Tony Brace 2007 - 2009

(Footplate Seniority, 03.01.2000)

& Mark Johnson 2010 - 2014

 (Footplate Seniority 01.03.1999)






Above the 10th anniversary of the Brighton Thameslink depot designed by Branch Chairman Ivan Wilson


MARCH 2008


I’M writing in response to the FCC Company Council letter in February’s Journal. In October I wrote to you concerning the 

reality of harmonisation within FCC. Although you said it would be printed in December – it wasn’t.

Instead there was an article extolling the virtues of harmonisation and a letter from a FGW rep encouraging members to vote 

for harmonisation at FGW. If you’d printed my letter it would have given FGW members something to consider when 

deciding whether to vote yes or no.

The FCC council have missed the point. The cause of the anger and mistrust is not the harmonisation deal (which we voted to 

accept) – but the fact that after ‘interpretation’ meetings with union officials the deal implemented is significantly different to 

that voted on. As a result one company council has been voted out – and others may follow.

If anyone would like to read my original letter, email me at stephen.cork3@btopenworld. com and I will forward it.

Steve Cork

F.C.C. Brighton


MARCH 2008


I WRITE in response to Tim Stedman’s letter in the February 2008 Journal regarding staff travel. I agree that if employed in

 the rail industry, rail travel should be free to all, not just train drivers – but as regards to being discriminated against for 

joining the railway after 31 March 1996, I have to strongly disagree.

I joined the railway in 1990 as a railway trainee with a wage of about £76 a week. This came with the perk of free rail travel. 

In 1998 just before DRI was agreed, a driver’s wage had risen to £222.15p a week before tax. Wages weren’t so appealing 

when the railway was in the public sector.

Unfortunately – like it or not – we now work in the private sector. When, in 2000, I chose to move to a different TOC, I lost 

10 years seniority. Does this mean I’m being discriminated against – because I chose to move to a different TOC? No! – 

because it was my choice! So if we all get free rail travel, then surely we should all keep our seniority? (Then when they close 

my depot in December I might get my 1st choice for relocation rather than my 3rd)! I’m sure if I worked for Easy Jet I 

wouldn’t get free or discounted flights with British Midland.

A. Gregg

Brighton branch





John Herriott at Brighton station on 06.12.2008

John Herriott served as a member on the Brighton Cross Country L.D.C.






Paul Overington a train driver working for Southern in Brighton, has written a moving and disturbing account of a tragic 

death at his depot. It is an emotive piece of writing and some of his conclusions may not be universally shared. However 

Paul’s honesty and commitment alone made it impossible not to print ….

On 15 October this year I experienced the saddest day of my driving career when I attended the funeral of a colleague who 

took his own life at just 34 years of age.

To say the funeral was moving doesn’t even begin to tell the story. It was heartbreaking to hear such great tributes from a 

congregation of over 600 about this highly talented athlete and loving father to a six year old girl. 

He followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and was thrilled to bits when he passed out as a driver at Brighton.

His parents even filmed him emerging from Warrior Square tunnel on his maiden trip when he was seen punching the air and 

shouting, ‘This is for you, Granddad!’

To say I am incensed at this terrible loss is an understatement. How can a young man in his prime make this awful decision? 

And how was it that nobody saw there was a problem?

What stuck in my mind were the numerous comments made about the sleep depravation that Luke had experienced ever since 

he became a Driver on Southern. I’m sure this is a familiar tale around the entire network.

Imagine how we felt when one of his sisters said, ‘I hope you can sleep now, Luke.’ Tear-jerking wasn’t the word. 

We have drivers at Brighton who need to make their way to work from far afield to book on.

This can put an extra three hours on their day. The problem is that they can’t move nearer to their home depot

because of an agreement we have that says they ‘have to be at their allotted depot for three years before applying to move to a 

depot nearer to their home’.

The answer we get from management - and ASLEF - when we challenge this unfair practise is, ‘They knew this when they 

applied for the job.’

