IGNITING THE FLAME OF UNITY

THE HISTORY OF THE

 BRIGHTON BRANCH OF A.S.L.E.F.

  

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 DISTRICT ORGANISER’S REPORTS FROM W. WARWICK

adapted to involved his work on the London & Brighton lines

W. Warwicks was one of four district organisers who between them covered England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales, W. Warwick’s area covered many different private railway companies which covered London, the South of England, Eastern counties, the Midlands & parts of the G.W.R. from Leicester/Wellingborough/Peterborough/King’s Lynn/Portsmouth/Reading to name some of his far reaching locations.

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JANUARY 1911

PAGE 17 & 18


Events that took place from mid November 1910

As I mentioned in my last report, I went to the Faversham meeting, which was very thinly attended, after which I went to Ramsgate and Margate, as the report from the branch secretary, in the December Journal, will show. I also visited Ipswich, by instructions from Mr. Fox, to make inquiries into and report on a case affecting one of the oldest members of that branch. As far as I know the case is still subjudice and, therefore, any remarks from me must stand over. I also visited our Battersea Branch and saw the secretary on an important matter affecting the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway men, and the following day attended a delegate" meeting in the afternoon, at New Cross, and in the evening a meeting belonging to our Westminster Branch. The delegate meeting at New Cross should have consisted of the old delegation mentioned in my last report, but the A.S.R.S. members of that body were conspicuous by their absence on this occasion, although they had been summoned by the corresponding secretary. The tactics throughout this business, by those who have endeavoured to make it a society question rather than the uplifting of the men, have practically nullified the efforts put forth to improve the position, and ought to be a lesson to ail locomotive-men on the folly of being in a society which has to resort to such methods to keep the few locomotive-men they have.

At our Westminster Branch meeting, a matter was brought forward on which I was requested to interview the branch secretary, who was unable to be present, he being on night duty. I may mention that several of our branches hold weekly meetings so as to enable the men on day and night duty to attend alternately, and I would recommend this method to the consideration of other branches, so as to give all members an opportunity to attend, and would again call attention to the fact that in accordance with the carrying out of this suggestion there, I find these branches doing the best [from a point of view of membership and the maintenance of the best conditions of service. I called on our Westminster secretary twice during that week, and also on our Plaistow Branch secretary, re an important matter in connection with that branch.

The following Sunday (20th Nov. 1910) was my day off ; in the meantime I had arranged for open meeting at Maidstone and left for that place so as to have a day or two among the men there. Accompanied by pilots, I visited nearly every locomotive-man’s house prior to the Sunday, when considering the weather and other matters, we had a fairly good meeting. I have not yet heard the full result, but have reason to believe the branch has benefitted thereby. I fond that here, as in other places on the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway, and in fact on practically all the companies to-day, the question of promotion largely agitates the minds of the younger men. We used to be told by officials, &c, that firemen and others were to all intents and purposes serving an apprenticeship and could not expect high wages during that time; but what of the position to-day when, according to all appearances, this apprenticeship will continue for the whole term of their natural lives of a large number of our men ? It is time something was done to ensure that these men should have at least a living wage ; the only thing I can see is for the locomotive-men to organize in their own Society, which would enable us to go forward and secure a higher rate of pay in order to compensate for the extremely slow rate of promotion.

I returned home on the Monday (28th Nov. 1910) and found instructions awaiting me from the General Office to attend a Board of Trade, inquiry, at Battersea Park Station, on the following morning (Tue 29th Nov). I attended to this and had scarcely reached home in the evening were I received a post card from our Battersea secretary asking me to attend a further Board of Trade inquiry at the locomotive shed on the following day. I was also able to attend this and on arriving home again found a wire from our Brighton secretary, informing me a fatal accident had occurred at the locomotive shed there, which required my attention. Needless to say I lost no time in getting on the road again for the last mentioned place. 

The inquiry at Battersea Park Station On December 3rd I left again for the was with regard to a fatal accident to one open meeting at Basingstoke, arranged of the men employed on the fixing of for the 4th, where we had a very nice pillars, &c, for the electrification of the railway. The evidence went 10 prove that no blame was attached to anyone but the poor fellow himself, who, after being stoke, to take the place of one of the warned of the approach of the train, older men, who has had to undergo a walked away from the others with his serious operation. I am pleased to say back to the train, the engine of which I found this centre practically all right struck him in the side, causing injuries from an organization point of view, that which proved fatal.

The inquiry (Wed 30th Nov) in the locomotive shed was to ascertain the cause of the fatal accident to a man who was working with the joiners employed repairing the shed ; it seemed he had gone for a piece of timber and on returning, attempted to pass between wagons which stood a few feet apart, and while doing so they were closed up, pinning him between the buffers. Here, again, this act of indiscretion cost the poor fellow his life, but in neither case were our men to blame.

The sad case at Brighton differed somewhat, inasmuch as an aged driver was the victim. It appears C. Ford, driver, on arriving at the shed, went at once to see the duty sheet to ascertain his working for the next day, this being necessary in order that he may turn his engine, or otherwise, before booking off; on returning he by some means was knocked down and run over by an engine being shunted for proper stabling. It was dark at the time and no one actually saw the occurrence, and the only intimation the driver of the engine had was the hearing of a groan ; he stopped at once, only to find poor Ford had been rolled up under the engine and his legs run over, injuries to which he succumbed on the way to the hospital.

I attended the inquest next day, December (Sat.) 1st, when the verdict was “ accidental death,” no one in any way being to blame. One sad feature about the case was he had done some 40 years in the service and had only a few months longer to work before being entitled to superannuation.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

FEBRUARY 1911

PAGE 75

On December 17th I again attended at St. Pancras Vestry, and in the meantime had arranged for, and attended, an open meeting at Brighton. We had a nice little company present, and perhaps the secretary will tell us, in the Journal, whether it has borne fruit or not. Whatever the result may be, I want to tell the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men, there is plenty of room for improvement. Our meeting was affected in numbers by the fact that members of a deputation were giving a report elsewhere of an interview with the “powers that be” re electrification. This very fact spells weakness, and until the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men can rise to the occasion by joining their own Society, and move as one body for improved conditions of service, the much-desired and deserved improvement is not likely to come their way ; a hint is as good as a nod, so I hope the Brighton men understand, and will act accordingly.

On December 17th, the adjourned inquest was called for 10.0 a.m., and the court sat until 4.0 p.m., with a short interval for lunch, and then again adjourned until Monday, the 19th.

On Sunday, the 18th, I attended a combined branch and open meeting at Reading, and I should like to say here that I am not much in favour of these combined meetings. I am afraid the fact that the branch business is being transacted tends to keep the " nons " away, notwithstanding that the two matters are kept quite separate and distinct. I don't know whether the branch officials look upon it altogether from an economical point of view, but in my opinion it is like a good deal more of the economy practised on railways, and can be summed up in the one word false. I say this because I find the tendency is growing, having attended several such meetings of late, and have never yet known a successful open meeting following the transaction of the business of the branch. As to Reading, to me it was an interesting meeting inasmuch as, in addition to addressing the meeting, I had the honour and pleasure of presenting the Executive Council medal to a brother who had succeeded in proposing 27 new members during 1910. I am sorry the men I like to speak to, viz., the "nons," were absent, and notwithstanding the fact that 27 had been proposed during the year, I learned there are still some left even at Reading. At the same time, I want to make it clear that this refers chiefly to South Eastern and Chatham Railway locomotive men, whom I hope will shortly wake up to a sense of the necessity of throwing in their lot with their fellow footplate workers, remembering that even they have something to be thankful for that the Associated Society was in existence prior to 1907 ; I trust the meeting has had the desired effect.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MARCH 1911

PAGE 118


I afterwards returned home and gave the necessary time to the correspondence, &c, awaiting me, and on the 6th (Jan) left for Eastbourne,for an open meeting on the 8th.

