the L.B.&S.C.R., and to request that you will call the attention of the 

Directors to the propriety of adopting the recommendation therein contained, which appears to their Lordships very important 

to the public safety.

It appears that in consequence of there being no turn-table for the engine at Shoreham terminus, it is the practice to the trains 

from Shoreham to Brighton with the tender foremost.

The accident which occurred from this cause on the 3rd June last on the Sheffield and Rotherham Railway, and which was 

attended with such fatal consequences, has sufficiently proved, if any proof were necessary, the danger of this practice. It 

therefore seems expedient that the Lords of the Council should recommend to the Directors of the Brighton Railway to 

discontinue it.

I am, &C. S. Laing  

The Secretary of the London & Brighton Railway Company

To this letter a reply was sent by the Secretary of the London and Brighton Railway Company, stating that the letter had been 

laid before the Directors, and that he the Secretary, was instructed to say, that the recommendation to discontinue the practice 

of running the tender foremost on the Shore Branch should meet with immediate attention.

I would recommend that this dangerous practice be finally discontinued upon the L.B.&S.C.R., and that the Directors allow no 

mistaken view of economy to lead them again to expose the public to such unnecessary risk. I would also recommend that 

steps be taken to compel the engine drivers upon the Lewes Branch to comply with the Company’s regulations as to the speed 

of their trains in descending the Falmer incline, and particularly that they should use great caution in passing through the 

curved chalk cutting. I would further suggest that the practice of leaving sleepers and other materials in close proximity to the 

rails at places where the Company’s servants cannot keep watch over them, should at once be discontinued.

I have, &c.

R.M. Laffan, Captain R.E.

In Re Accident on Lewes and Brighton Railway

Copy Evidence given by Mr. Laing

Samuel Laing,upon his oath saith, - I am Chairman of the Board of Directors of the L.B.&S.C.R. Company: I have been so 

nearly three years; I was previously Secretary to the Railway Department of the Board of Trade for several years; it was then 

my duty to receive reports from the different railway companies as to accidents occurring on them, and to classify them and 

report them to Parliament every Session. It has all along been a very general custom to run short trains tender foremost; I 

could mention a number of instances; the Greenwich Company, The South Eastern Company, The North Kent, The Eastern 

Counties The South Western, The Liverpool & Manchester, and Manchester and Leeds. I should think it would be difficult to 

find any line on which some of the trains did not run tender foremost; it is generally confined to short distance; it is more 

expensive than running engines foremost, there being a greater consumption to coke. I know instances where trains run 

tenders foremost down very steep inclines; the tender is generally separate from the engine, which is couple to the latter. It has 

certainly never occurred to me that there was any great danger in running tender foremost’ I have known many instances of 

obstructions, such as horses and pieces of wood; millions of miles have been run tender foremost, and I do not recollect any 

case of accident arising from that circumstance. In consequence of a representation made about a year an a half ago by Mr. 

Godlee to the station master at Brighton, of he excessive speed between Lewes and Brighton, instruction were given to the 

engine drivers to regulate the speed. If there had been a guard first in front of the train, it might have given a chance of 

escaping the late accident, though perhaps a remote one. In the case of a heavy body like a sleeper, the guard would have 

probably stuck into it, and have been either broken or bent, or have lifted up the engine, in which case the wheels would have 

gone over the sleeper. The blow given might be partly horizontally and partly perpendicularly; the opinion of practical men is, 

that guards are not of much use; they were first used to remove stones and things of that kind. The only difficulty in having a 

lock up for the sleepers is, that the men ought not to have to go far when a sleeper is discovered to be rotten to supply its 

place. We have three tank engines now artwork on the line; they are construction to run either way, or at any rate they have 

guards at each end. I travelled over the line on the day of, and before the accident, by the 11.15 train. I rode on the engine; the 

line was in excellent order; we passed the wagon train on that day somewhere between Falmer and the scene of the accident; 

I observed three men working on the line, nearer Falmer than the scene of the accident; I do not consider that there is any 

great danger in travelling in a carriage next the engine. I tried an experiment on the line with Captain Laffan, the Government 