When a driver has to revert to sleeping in the quiet room this should set alarm bells ringing and alert management that they 

ought to investigate accordingly.

Well, Southern and ASLEF, this is not acceptable to us. Instead of campaigning about free travel and other conditions like 

that, our union should start tackling the real issues that are affecting our members and their lives. Fatigue is a real and 

serious issue at a lot of depots around the country.

I am aware this is a product of privatisation. You have to agree with the ‘old school’ when they talk about ‘The good old BR 


It is very sad that Luke couldn’t talk to anyone. I would love to know how far the ‘chain of care’ was taken. Or was it just a 

case of following procedures and, therefore, meeting the obligations?

It is a sad fact that we have managers who cannot be approached and this is a huge failing on the Southern’s part when it 

appoints managers from within the driving grade.

Don’t get me wrong. I accept that some are very good at their job and genuinely show concern for their drivers. But equally I 

am afraid to say that when everything is running smoothly, there is no problem.

But when you ask for assistance, a different approach comes to the forefront.

If a driver is interviewed by an incompetent or poor manager, the result can be to put fear into the driver’s mind. Why? 

Because the conversations always go back to the questions, ‘Are you fit to drive trains?’ and ‘How long do you see yourself 

being unfit?’

I even know of a case where a driver who was certified sick by his doctor was ordered to attend a company medical two weeks 

later. Perhaps they didn’t believe him. Who knows?

Southern, please don’t insult me by saying this is not the case, because I am a local rep and have heard this on numerous 

occasions from our members. 

I have seen grown men and women with a genuine fear of losing their licence because they will not be able to meet their 

obligations to drive trains due to ill-health.

Neither is this a recent problem. I can remember in 2001 a driver was given 12 weeks notice for an alleged safety of the line 

incident. He was only reinstated after the intervention of our union and a resolution from our ASLEF branch telling South 

Central this would not be acceptable to our members.

This man was reduced to a nervous wreck all the time that he was waiting for his hearing - and, Southern, you know that 

things haven’t changed. Too often it is a case of, ‘Come and tell me your problems. If I like them you’ll be alright. If I don’t, 

I’m sure we can find you alternative work. Maybe.’

The whole chain of care structure needs to be addressed. Perhaps one way forward would be to appoint specialised managers 

to deal with problems of this nature.

In the interim, R.I.P Luke Veness, 

Brighton Driver, aged 34 years. 

Seniority date 23/10/06





The December Journal published a letter from Brighton Representative, Paul Overington.

The letter effectively covered two issues, sleep depravation and hardship moves.

Paul also wrote about the sad circumstances surrounding Luke Veness. Unfortunately, no senior representative had been made 

aware of Luke’s situation and therefore we think the criticism of A.S.L.E.F. is misplaced. We would welcome Paul contacting 

one of us, so we can understand what support and advice Paul gave Luke. Local Representatives are in regular contact with 

drivers and this is crucial in the support A.S.L.E.F. can provide. We like to believe our representatives will guide members to 

the people who can offer assistance to them for any situation they may find themselves in.

Members should feel they can contact any union representative when they may need advice and support.

Our condolences and thoughts go out to Luke’s family at this sad time.

Graham Morris (District Organiser)

Simon Weller (E.C. member) 

and the Southern Company Council.


Dave Neish

Worked the 09:33 Birmingham New Steet - Brighton 12.12.2008, on the last day of the Cross Country Service

Dave is photographed with his family, just after his arrival at Brighton station.






The CrossCountry franchise commenced a little over a year ago - on 11 November 2007. The interim period has been one of 

considerable activity for the Drivers’ Company Council as the re-franchising brought together 430 former Virgin Cross 

Country Drivers with 102 former Central Trains Drivers. The salary gap between them was over £7,000.