On Saturday morning, the 7th (Jan 1911), I received a message from Mr. Fox, and one from our Battersea Branch secretary, asking me to attend an inquest being held that day, at Hastings, touching the death of Robert Crouch, a South-Eastern and Chatham Railway fireman, who had met with a fatal accident, in the locomotive shed at Hastings, on the Thursday (5th) previous. I at once left for that place and was able to make myself acquainted with practically all the facts before the arrival of our Battersea members concerned in the matter. Crouch and his driver were, on^ the day in question, engaged in what is known on the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway as making shed, and while the driver was attending to the gland packing, &c, the fireman was engaged at the washing out ; their engine stood among the others in the shed, with a short space between their tender buffers and the next engine. Our Battersea member had occasion to go on the shed, and also to get over the pit; in doing so, when stopping, the wheels picked up, causing them to slightly touch the engine in front, and when the driver came out of the pit at the leading end, a few minutes later, he found the poor fellow in a kneeling position, quite dead, opposite the opening between the buffers. No one actually saw what happened, but it is assumed, on the medical statement as to his injuries, that he must have been coming out between the buffers when the engine was slightly moved, as stated above. The inquest lasted nearly two hours, all the evidence being thoroughly sifted, and in the end the jury returned a verdict of “ death by misadventure," and exonerated the members from all blame.

I am sorry to relate there is even a sadder side to it, which is, that although Crouch's own mate and the rest concerned were members of our Society, he himself had not seen the necessity of joining any society, and as a result he left a widow and six little children to the mercy of the world, without any provision for carrying out the last rites and ceremonies in such cases. I have learned since a subscription is on foot to raise the needful for the above-mentioned rites. Much more could be said, but I trust the above will be sufficient to cause those outside the protecting wing of their Society to pause and ask themselves a few questions as a result of which they will quickly make the acquaintance of the branch secretary for their particular district.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

APRIL 1911

PAGE 166

On January 25th I attended the Board of Trade inquiry, at Hastings, conducted by Mr. Armytage, when much the same evidence was forthcoming as at the inquest. I presume the whole affair is looked upon as a pure accident, as up to that date our members had not heard anything from the "powers that be." Of course it is difficult to imagine how it could be otherwise dealt with, but I mention this because it is so rare that the locomotive-man can escape, as he is tied up at every corner by rules, special notices, &c., and while we all sincerely regret these sad occurrences, yet I venture to hope this will have its due effect on those who are outside and cause them to take shelter inside their own Society.

On Monday 6th Feb, I I got a letter from our Purley Branch secretary, asking me to represent him at an inquest on the following day, as they had unfortunately knocked down and killed a man engaged on the work of electrification near to Clapham Junction. I went to the Battersea Mortuary and got all particulars and attended accordingly the next day (Tues 7th). In this case the poor fellow, whilst walking along the line in connection with his duties, appeared to have got 'mystified, by fog and steam hanging about and stood still in the four-foot until he was run down, our men being unable to see him until they were within a few yards of the place where he stood. The usual verdict of " accidental death " was passed, with no blame to the driver. The coroner, during his remarks, gave it as his opinion that " out-of-works," over forty, ought not to be employed on a railway, as they could not at that age adapt themselves to the work.

On the following Friday (10th ) I attended a meeting of London, Brighton and South Coast Railway delegates, at the Thomas a Becket, Old Kent Road, for the purpose of considering the question of the forth coming election to conciliation boards. Brother Stevenson attended, representing the Executive Council, and the position was thoroughly gone into and the necessary arrangements made. 

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 1911

PAGE 217

On the Monday 6th March I had the honour of presiding at the annual dinner of our Nine Elms and Battersea Branches. Mr. Tippets, our London solicitor, and Mr. Fox, both being unable to accept the position, Mr. Tippets owing to illness and Mr. Fox owing to pressure of business. The affair - was all that could be desired.

The following day (Tuesday 7th March) I attended a Board of Trade inquiry at Clapham Junction as to the cause of a fatal accident to a contractor's labourer. Mr. Armytage was the inspecting officer, and when we visited the spot found something to think about when we saw the condition of the bridges where the ppor fellow met his death. At the time of the accident it was some what foggy and steam was coming up through the bridge from a line below. He was among a gang of over 20 which was crossing and another train was passing at the time on the next road, so it was a question of getting off the bridge at either end or getting off on the only side available, and this was covered with point-rods, wires, &c, and not planked over between the girders, so that a man stood a chance of falling through on to the line below ; under the circumstances it is no wonder the poor fellow hesitated until it was too late. To say the least, there are a good many death-traps about our railways yet.

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JUNE 1911

PAGE 270

On the following Saturday (15th April) I met, by request, the nominees for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Conciliation Board, at the club-room of our Bricklayers’ Arms Branch, where important business in connection with the above was transacted and where I received instructions which caused me to put in a 12 hours day on the Monday. 

On the Monday (17th) I attended the morning meeting of our New Cross Branch, at which some important business was dealt with and the branch secretary nominated as one of four for the above-mentioned Conciliation Board (Northern District). This was a kind of bye-nomination, as one of those previously nominated found he would be unable to give the time and attention necessary during the election. From New Cross I journeyed to London Bridge and then on to Portsmouth for further important business, which I was able to accomplish with very satisfactory results. I also called upon our secretary there with a view to arranging an open meeting, but have not yet been able to manage the same owing to so many matters forcing themselves to the front for settlement

The following day (Tuesday 18th ) I attended an inquest at Battersea, the result of a poor fellow being run down and killed notwithstanding the fact that he was well-accustomed to the place and work. He failed to get out of the way, although the driver saw him and whistled for some distance before knocking him down. The jury thought it strange that inasmuch as the driver saw the man he did not stop and thus save his life; no doubt this seems feasible and reasonable to the outsider such as most of these juries are composed of, but the practical man knows what would happen if a driver of an express, such as this was, attempted to stop every time he saw a man in front of him, especially at a place like Clapham Junction. However, in the end the verdict was "accidental death," no blame being attached to anyone.

On the Friday (21st April) I attended an open meeting at our Battersea Branch clubroom, which was held for the purpose of nominating candidates for the South-Eastern & Chatham Railway Conciliation Board, and which in the end nominated two of our members.

The following Sunday (23rd) I was at Redhill, where we had a nice meeting as a send-off to the new club-room, our branch having moved its quarters from a hotel to a coffee tavern.

On returning from Shoeburyness I attended a Board of Trade inquiry at  Battersea Park, where a contractor's man had been fatally injured while working on the electrification. Several were working together and had been duly warned by the look-out man of the approaching train ; all stood clear, but by some means, as the train was passing, the deceased stepped back and was caught by the step of the engine, causing injuries from which he died in hospital a few days afterwards. A seemed to have been a case of momentary forgetfulness and no blame was attached to anyone.

The following Wednesday (3rd May) found me at Newhaven, a small locomotive centre on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, about the only one on the Brighton line where we have not got a branch of our Society. I got to work and made the necessary preparations by way of hall and bills for open meeting on the Sunday (7th May), but on the Friday (12th May) was called away to attend a Board of Trade inquiry at New Cross. In this case a wagon examiner had been killed whilst engaged in his duties, but after going thoroughly into the matter it was agreed that our member was in no way to blame.