Inspector, on Monday last; we started the train from the Falmer station, kept the steam on until the engine had attained a 

moderate rate of speed, and then shut off the steam and let the train run down the incline to Lewes without any brake, to 

ascertain what speed it would attain by the action of gravity down the incline. The speed at the place where the accident 

happened, as timed by Captain Laffan and myself, was between 27 and 28 miles an hour. There were three carriages attached 

to the train, congaing about 20 persons. The speed when we started from Falmer, and the steam was shut off, was about 20 

miles an hour; we start from Brighton the same as in any other train; the experiment was conduct under the direction of 

Captain Laffan; the engine was of an average size; the whole rate of speed from Falmer to Lewes was about 32 miles an hour; 

I have often seen the train pass on the Lewes line whilst walking on that line; I have never witnessed by improper speed.

Signed S. Laing.         

A local youth noted at the scene before the accident was accused of placing across the rails, but, although he was probably 

guilty, the Company was unable to prove so in court and he was acquitted. If Driver Jackson had followed the rule book, the 

train would have been travelling at only 30 to 35 m.p.h., but instead of shutting off steam on leaving Falmer station he left the 

regulator open and allowed the speed to build up unchecked until hitting the sleeper.

Kevin Gordon collection

View of the Newmarket Bridge

The Coroner’s inquest

Adapted from a report in the Sussex Advertiser 

There can exist no doubt as to the cause of the accident. That a sleeper was the origin of the disaster is self-evident; how it 

came there is another question. It was at first supposed that it had been left there by the negligence of some of the workmen on 

the line, or placed there by some malicious person. The former opinion was however very much removed by the evidence add 

need: while later impression must give way when the probabilities of the case are examined. In the first place, the spot where 

the sleeper was laid is on a high embankment running very near the road, so as to be seen by all passers-by and within one 

hundred yards of a cottage commanding a clear view of it; in the next, the time when it must have been placed there (the 11.15 

a.m. down train having passed over the line in safety) was broad noon day; and lastly there were workmen on the line within a 

few hundred yards. 

Suspicion points very strongly to a little boy aged 10, named Jimmy Boakes the son of  Henry and Hannah Boakes, a labourer, 

living at the cottage beside the railway line. An immediate rumour was that Jimmy had been playing see-saw with the sleeper 

shortly before the accident, but nobody seemed to have seen him doing so. Moreover, it strained belief that so small a boy 

could have lifted a 9ft sleeper weighing a hundredweight and got it into such a position that it could derail a train.

It seems that the Jimmy was absent from home about an hour previous to the accident; that on returning his mother wanted to 

send him to Ashcomb, on an errand but he declined to go till this train had passed; evincing great anxiety to see it. On the 

occurrence of the accident, the child ran into the cottage exclaimed “Oh mother the train has fell over, what shall we do?” 

appearing very much frightened. It will be seen by the proceedings at the inquest, that it was decided not to exam this child on 

account of his youth, and apparent ignorance of the value of an oath.

The L.B.&.S.C.R. offered a £50 reward for information leading to discovery of the culprit. William Acton, the railway 

Superintendent of Police, quickly got at the boy in the back room of the “Dolphin” public house and tried to induce him to 

make admissions. His approach was threatening and he angered the parents. Later, the boy was questioned Detective Sargent 

Langley of the Metropolitan Police. Mr. Coroner F.H. Gell opened the at the County Hall, Lewes. There was obvious anxiety 

to find a railway fault. Questions were asked about tender first running, and the lack of guard irons on tenders, but the main 

point was still the question of how the sleeper came to be where it was the Guard of the derailed train Guard Erle,said that 

before the accident he had sometimes seen children playing see-saw beside the track. Ganger Chatfield, in charge of plate 

layers nearby said he had seen nobody else on the track that morning, he had put three sleepers there two months before. The 

inquest was adjourned.

Before it reopened the damaged carriages were broken up on the spot. The engine had its driving wheels am motion removed, 

was got upright, and recovered by a spur built down the side of the embankment. The jury was annoyed, considering that vital 

evidence had been removed. On resumption of the inquest, Hannah Boakes was called. She said that at noon on the day of the 

accident. Jimmy had been in the front of the cottage, the garden and potato patch of which sloped up to the railway. He had 

been there at 11.30 playing with his small brother. She wanted him to go on an errand, but he said he first wanted to see the 

short train go down. He had seen a new engine up that morning, and wanted to see if it came back. Her examination was long 

and sterile.