In the summer of 2007, as soon as the DfT announced that Arriva had been awarded the franchise, the Company Council, 

along with our full-time officer Colin Smith, made it clear to the company that we needed to begin discussions on 

harmonisation as soon as possible. At the same time we needed to ensure that acceptable arrangements were put in place to 

deal with the closure of Brighton CrossCountry Traincrew depot, something that had been determined by the DfT franchise re-


Brighton depot closed on 13 Dec last year, and all the drivers at the depot were given two options. They could either transfer 

to other CrossCountry depots with a relocation package, or opt to take an enhanced severance package. Roughly half have 

opted to remain in CrossCountry, four have opted to leave the industry, and the remaining drivers have transferred to FCC at 

Brighton. We should offer special thanks to Mick Whelan, the District 6 Officer, to the FCC Company Council, and to the 

Local Reps at Brighton FCC for their help in making those jobs available, and at the right time. We wish the former Brighton 

drivers all the best at their new depots.



Andy Gregg 

Brighton Virgin/Arriva  Depot L.D.C. representative 



APRIL 2009


Simon Weller is the union’s new National Organiser. The result of the ballot announced last month showed a clear majority 

for Simon and has secured him a five-year term of office.

General Secretary Keith Norman congratulated the new National Officer, and thanked all three candidates for a ‘dignified and 

respectful’ ballot.

Over 64% of members who voted did so for Simon. Obviously delighted at the result, he thanked all those who had supported 

him and pledged to do all he could to ensure ‘continuing improvement in our members’ conditions and increased success and 

recognition for our proud and unique union’.

Runner-up Kevin Lindsay thanked people who had supported him, congratulated Bro Weller on his election victory and 

commiserated with Bro Amour. ‘Our industry is facing many challenges in the coming years and if A.S.L.E.F. is to meet these 

challenges we must stand united. Therefore we must all support our Executive Committee and officers in the difficult 

decisions they face,’ he said.




  Left - Right: Ivan Wilson (Branch Chairman), John Waters, Ian Osborne, Dave Lace, Dave Penny, Bob Attwood, Brian Hall, 

Dave Swaffield, Mick Whelan, Barry Brown, Bart-Jones, Simon Weller, Perry Garland, Paul Heerey, 

Mick Spencer, Kathy Wilson, Keith Norman, Sarah Stinton, Chris Newton, John Osborne, Dave Neish, 

Trevor Fielding, Dave Eaton, Andy Butchers, Ralph Stobbart, & Spike Jones.


 A.S.L.E.F. Retirement Certificates 

A.S.L.E.F. Long Service Badges 




 Left Tony Brace Branch Secretary 

 & Keith Norman G.S. 







I would like to thank all branches who responded and supported me in my recent appeal for sponsorship.

I ran the London Marathon on the 26 April in 3 hours 48 mins in aid of the Martlets Hospice in Hove, East Sussex.

Thanks to your generosity I raised £5,322. This was gratefully received by the hospice and will go some way to help with the 

sterling work they do to enable the terminally ill to die with dignity.

Once again a big thank you

Mark Johnson 


F.C.C. Brighton



Rachel Johnson (nee Bowles) & Steve Brooke, just before the departure of 1M50, 1418 Brighton - B'ham New Street on 

the last day of operation. This train normally ran through to Manchester but not that day!

With the closure of the Brighton depot Rachel transferred to Bristol Arriva Cross Country





My name is Paul Fish and I am currently employed as a driver by FCC at Brighton. Prior to this I was a driver for Cross 

Country Trains, also based at Brighton (where I was also proud to perform the role of LLC rep for eight years) before being 

made redundant, and before that I was a driver and trainman at Brighton for BR and Connex SC (ah, such days!) since 

coming onto the railway in 1992. I am also a single parent with a 14-year-old daughter.

In February this year I was diagnosed as suffering from pancreatic cancer. I am 45 years old and last April I was told that 

the NHS considers my cancer to be incurable.

Since going off sick in March I have been receiving SSP – as a relatively new employee of FCC who was still on probation, 

I was not entitled to any company sick pay – but the ‘savings’ provided by my redundancy money from Cross Country meant 

that I am not entitled to any other mean-tested state benefits – which turns out to be most of them.