I returned to Newhaven, and at the meeting a few of our members from Brighton and Eastbourne attended, together with Brother Harrison, of Battersea, who presided, but the Newhaven men made a poor show in turning up. However, it was very interesting and those who did attend went away wiser with regard to the position and doings of our Society, and thus, I hope, the first step was taken towards establishing a branch of our Society at Newhaven.

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JULY 1911

PAGE 330


On returning from Shoeburyness I attended a Board of Trade inquiry at  Battersea Park, where a contractor's man had been fatally injured while working on the electrification. Several were working together and had been duly warned by the look-out man of the approaching train ; all stood clear, but by some means, as the train was passing, the deceased stepped back and was caught by the step of the engine, causing injuries from which he died in hospital a few days afterwards. A seemed to have been a case of momentary forgetfulness and no blame was attached to anyone.

The following Wednesday (3rd May) found me at Newhaven, a small locomotive centre on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, about the only one on the Brighton line where we have not got a branch of our Society. I got to work and made the necessary preparations by way of hall and bills for open meeting on the Sunday (7th May), but on the Friday (12th May) was called away to attend a Board of Trade inquiry at New Cross. In this case a wagon examiner had been killed whilst engaged in his duties, but after going thoroughly into the matter it was agreed that our member was in no way to blame.

I returned to Newhaven, and at the meeting a few of our members from Brighton and Eastbourne attended, together with Brother Harrison, of Battersea, who presided, but the Newhaven men made a poor show in turning up. However, it was very interesting and those who did attend went away wiser with regard to the position and doings of our Society, and thus, I hope, the first step was taken towards establishing a branch of our Society at Newhaven.

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

AUGUST 1911

PAGE 374

During the following week I went to Portsmouth, preparatory to an open meeting, which was held there on Sunday, June 11th. Portsmouth has been at a stands all for some time and it was thought with a change of secretary and branch meeting place, an improvement might be effected, so an open meeting was called as a send-off, and I am pleased to say it did not prove disappointing. Brother Harrison, of Battersea, took the chair, and the attendance was good for the size of the place. After I had addressed the meeting, an interesting discussion took place re conciliation boards, terms of service, &c. Brother Harrison explained the position of the Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men up to date. The London and South-Western Railway men's position was also explained the concessions as a result of latest movement, and then, on the call for new members, five came forward and paid their entrance fee. These were all London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men, while I don't think there were any "nons" present belonging to the London and South-Western Railway, as these men are very well organized. There is every hope, now that a start has been made with the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, that Portsmouth will soon rank with the best as far as percentages of membership are concerned.

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

SEPTEMBER 1911

PAGE 432

On returning from the open meeting at Yarmouth I visited our Westminster Branch and made inquiries re their internal affairs. I also visited West Croydon Branch, and at both places the questions at issue are, so to speak, sub judice and must be passed over in this report, except that I may go so far as to say an enemy has been at work in our Westminster Branch, who, I am sorry to say, has led several of the members astray for the time being. It remains to be  seen yet what the real outcome will be, as it is a case where only time can reveal the true state of affairs.

I attend an open meeting at Battersea on Monday (17th June) morning. This meeting was called to deal with the new eyesight test lately introduced both by the London, Brighton, and South Coast and the South-East and Chatham Railways, the men belonging to the latter being most in evidence, for the simple reason, I take it, that the test had been brought into operation mostly on that line and several of the men had been taken from the footplate. It is ever so with the locomotive-man; he persuades himself that everything is as right as right can be, until he sees his comrades tailing around him ; then, and only then, does he wake up to a sense of his position and begin to move. Several cases were brought to my notice where men had been taken off, who, for all practical purposes, were as good as they were ten years ago, but because they failed at the faddist test they had been reduced and degraded. Some had obtained doctors' certificates to the effect that their sight was good, and these were being considered by the powers that be. At present it is difficult to see what the result will be, but from what I could see and hear, it will depend to a great extent upon how many the companies find they can dispose of without running themselves short of men to carry on the work. It was whispered that the men were going down in batches, and for the reason above mentioned the companies were beginning to stay their hand. But what a reflection on the intelligence of our footplate men not to be prepared to deal with matters of this description. If organized in their own Society (as it ought to be considered a duty and privilege to be) they would have to be consulted before such obnoxious things were introduced or made a condition of service, instead of which they are simply made battledore and shuttlecocks of between the companies and Board of Trade. When the slaughter commences, there is usually a little stir ; the officials are waited on and they at once assume a serious countenance and say how sorry they are, but it's the Board of Trade ; an interview is then arranged with that body, which tells us its members must be satisfied that the men in charge of our locomotives have proper eyesight, but, at the same time, it has not suggested any particular test to the companies; and so, men who have spent a lifetime to attain to their position and are rendering untold service both to employers and public, are practically being fooled ; nay, worse, for their only means of livelihood is being taken away with impunity; and the irony of it all is, the very men who are being thus dealt with are standing idly by and trusting to blind chance, instead of getting inside their organization which could and would help them. And so we are driven to the conclusion the fault is not all with the companies, or the Board of Trade, but with ourselves, who refuse to make use of the only means whereby we can save ourselves.

I also attended a second meeting on the Tuesday (18th June) evening, at which Mr. Stevenson, E.C. member, was present. At both these meetings the working idea was trotted out by our A.S.R.S. friends, and on the Monday, owing to the indifference of our own members, they were able to carry their resolution, which got rescinded on the Tuesday evening owing to the reverse in the attendance, another lesson, if such was needed, of the folly of the present divided condition.

On the Wednesday (19th June) I got a wire from our Battersea Branch secretary informing me an inquest was being held in which one of our members. Was concerned, but was unable to give time or place. I at once "visited St. George’s Hospital to ascertain same, and found it was to be held on the following day, Friday (21st), at the Westminster Coroner's Court. I attended on our member's behalf, who unfortunately had knocked down a man, causing fatal injuries. It was proved conclusively that the fault rested with the poor fellow himself, and although the coroner made very close inquiries as to rules, Sec, he could only recommend the jury to return a verdict of " accidental death." 

On the Monday (24th) I visited West Croydon, re branch affairs and general internal working, in order to report to Mr. Fox.

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

NOVEMBER 1911

PAGE 474


When I returned from the inquiry I found a telegram awaiting me to the effect that a member of our Brighton Branch had met with a serious accident at London Bridge and was lying at Guy's Hospital. I at once made my way over and found on inquiries he was doing fairly well and likely to recover.

On the Monday (4th Sept) morning I again visited Guy’s Hospital re our Brighton member, after which I attended the Commission

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

DECEMBER 1911

PAGE 567


The following Sunday (17 Sept) I attended and addressed an open meeting at Horsham at which a few of our members from Portsmouth and Brighton were present. I see our secretary has reported to the Journal, so there is no need for me to take up space.

On arriving home I was called to Eastbourne to attend an inquest on behalf of one of our members of that branch. From the evidence it appeared a goods guard had attempted to reach the platform as the train was running in, with the result that he was knocked down, receiving fatal injuries. The jury returned a verdict of "accidental death."