Henry Boakes, the father, said he had refused to let the boy answer Mr. Acton unless a magistrate were there or County Police 

Superintendent were there. Detective Segenat Langley questioned the boy in front of Mr. Beard, Boakes’s employer. Boakes 

agreed to this, and said: “Mr. Langley asked if he had put the sleeper on the line, and the boy said, ‘No!’” Mr. Acton said: “ 

you told me down at the ‘Dolphin’ that you saw the sleeper on the rails, and the boy said,’No, I didn’t. I said I saw them by the 

rails.’” Boakes’s imitation of Mr. Acton’s approach was described as “ a sound between an Indian yell and the snap of a 

bulldog, which caused much laughter.” Jimmy Boakes was put in the box. The Coroner spoke kindly to him before cautioning 

him. He said he had been spoken to by the parson and knew he would go to hell if he did not tell the truth. Although the boy 

was frightened, and contradicted himself about whether he wanted to see a new engine or just any engine go by, nobody 

succeeded in getting incrimination evidence from him or from his parents. Their neighbour, a Mrs. Weeks, said she was 

overlooking the line all the morning and saw Jimmy in the garden at eleven and twelve o’clock. She knew it was twelve 

because her little girl said that the stage-coach had just passed, and that she saw “a great black smoke” (probably coke and 

dust) and heard “a great crush.” She never saw anybody on the line.

The court now devoted itself to the enormity of high speed, tender first running, and the lack of guard irons in rear. 

Locomotive Foreman Broadbridge of Brighton said the irons was carrying snow-brooms. He could not say whether the irons 

were put there for carrying brooms, were tied on because the irons were conveniently there. The company was now building 

tank engines with irons at both ends. There was one at Eastbourne. Asked why the Eastbourne engine had them, he said: 

“Because it’s Mr. Craven’s plan, and he choose to make them so.”

Mr. Samuel Laing, Chairman of the L.B.&S.C.R., and Mr. John Chester Craven, Locomotive Superintendent, both gave 

evidence on the triviality of obstructions to tender first running. Mr. Craven remakes that a train certainly looked better with 

the engine going forwards: the people liked to see it so. A juror acidly suggested that one supposed passengers would like to 

think their train was safe. Mr. Craven said of guard irons: “ I would as lief be without guards as with them. The little 

Eastbourne tank engine could go sixty, and steady as a top.” He was supported by James Fenton, of Low Moor Ironworks, 

previously of E.B. Wilson & Company, builders of many engines of the L.B.&S.C.R.

Mr. Burwood Godlee, a regular passenger, said that he had timed a maximum speed of 60 m.p.h. between Falmer and 

Brighton. He had complained of this excessive speed. Mr. William Evershed said he had known a train run from Lewes to 

Brighton in eleven minutes when it was behind time (about 43 m.p.h.).

Summing up, Mr. Coroner Gell mildly criticised Detective Sergeant Langley for frightening the boy, though he did not mention 

Mr. Acton. After retiring for 70 minutes, the jury found the train had gone down Falmer bank at excessive speed. By what 

means the sleeper came to be on the track did not appear to them. They considered tender first running dangerous.

Jimmy Boakes was struck by lightning and killed the following year


*It is thought that Driver Jackson was the driver who worked the first passenger train outo f Brighton on the 11th May, 1840 

and that he was also involved in fatal derailment at Copyhold Cutting on the 2nd October 1841

Driver Jackson had previously been employed as an engine driver since the early part of 1837, by the London & Birmingham 

company. After being discharged from this company in c1838, driver Jackson later found employment with the L.B.S.C.R. 

According to the 1851 Census (see below), records a Sam Jackson who was married with two children, but this census is 

unclear of his age and stating that he is either 23 or 28. There is also a record of a George Chase, a Fireman, who lived No. 4 

Terminus Road, Brighton. information from Neal Cowdrey.




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