On the other hand, I have received a payment from the ASLEF EC’s Hardship Fund and, at the end of last week, a payment 

resulting from a nation-wide appeal to ASLEF branches for help. It is in connection with this that I write now.

I want to take this opportunity to say how genuinely and deeply moved I have been by the kindness and generosity shown by 

the membership. The money that has been donated will make a genuine difference in the weeks and months to come, 

helping to  provide (as it will) some measure of security for the loved ones that I must leave behind, and offering me the 

solace of at least some kind of peace of mind as I enter what are projected to be the last few months of my life. And it’s 

impossible to overestimate the importance of peace of mind when faced with a situation like the one I find myself in now.

I guess we’ve all been in situations in the past, sitting in a branch meeting, when an appeal has been read out and hands 

have been raised in support and then we probably don’t think too much (if at all) about what happens after that, as far as 

the individuals involved in the appeal are concerned. Let me assure you that the help you give means an enormous amount 

to the individuals concerned, and is hugely appreciated.

And perhaps it’s the least that we could and should expect from one of the last great trade unions. The fact is that ASLEF 

has been there for me and my family – and for that I cannot thank you all enough.

Keep up the good work!








WHEN Brighton train driver Zoi Kakouris became an ASLEF union learning rep (URL) seven years ago she’d already been 

an active member of the union’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) consultative committee.

“I decided to become a ULR because I’ve always liked helping people and working on the LGBT side of things meant I’d 

already been involved in a bit of education of small minded people!” she laughs.

Her own schooling had hardly been the happiest days of her life. One day while she was still in the infants she was locked in 

the teacher’s cupboard for refusing to read in front of the rest of the class. Life didn’t improve at secondary school. She was 

bullied by fellow-pupils and did so little during her CSEs that the school forced her to take the English exam twice - because 

she didn’t even put her name on the paper first time around.

‘I had no motivation, there was no one at school you could talk to, and I didn’t get a lot of support from home,’ she recalls.

The next time she had to take a test was the guard’s exam when she started working on the railways: although she failed first 

time, she didn’t give up, passing at the second attempt despite all her difficulties with studying from books. When she went on 

to take the driver’s exam, she adopted a new learning strategy: she got a good friend at work to fire questions at her until the 

answers stuck – and passed first time.


After becoming the lead ULR on Southern Railways in September 2005 (for which she got two days’ paid release to carry out 

her duties), Zoi was seconded full-time to the ‘Passport To Learning’ project between the company and the three rail unions in 

July 2007.

When she’s not in her office in Lewes, setting up courses, looking for funding or writing reports, she’s in one of the project’s 

learning centres in Brighton and Croydon (a third opened in Victoria during Adult Learners’ Week), catching up with learners 

throughout the network, meeting providers, attending steering committee meetings or even talking to government ministers. 

What’s made all the difference is training as a ULR, and following that up with Skills for Life and advice and guidance 

courses (she’s just got her IAG Level 4)

‘I think I’ve always had a lack of confidence with learning – I didn’t think I could do it - but in the last few years I’ve been 

doing all sorts of courses,” she explains.


She’s most recently passed her National Test for Adult Literacy Level 2 and completed her Certificate in English Language 

Teaching to Adults (CELTA) course which qualifies her to teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

‘It was hard going. It felt like I was on the computer all day and all night, but I thought, ‘If I’m going to do it, I want to get the 

top grade.’ I worked really hard and when I got my confirmation letter a couple of weeks ago, they’d given me an A grade, so 

I’m really pleased,’ she says.

To cap it all, Zoi won the Learning through the Unions Award (sponsored by Union learn SERTUC) at the Adult Learners’ 

Week South- East Awards in May.

‘We are extremely proud of her and the work that she does for us,’ said ASLEF Project Worker Declan MacIntyre, who 

nominated her for the award. ‘She’s a beacon of hope who has earned the respect of all who know and work with her.’