 

LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

FEBRUARY 1912

PAGE 67

On the Wednesday (6th December) I received a wire from our Redhill Branch secretary asking me to attend an inquest at the Coroner's Court, New Cross Road. I found a plate layer had been run over and fatally injured, the poor fellow having fallen in front of the engine when attempting to get clear after being warned by the look-out man. There was also a verdict of  accidental death “ in this case. The following Sunday 17th I attended and addressed our Redhill Branch meeting, 

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MARCH 1912

PAGE 67

I commenced the year by visiting our Battersea Branch secretary (who, I am sorry to say, has had a very severe illness), for the purpose of making inquiries re a serious accident which happened to one of our members of that branch. On December (Friday)15th he received a severe electric shock whilst travelling on a steam engine under a portion of the electrified London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, although I am pleased to say our member is now convalescent. I understand no Board of Trade inquiry is being held.

On the 13th (Jan) I paid another visit to Battersea re the before-mentioned case where our member had received the electric shock.

The following day (Thursday 18th ) I attended a Board of Trade inquiry, at New Cross, South- Eastern and Chatham Railway, in which a member of our Redhill Branch was concerned. In this case a platelayer had been killed. I attended the inquest at the time and reported the circumstances in a former Journal. At this inquiry our member was also acquitted of any blame, while it showed it was another case of platelayers taking unnecessary risk, which so often comes under the notice of footplatemen.

The following day (Thursday 25th) I visited Peckham, with a view to opening a branch of our society among the motor-men on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. 

On the Sunday (28th ) journeyed to Shoeburyness, for the purpose of addressing an open meeting there. This was a kind of revival meeting, and I am pleased to say it has had the desired effect. I returned on the Monday (29th ) and on Tuesday again visited Peckham, for the purpose of declaring the branch open as mentioned above. I have no doubt this branch will soon embrace the majority of the motor-men, as they have a lot of leeway to make up in their conditions of service, and the only way they can do it is by organizing in our Society and thus joining hands with other electric motor-men.

Already, as electric motor-men, they are doing singly what it took two men to do under steam, and for less than half the amount that was paid the engineman and fireman whom they have superseded. This kind of thing is growing, for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway is contemplating further extensions, while at the last half-yearly meeting, the chairman of the London and South-Western Railway directors told the shareholders he hoped in the near future to be able to announce that their suburban lines were electrified. This means displacing a large number of enginemen and firemen, as the motor-men take away the position which rightly belongs to the locomotive-men.

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

APRIL 1912

PAGE 171

Meetings held during mid-late February

closed my last report with some remarks re the opening of Peckham Branch for motormen, and I now wish to say that this branch is already justifying its existence, and if the motormen will only band themselves together in this, their own union, there is every hope that they may in the near future level themselves up to what is paid to their fellow motormen in the London Tubes. I am pleased to learn that many of the latter realize, that if something is not done in the near future they will have to come down to the Brighton motormens conditions, which are, to say the least, far below what they ought to be. I find there is a ready response by the London Tube motormen to assist their fellows on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and not only so, but we have it on the best authority that the London and South-Eastern Railway Company is about to electrify its local service, and the footplate - men on that railway will be well advised to be up and doing in regard to this matter, not forgetting that to be forewarned is to be forearmed. The London, Brighton and South Coast locomotive-men were to some extent caught napping when the company opened its electric portion, and that, with the two societies question, so weakened the men's standing, that after a short skirmish with the general manager for the right of the locomotive-men to fill these positions, and the question of  reasonable wages for the responsibility the work entailed, they had to retire without gaining anything,  consequently there has been dissatisfaction ever since.

The following Wednesday I again visited Peckham on branch matters. 

The following week I visited Brighton re the ridiculous position of the locomotive-men on that companys line who are in a deadlock on the Conciliation Board. I have been attending to this matter on a few occasions since, and at the time of writing have got as far as issuing petition forms for a re-election under certain clauses in the new Conciliation Agreement as a result of the Royal Commission, and it only remains to be seen what steps the men will take to free themselves from the position as mentioned above. In my next I hope to be able to report progress.

 

   LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 1912

PAGE 212

I am sorry this report must of necessity be shorter than usual as the fiend influenza has had me in its grip, and has not yet quite release its hold. I am sorry I cannot go as far as I should like re the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway locomotive-men and their dead-lock on the conciliation board; however, progress is the order 01 the day, as it has been decided to have a re-election, and it remains to be seen what the men will do now they have their hands free from other grades, and will be able to decide the matter as locomotive-men. Several attempts have been made to draw the red! herring, of working together, across the path, but at present the position is four and four. If the men will be true to themselves and their society in there-election it ought to be six to two at least. If it should be so, the dead-lock will be removed, but what difference that will make to working together I cannot understand, unless, it is to be a  question of society rather than the uplifting of the men. Surely we have, as an intelligent body of men, got a stage further than; that. However, it remains to be seen what will be the result, as the re-election has not yet taken place, only a conference or two held for the purpose of preparing a suitable programme for presentation, when the opportune time arrives.

On the Saturday (2nd Mar) and Sunday (3rd Mar) I attended two meetings at Brighton, 

On the Sunday (March 10th) I attended an open meeting at Horsham which was very successful from an attendance point of view, and I hope will prove beneficial all round.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JULY 1912

PAGE 212 

Meetings held during April.

I also visited our Battersea Branch secretary in connection with matters affecting the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men, more especially as applicable to their re-election of a new conciliation board.

The following day I visited our Peckham Branch on practically the same business, with just this difference, that our Peckham Branch consists of motor-men, whom the company is endeavouring to muddle up in a board consisting of all grades concerned in the working of the electrified portion of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. These motor-men contend that their place is with the footplate-men and are seeking to be grouped with them for purposes of conciliation board business, and I think footplate-men throughout the country will say they are right and be prepared to uphold them as far as possible in the matter. However, the general manager seems to think otherwise, and to us, as practical men, the reason is not far to seek. If I judge the motor-men aright, they are determined to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to be allowed to join hands with their natural allies—the footplate-men ; it will, possibly, be a question for the Board of Trade to decide, and in the meantime it should be impressed upon that department, as clearly and forcibly as possible, that motor-men, for the purpose of dealing with conditions of service, are to all intents and purposes in the same position as the men on our locomotives, and to attempt to muddle them up with other grades will prove about as easy a task as mixing oil with water. Most of us know that if you place these ingredients together and stir briskly, they appear to mix, but the moment you leave off stirring you are convinced the labour has been all in vain. General managers and other officials may think that when they have issued certain instructions and notices they have succeeded in jumbling up motor-men, or footplate-men, with other grades, but a greater mistake was never made, because directly hours and wages and conditions of service come to be dealt with our men rise to the top and demand to be dealt with separate and distinct. It cannot be too clearly pointed out to the Board of Trade and all concerned, that if they wish the unrest in the railway world to cease, this is one of the things they must accede to, viz., that motor-men and footplate-men are one and that they must be allowed to deal with all matters affecting them from a sectional standpoint.

And now let me say—in case some of our friends may read something into this which is not there, or in the mind of the writer—that the above does not make the slightest difference as far as any agreement which may hereafter be come to in regard to federation ; in fact that is why we refused to go further than federation, simply because we intend to keep the management of our own affairs in our own hands.

The following day (6th May) I visited Battersea, to make inquiries re one of our members who had unfortunately got into the hands of the police. Our secretary, together with our old esteemed friend Bliss, had done all that could be done on his behalf, and the case was adjourned for a week.

I attended the police court, together with Mr. Tippetts, our solicitor, and the abovementioned, but I am sorry to say there was no defence other than the man's previous good character, which did not, in my opinion, count for much with his worship. In my opinion the above could have been dealt with under the First Offenders' Act, because I feel sure the disgrace of the police court proceedings, together with the loss of his situation, would have been sufficient punishment, instead of which it was " two months' hard."

The next day (May 7th) I visited our Peckham Branch again, in connection with matters mentioned above, but am sorry I cannot report much progress, because the " powers that be " seem to have made up their minds that motor-men shall be kept separate and distinct from the footplatemen.

On the 24th I attended two meetings of our West Brompton Branch, at which the men were discussing their position re the conciliation board, the manager having suggested two boards for the whole of the employees, which means the motor-men being tacked on to four other grades, and thus placing them in the position of the old central board—which the Royal Commission decided must go. These are District Railway men, and what I have said re the Brighton motor-men above, applies in this case, but we must "wait and see" what the result of the men's application for a sectional board will be.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

AUGUST 1912

PAGE 358 

I concluded my last report with some reference to the position of the motormen on the District and London, Brighton and South Coast Railways, re their position under the new conciliation scheme. In both instances the motormen mentioned above were to be jumbled up with some of the other grades. I am pleased to be able to report now that the District men have been able to extricate themselves, and after an appeal to the manager and a vote of the men it has been decided the motormen shall have a sectional board by and through which they can deal with their hours and wages and conditions of service. With the London, Brighton and South Coast motormen I am sorry to say it is otherwise, the general manager having so far refused to listen to their appeal to be grouped with the footplate-men, with the result that the motormen have appeared before the officials in an application for improved conditions of service, muddled up with passenger guards, signalmen, goods guards, goods shunters, parcels checkers, ticket collectors, &c. I understand each grade laid their case before the officials, when the usual stereotyped reply was given, viz., how much the company had already given in improving the conditions of certain sections, and what the conditions then asked for by the various grades would cost, also the extra cost of coal, cost of Insurance Bill extra cost of material on account of high price of coal, &c, &c.; and then the deputation was told they would receive the decision in due course.

Now the position is as follows: If the decision of the " powers that be " is not satisfactory, and the matter goes to conciliation, the motormen are in the position of not having a representative on that board, and consequently will have to leave their interests to be looked after by some of the grades mentioned above; and while we are prepared to give the passenger guard, signalman, ticket collector, &c, credit for being wishful to assist the motormen, yet we must realize that, being unable to enter into the worries and responsibilities peculiar to that grade, it is practically impossible for them to represent the same: hence, as mentioned in last Journal, if the officials of the Board of Trade are anxious that the unrest should cease, one of their first duties is to allow the motormen to be grouped with their own class, the footplate-men.

Sunday 16 June I left for Newhaven, with a view to opening a branch of our Society there. This is rather a small depot on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, but quite large enough to maintain a branch. I did the needful by way of visiting, bills, &c, and on the Sunday a few friends from Brighton with Brother Marshall, from Eastbourne, came over to lend a hand, with the result that a branch was opened and arrangements made for  the future.

My next move was to New Cross, re our men refusing to " blackleg" by working trains of that class to the docks. The question of sympathetic strikes is a large and serious one for us as a body seeing that nothing can occur anywhere in connection with the trade and commerce of the country without our men being affected.

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

SEPTEMBER 1912

PAGE 409

As intimated in my last report, a branch of our Society was opened at Newhaven on July 16th, but owing to not having books, &c, it was necessary for me to pay another visit in order to instruct our new secretary, and to assist in finding a suitable club room, &c. I attended to this on the 25th, and am pleased to state I had but little difficulty in carrying out the above mentioned duties.

I returned home on the Monday (1st July), and, during the week, visited our  Peckham and Westminster Branches on important business. Peckham Branch is making a heroic attempt to improve the lot of the motor-men on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, which is far below that of any other motor-men in or around London ; but they have an uphill battle, owing largely to the fact that the company can recruit and train men from the lower-paid grades—these men being willing to devote the time necessary to learn a motor-man's duties free of charge. The irony of the whole thing is that our men have to instruct these men, who seem to think that when they have stepped into the position of a motor-man, with all its worries and responsibilities, at the magnificent salary of 33/- per week, they will have found an “ El Dorado." However, it is not finished yet, and it remains to be seen where all the cheeseparing will ultimately land those concerned. One thing is certain, it is not doing anything to calm the unrest so much developed, not only by the capitalist, but by the Government itself. These people must know that it is worse than useless to simply go on deploring the unrest, whilst they know they are doing their utmost to compel men to work year in and year out for less than a living wage; even where a few sops have been doled out by the various companies, such as threepence per day to firemen, and a shilling or so per week to cleaners when they reach man’s estate. If anyone is so ignorant, or innocent, as to think such meagre things are going to calm the unrest they will undoubtedly, in the near future, receive a rude awakening. But to return to the report.

After returning from March I attended a delegate meeting of London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men at Brighton, called for the purpose of  drafting a programme. Our National Programme was taken as a basis, and after it was drawn up the secretary was instructed as to its presentation. Up to the time of writing this has not been carried out, so consequently it remains to be seen how the locomotive-men will succeed on that company. Should the deputation fail, the new conciliation board, now in course of election, will be ready to take the matter in hand.

On returning home I was called to Peckham, one of our members having had the misfortune to slightly collide with the stops at London Bridge whilst in charge of an electric train. I took the matter in hand and gave the necessary advice, reporting to General Office, so that we may be prepared for any developments in the case. There has been a few already but as the case is somewhat sub judice I will refrain from dealing further with it in this report, but may have something to say in my next.

 

   LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

OCTOBER 1912

PAGE 459

After returning from Lowestoft, as per my last notes, I was called to attend a Board of Trade inquiry at Brighton. In this case a foreman shunter, while walking up the yard in front of an engine and empty coaches, of which he was in charge, got so close to the rail that the engine pushed him down, causing slight injury. Our members were not held responsible or in any way to blame.

From Ipswich I travelled to Brighton, to attend a delegate meeting at which final arrangements were made for presenting their Programme, and by the time this appears I expect something will be known as to whether the delegates will be able to settle or whether the Conciliation Board will be called in to deal with the matter. A re-election of the above has lately taken place, and the position has been improved from a deadlock of four from each Society to six A.S.L.E. & F. and two A.S.R.S. The Brighton locomotive-men have hitherto held a favourable position with regard to conditions of service, but have of late been left somewhat behind by other companies’ men, who have already made use of the new machinery set up for the purpose of dealing with hours and wages and conditions of service. However, the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway men have now again put their hand to the plough and do not intend to look back until they have fetched up the leeway.


LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

NOVEMBER 1912

PAGE 503

The day after the inquest I attended at New Cross to meet the newly-elected London, Brighton and South Coast Locomotive Conciliation Board, for the purpose of electing its officers.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JANUARY 1913

PAGE 13

On the Monday after the New Cross 'meeting, which I mentioned at the close of last month's notes, I went along with Brothers Wride, Healy, and Stevenson, of our Executive Committee to the Board of Trade for the purpose of once more discussing that all-important question to footplate-men, viz., the eyesight test. This interview had been arranged, or at least promised, by the Board of Trade when our representatives had been at a conference there, the officials pointing out that a committee was then inquiring  into this matter as it affected seamen. I find, from the report, that the terms of reference were as follow :" To inquire what degree of colour-blindness or defective form of vision in persons holding responsible positions at sea causes them to, be incompetent to discharge their duties; and to advise whether any, and, if so, what alterations are desirable in the Board of Trade’s sight tests at present in force for persons serving or intending to serve in the merchant service or in fishing vessels, or in the way in which these tests are applied.” I find this committee was appointed on June 22nd, 1910, and reported on May 28th, 1912, so that the most fastidious will not be able to say that the matter was at all rushed. A sub-committee met twelve times, and the whole committee met twenty times in one year and eleven months. The result is a report of thirty eight pages, including what is termed a reservation by Sir Norman Hill, which amounts, I take it, to a minority report. Sir Norman agrees with the tests recommended for colour vision, but thinks those recommended for form vision are too exacting, and he pleads for the continuance of the present tests for form vision, and that the candidate be allowed to use both eyes at the same time for that test. He goes on to state that the navigating officer keeps his watch using both eyes. This is just what we have argued for years, viz., that our men do not look for signals with one eye, but with both, and have them fairly wide open at that. Almost everybody knows the great difference there is in looking at an object with one eye and looking at it with both eyes. In the one instance the object may scarcely be discerned, while with both eyes it can be seen quite clearly; and so we say it is wrong to take a man's position and living away because he cannot see as much with one eye as he can with two. What I would like to impress upon the footplate-men of the country is the fact that it is useless for any deputation to argue from that or any other stand point, either before the Board of Trade or the railway company. They, simply meet us with some scientific argument, and the result is that we get no nearer the goal we have in view, namely, the abolition of the faddist tests and the substitution of a practical one. What is wanted is that the footplate-men of the country should rise as one, and tell these people that, while they are prepared to undergo a fair test, the fads by which numbers of our men are deprived of their means of livelihood must go. When they do that they will get some modified and uniform tests, but not till then. I pointed out at the commencement that this report dealt with seamen, but past experience teaches us that ultimately these things filter through to railwaymen, hence the request for the Board of Trade to meet a deputation. When the question was put as to its intention in these matters, the reply was that it did not intend to take any action as far as railwaymen were concerned, further than to lay the report before the railway companies. That rounds all right, but some of us have had some experience, and know how the companies treat such matters, especially when it gives them a whip they can use against the men, and which costs them nothing. They use it then to cover up some of the omissions to carry out the Board of Trade suggestions which would cost something in the shape of £ s. d. This is a very interesting and important subject, and I could more than fill the space allotted, but I must leave it for the time being, with the promise that, if permitted, I shall return to it again. Before doing so, however, let me say that as a deputation we got no nearer to a solution of the vexed question, the Board of Trade still maintaining that it is not responsible for the various tests, only for a test, leaving it to the companies to select and use what test they like. It was pointed out by the deputation that most of the companies had a different test and were frequently introducing new fads, but the reply to that was that if the Board of Trade interfered it would probably not improve matters as far as the men were concerned, but later, said it might suggest to the companies a uniform test. So what is wanted is that footplate-men should at once begin to prepare to have a hand in the formation of that test, and see to it that it is a practical and reasonable one.

The following morning, Sunday 1st December,1912, I was a stir be times in order to leave for Newhaven, where an open meeting was called in the afternoon to hear reports from two delegates, who, with others, had waited on the directors of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. The concessions granted compare favourably with what have been granted by other companies, but the question is : what have we to compare with ? On the strength of the promise by the Government after August, 1911, that they would be allowed to recoup themselves from the pockets of the public for concessions granted, the railway companies have doled out a few meagre improvements, amounting in some instances to one shilling per week, or two pence per day—just on a par with what any shopkeeper would think of offering his errand boy—an insult to a body of men like the footplate and motormen of this country. Then each railway company has been very careful not to out-do the others in these extravagant concessions, or do anything which could in any way be construed into a precedent, at the same time taking care to so jumble up conditions, wages, &c, that no two companies' men are receiving anything like the same remuneration for the same services performed. Of course, the astute official knows this gives him a fine trump card up his sleeve, so to speak, and while the men are content to approach them as .particular companies they can always ring the changes on that card by asking the very innocent question: "What other company's men are there that are better paid than you are ? " But to come back to the Newhaven meeting. I took the chair, and the delegates gave their report, which, as before said, was satisfactory by comparison. But there was one or two present who soon made it clear by their questions that with them it was not a question of whether the new conditions were satisfactory or not; they were present to show their disapproval of the manner in which they had been obtained, viz., by and through members of the Associated Society. Needless to say, these were the men who had pinned their faith to an all-grade society. As chairman, I did not attempt to stifle discussion, but allowed all the latitude possible, using both argument and diplomacy to try and get at the why and wherefore. But I found these men at Newhaven were not a bit more intelligent on these matters than others I have met; and so I failed to get anything more from them than the fact that they couldn't leave the shed unless the signalman turned the points, and they couldn't shunt the train unless there was a shunter present. I have been wondering ever since what that had to do with the concessions and the way they were obtained. However, I am pleased to say there are only one or two at Newhaven whose education has been neglected, and I hope the little branch I have opened there will soon bring them up-to-date.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MARCH 1913

PAGE 116

The following day I attended the annual dinner of our Battersea Branch. Our old and esteemed friend, Brother J. Bliss, occupied the chair, and a few friends from other branches were present. After dinner the evening was spent in harmony and the usual speeches. The chairman moved the toast of the evening : " The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen," and your humble replied. Brother Stevenson, E.C. member for the district, had promised to be present, but on that date had been summoned, with the rest of the Executive Committee, to the north, to deal with the famous Driver Knox case. The next evening I attended our Battersea Branch meeting with the same object in view, while several matters of interest were discussed and dealt with. This brought us up to within a day of two of Christmas, which was the quietest, from a Society standpoint, that it has been my lot to experience. 

 


 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

APRIL 1913

PAGE 62

The next day I was called to Brighton to attend an inquest on one of our cleaner members who had met with a fatal accident in the  locomotive shed at that place In this case no one saw exactly how it occurred, but it was conjectured that he had attempted to do a good turn in assisting to couple up a tender, and had got pinched The verdict was  accidental death A distressing feature of the case was the fact that our brother was to some extent the support of his mother, while a redeeming feature was the fact that he was a  member of our Society, and the matter for compensation for the mother was at once placed in the hands of a solicitor, who is carrying it through on her behalf.

On returning home I visited our Battersea Branch secretary, and afterwards journeyed to Crystal Palace Station in connection with a mishap which occurred there on the previous Sunday, and in which a member of our Battersea Branch was concerned.

The same day I should have been at Brighton, attending a delegate meeting, but owing to the above was unable to full fill that engagement. The next day I visited Battersea on important business.

The following day I attended at London Bridge with the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway delegation, which was seeking an interview with the general manager re an important matter affecting the whole of the firemen on that line ; the whole matter turned out very satisfactorily, an interview being granted to your humble as well as the delegation In the end, an order which had been issued increasing the work and responsibility of the firemen was withdrawn The same evening I attended an open meeting at Battersea, at which reports were given and an address by myself. The next day I attended a Board of Trade inquiry at Wimbledon, and also a delegate meeting at Brighton

The next day I attended a Board of Trade inquiry held by Colonel Von Donop, at Crystal Palace Station, re the matter mentioned above, as affecting a member of our Battersea Branch, but I realize my space is more than full for this month, which has been one of the busiest, and so further comment must stand over for our next.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

MAY 1913

PAGE 218

Immediately following the Board of Trade inquiry at the Crystal Palace Station, our member concerned was discharged by the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway, but the matter was at once taken in hand by petition for his reinstatement.

On the Saturday I received a wire asking me to attend an inquest at West Worthing, near Brighton. On arriving at that place I found it was being held at Goring-on-Sea, a station further on; however, I managed to get there, and found it to be a case where a member of our Brighton Branch had, unfortunately, run over a young man at an occupation crossing ; it was a somewhat mysterious case, and after going throughly into the evidence produced the jury returned a verdict of suicide. 

The following day I attended a Board of Trade inquiry at Brighton re a fatal accident to one of our cleaner members mentioned in my last report; Mr. Main conducted the same, and although he could attach no blame to the men concerned, he was not quite satisfied that the instructions for shed shunting had been properly carried out. Here let me again call the attention of our members to the fact that these instructions are, or should be posted in every shed, and are very explicit; also that the Board of Trade is very particular as to the carding out of same, and therefore our men would be well advised to carry them out to the letter, regardless of the time taken, as it is to these instructions the officials and the Board of Trade Inspectors refer when anything occurs. 

The next day I attended a delegate meeting at Brighton re the electrification and other business. The following day I was occupied at the desk, while the next day I attended at Battersea re important Society matters. On the Saturday I again visited Battersea, and on Sunday visited Brighton with a view to attending the branch meeting, where some important business was transacted. During the week I attended at London Bridge to assist the locomotive delegation of the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway.

I returned home on the Monday, and the same evening attended and presided at the annual dinner of our New Cross Branch. Brother Stevenson, E.C. member for the district, also attended. We had a good time mingling business with pleasure, and I think the result will be the further cementing of the good feeling among locomotive-men at that depot. 

During the same week I visited London Bridge and New Cross for the purpose of making inquiries re an accident at the locomotive shed at Brighton.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JUNE 1913

PAGE 263

I am pleased to say that the accident which happened at the locomotive shed at Brighton, and which I mentioned at the close of my report last month, did not terminate fatally, as was at first reported, and so far I have not been called upon to take any further action in the matter. 




 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

JULY 1913

PAGE 316

I left Kentish Town for Eastbourne, to attend an inquest the same day. In this case an employee of the Corporation had been knocked down and. Fatally injured during shunting operations on a siding belonging to the above; the wagons were being propelled into the siding; our member was on the alert and had used his whistle. When this was made known in evidence, the issue turned on the question as to whether the shunter was in front. After a long controversy on this point between the representatives of the company and the Corporation, the jury, without retiring, "brought in a verdict of " accidental death " and exonerated the company's servants from blame, with a rider that the Corporation should notify their servants not to be on or about this siding when shunting operations were going on.

On the Monday I was at Brighton re the position on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway 

The following day I attended a Board of Trade inquiry at New Cross. In this case a gas-fitter, working for the company, had been knocked down and fatally injured, but again our members were free from blame and the whole question turned on the matter of the look-out man. There was one employed, but in his evidence he said he was protecting some bricklayers who were at work at a bridge close by, and so it remained a matter for the Board of Trade and those responsible for the gas-fitters to clear up. The fact remains a life had been sacrificed which possibly might have been saved if there had been someone to give the necessary warning when trains were approaching.

My next move was to meet a subcommittee of London. Brighton and South Coast Railway delegates, and then to Littlehampton for an open meeting on the Sunday. This is a small locomotive centre, but has sufficient to support a branch, and I hope in the near future to be able to open one there. My experience is that all the small centres on the various companies are coming into line and getting a branch of their own instead of being attached to the branches at the larger centres. This is as it should be, because it puts every centre, no matter how small, in direct communication with the General Office, and not only secures them information at first-hand, but so links the whole of the locomotive-men up that all can be in touch with General Office and each other at the shortest possible notice, and so does away with the weak links in the chain which should bind all together. There is no doubt a good deal of truth in.that saying, viz. : that any chain is only as strong as its weakest link. These small centres have been weak links, but I hope in the near future these weak links, will be removed and new ones forged in their stead, in the shape of a branch of our. Organization, wherever there is the requisite number of men to carry on the same. I am pleased to say this is nearly an accomplished fact in my district, as I have had the pleasure of opening no less than six such branches this year. 

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

AUGUST 1913

PAGE 370

On the Friday I travelled to Three Bridges, another small locomotive centre on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, where we had a few members attached to our Tunbridge Wells Branch The object of my visit was to prepare for an open meeting on the Sunday, with a view to opening a branch Brother Harrison, of Battersea, Brother Worcester, of Horsham, and a few friends from Brighton, attended, and we had a good meeting , Brother Smith, of Brighton, was in the chair Brother Harrison explained the whole matter relating to the business done by the delegation on the electric and other matters I then talked to them on general matters relating to locomotive-men in particular, and at the close we were able to declare the branch open and elect the necessary officers for the time being, with a stipulation that I should visit them when the books arrived, so as to explain matters to the new secretary

The following Saturday I should have left for Peterborough, but our Brighton secretary wired me " Hold yourself in readiness to attend inquest " On receipt of this I decided not to leave until Sunday, and before leaving I received a further wire to the effect that the inquest would be held at Streatham on the Monday at noon.

On returning to King's Cross I at once made for London Bridge, in order to reach Streatham in time to attend the inquest mentioned above. In this case a painter's labourer engaged in painting a bridge left his work to get a drink of tea, and in doing so lost his life, being knocked down. Our members never saw the poor fellow before the accident, and so at the inquest and the Board of Trade inquiry, which I have since attended, the question turned on the look-out man, the irony of the whole thing being that the poor fellow who was killed was supposed to be, at the time, acting as look-out man for the safety of the others. The verdict was " accidental death." My next move was to Brighton, for a Board of Trade inquiry and delegate meeting the same day. I attended theBoard of Trade inquiry first. In this case, a labourer engaged in emptying an ashpit was very severely injured, in fact it was at first reported that he was dead, but he survived. At the inquiry, our member admitted that his attention had been called to these men in the pit, but after standing there some time, he forgot the circumstance and moved his engine without ascertaining they were clear, a perfectly reasonable thing when we remember the hundred and one things an engineman has to think about these days. Mr. Main was the inspecting officer and had something to say on the matter of proper protection for these men, as it appeared, up to then, no protection had been afforded, other than looking out for themselves. The delegate meeting was held for the purpose of dealing with the latest phase of the electric question, about which there has been a lot of shuffling, twisting of words, sentences, &c, but I think the men are now on the right track to bring this much-discussed and vexed question to a satisfactory issue, and I hope to be able to report, in my next, that the locomotive-men have obtained for themselves exclusively the positions of motormen which is their just due. 

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

SEPTEMBER 1913

PAGE 413

I returned home next day, and again visited the Law Courts, but finding our case was still a little way down the list, I went on to Battersea, transacted some business there, and returned in lime to hear the argument for and against the company's liability following day I attended two open meetings at Battersea. 

The two meetings mentioned were for the purpose of fully and finally explaining the position re the electric question, before asking the men to sign a petition asking for a further interview with the directors, and at the same time giving the delegates power to see the matter through on behalf of all the locomotive men on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, I then attended a Board of Trade inquiry at Streatham Common re a fatal accident to a painter's labourer. I explained this case in my last notes after attending the inquest. Mr. Armytage was the inspecting officer and his inquiry was directed chiefly to the question of a look-out man. The foreman painter said he was acting as look-out man while on the job, and when going away he left the poor fellow who had met his death in that important position. When Mr. Armytage questioned this foreman as to his knowledge of signals it transpired he did not know the front from the back, or the " distant" from the " home "; but that is a matter for the Board of Trade and the company. Our men were in no way to blame

The following day, Sunday, I attended and addressed open meetings at Horsham and Brighton, both being fairly well attended. The meeting at Horsham was in the morning and a few of our brothers accompanied me from that place to- Brighton. In this, as in many other cases, I put in a fourteen hour day. However, as I believe some good was achieved at both places I feel compensated.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

OCTOBER 1913

PAGE 413

The inquest, Board of Trade inquiry, &c , re the Colchester disaster, mentioned at the close of my last report, covered dates from August 14tn to 23rd Between these dates I attended to business in connection with our Westminster and Battersea Branches, and also attended two open meetings at Guildford The Battersea matter was an open meeting re the electrification, which it was necessary to hold so that every locomotive-man might have an opportunity of knowing exactly how matters stood, what was being done, and how far the matter had been carried by the delegates That word electrification is getting burnt into me I have used it so often m the last few months that it’s getting quite commonplace in my reports and letters, and if I am not able to drop it to some extent soon I am afraid our readers will begin to think I've got it on the brain “ so to speak The difficulty is that probably thousands of our readers find it somewhat difficult to fully realize the absolute necessity there is for sticking to this matter just now, and the far reaching effects it is likely to have in the near future, not only on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive men, but on large numbers of the locomotive men of practically every company in the kingdom more especially on the large numbers of men stationed in and around London To begin with, there are rumours of extensions on practically all the present electric railways, then several of the trunk lines having termini in London are discussing the electrification seriously at their half-yearly meetings I find the chairman of the London and South Western Railway told the shareholders some time ago that the question of the development of the suburban traffic would be taken seriousl} in hand and he hoped at no distant date the board would be able to tell them what their policy would be in the direction of electrification. It was only a question of careful consideration so as to get the best system. Then the London and North-Western Hailway has built a new line—Broad "Street to Watford—which I understand is to be worked by electricity, and will no doubt displace numbers of locomotive-men at both the London and Watford ends. Also, the Midland Railway is bound by its agreement in taking over the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway to electrify within seven years. That does not necessarily mean that it will be sevea years before it comes about. It may come about in the next twelve months ; it’s only a question of will it pay ? Once convinced of that and there is no hesitation in scrapping men or machinery. As some one said a little while ago, “we do not hesitate to scrap machinery five years old"; but the worker in his wisdom is content to live under laws three hundred years old. Bearing in mind the above it looks as though the word  electrification is likely to be with us more in the near future than it has been in the past. When I said its use had begun to weary me of late I referred to the worry and unpleasantness which has been going on for some time in the efforts put forth by the London, Brighton and South Coast railwaymen i:o secure these positions. However, the matter has now reached a climax, and is in the hands of our Executive Committee, and I hope in my next report to be able to inform our readers that for locomotivemen this important question has been settled once for all, because if the London, Brighton and South Coast railwaymen are successful it will mean that the matter is practically settled for other companies’ men, when and wherever electrification comes about.

On Sunday was at Brighton attending what proved to be a momentous delegate  meeting of London, Brighton and South Coast railwaymen, in as much as it was there decided to hand the question of the locomotive-men’s claim to the front end of the train over to our Executive Committee, which met in London on the following Sunday, to deal with the matter. However this body was unable to deal fully with it, as those in authority on that particular railway were scattered over the known world, and could not be got together under a certain time This time was fixed, and before this appears in print a momentous question for locomotive-men will be peaceably settled in their favour.

 

 LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

NOVEMBER 1913

PAGE 511

I closed my last report with a prophecy that has not been literally fulfilled, which shows how risky it is to assume the role of the prophet. However, I believe it is all a matter of time. In writing of the electric question on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and the locomotive- men's claim to the front end, I assumed the directors, who, as then stated, were on their holidays, would have been back and dealing with the question in the six weeks which had to elapse before the issue of last Journal, but it has not turned out just that way. At the time of writing they are arranging to meet the men's deputation to again consider the question. As I have before pointed out, it is an important question not only for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway locomotive-men, but for all locomotive-men. I believe other companies' men realize" this and are looking to this settlement as a deciding factor for all.  After the delegate meeting at Brighton, mentioned in my last report.

The next day, Sunday, I attended a.meeting of our Executive Committee, held in London, re the electrification matter mentioned above.

on the Friday journeyed to Portsmouth to inquire into and get particulars of an accident to a London, Brighton and South Coast Railway fireman, a member of that branch. This was another case of insufficient time, or perhaps, rather a want of a proper place and time to do the needful by way of oiling. Our brother was underneath, carrying out this all-important duty on the level while standing in the station. It is what is known as a pull and push job and one coach is taken off in the middle of the day. The shunting engine came on for the purpose of doing this while our brother was underneath for the purpose of facilitating business. There were two shunters present, one hooking the coach while the other hooked on the engine. The one hooking on came out first, and the driver of the shunting engine says he had a signal from him to start, before the other had hooked off, with the result that the motor engine was moved sufficiently far enough to nearly squeeze the life out of our brother who was underneath. Fortunately the brake was hard on and the engine stopped in the nick of time, but not before he had been badly crushed. However, he has got over it fairly well and was at work again when I attended the Board of Trade inquiry a few days ago. Another instance of the unnecessary risks our men are called upon to take in order to save a little delay. The same advice applies here as above. The question is : When will our men act upon it and so abolish these risks ? 

 

  LOCOMOTIVE JOURNAL

DECEMBER 1913

PAGE 413

On returning from Leicester I travelled to Portsmouth for the purpose of attending a Board of Trade inquiry as to the cause of injury to a member of that branch, and reported by me in last month’s Journal The firemen on both engines were our members, but I had only to watch the interests of the injured one, as the fireman on the shunting engine was on the opposite side of his engine and knew nothing of the signal said to have been given by the shunter to the driver and so was not called. The driver asserted that the shunter gave him a signal to start after hooking on, but the shunter was quite as definite in his assertion that he did not do so, and in addition called a witness in the person of a carriage cleaner, who said he did not see any signal given, but had to admit he was some distance away at the time, the driver was a member of the N U R , but unrepresented I think the outcome will be the issue of instructions for the oiling to be done in a .safer place in the future at the discretion of the driver The pity is that such things have to happen before our men can be convinced that they are taking nnecessary risks; of course, it’s all a question of speeding up and insufficient time to do the needful, hence the absolute necessity for locomotive-men to organize in their own Society, so as to be able to act together in abolishing these risks.

On returning home I visited Hammersmith and Turnham Green re matters concerning our Westminster Branch, and also attended the branch meeting, and then left for Portsmouth for the purpose of addressing an open meeting on the Sunday. Ladies had been invited to this meeting, and right well did they respond, which went to make it one of the best ever held m that place At the close I made a presentation to one of our members who was leaving for service abroad Altogether we had a good time, and all went away highly satisfied with the result. From Portsmouth I travelled home, via London Bridge, with the hope of meeting Mr Moore, assistant secretary, who had an appointment that day with the directors and general manager of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway re the still vexed question of electrification and the claim of locomotive-men to the same Mr Moore, however, had got upstairs before I arrived, and so I had to visit him in the evening to know the result The following day I visited Peckham for a few particulars re a slight collision that had occurred at London Bridge, and the next day I spent with the London, Brighton and South Coast delegation, which was meeting the directors for their decision m the above-mentioned matter I am sorry they again refused to grant the reasonable claim of the locomotive-men to the front end of the train exclusively and so the matter still remains unsettled, awaiting the further decision of the men

 

  

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