Perhaps still just as reluctant to occupy the spotlight as she was at primary school, Zoi can’t quite decide how she feels about 

the recognition.

‘It’s quite funny really: I was kind of pleased and excited but I’m one of those people who gets embarrassed if someone 

compliments me,’ she says.

And what’s the best thing about being a ULR? ‘There’s a lot of satisfaction in helping my co-workers,’ she says. ‘It really 

pleases me when people tell me they’ve passed their course, or got promotion, or are happier in themselves – that’s something 

that makes a difference, not just to them and their career but to their whole life and to their families as well.’

And she hasn’t finished with her own development, either. She’s now looking into an IT teaching qualification, and after 

recently setting up a Makaton sign language course is now thinking about that as well.

‘I just want to teach everyone everything!’ she says. ‘I didn’t have a great experience at school and there’s thousands of people 

out there who had worse than I had, but after the way I’ve developed over the past couple of years, I just want to encourage as 

many people as I can: there is something everyone can do – if you can get the motivation and a bit of courage.’

Zoi is only one of a small army of ASLEF Union Learning Rep out there who want to help members improve there working 

and home lives as well as opening up opportunities for a better working environment and prospects.

If you are interested in finding out what skill you can learn or improve on, contact one of the ASLEF Proud to Educate Project 

Workers or your local ASLEF Learning Rep.




ASLEF’s executive committee has set in motion a ballot for strike action of its 550-plus members working in First Capital 


The ballot result will be known on 9th December and industrial action could commence a week after that date.

At the root of the problem is the pay offer made by the company which consists of nothing this year, and 3% (or one percent 

over inflation if that is more) next year.

‘Last year the company was awarded the Evening Standard’s ‘award’ for the company which combined the worst service and 

the biggest profits,’ says union general secretary Keith Norman. ‘Our members want to improve the service – but they are also 

entitled to a reasonable share of any surplus they have created.’

Keith has informed First Capital Connect that ‘the company’s failure to satisfactorily resolve the 2009 Pay Review and its 

failure to resolve our concerns relating to a breakdown of industrial relations is totally unacceptable to ASLEF’, and given 

statutory notice of the union’s intention to ballot its members in First Capital Connect for strike action.




ASLEF’s executive committee called off a ASLEF’s executive committee called off planned strikes of its 550-plus members 

working on First Capital Connect (FCC) after the company made an improved pay offer equating to 5% over two years. The 

new offer will be put to members in a ballot with the results declared on 14 January. Keith Norman said he hoped that as part 

of the process the company would ‘address the causes of the current disagreement by recruiting more train drivers’.

Meanwhile drivers on Southern who were prepared to take action on 27 and 28 December and 3 January because the

company refused to recognise Monday, 28 December 2009 as a Bank Holiday have also called off proposed action as the 

company were convinced of the union’s case.



First Capital Connect

Members voted by 66 % in favour of the First Capital Connect 2009/10 Pay Offer which is a two year offer as follows:-

1.5% increase with effect from 4 April 2009,

2% increase with effect from 4 April 2010 or R.P.I. + 0.25% * whichever is greater,

1.675% increase with effect from 14 November 2010







It is with deep regret that I have to announce the passing of Brighton Driver Paul Fish losing his battle against cancer. Paul 

was 45.

Paul started his railway career as a Trainman at Brighton in 1992 before becoming a Driver working for Connex South 


When Virgin Cross Country opened a Brighton depot in 2000, Paul transferred and was elected as Local Level Rep - a 

position he held until the depot closed in 2008.

Paul then started working for First Capital Connect. He was just starting to get his road learning underway when he was 

diagnosed with his illness.

Paul leaves behind a daughter Molly, 15 and son Amos, 10. 

At a very moving and well-attended funeral on 9 October a poem was read out that he had written himself for the occasion, 

praising his two children. It demonstrated what a deeply thoughtful person Paul was.

Paul’s former colleagues Cross Country came from as far as Bristol and Bournemouth to join ASLEF officers from District 1 

to pay their respects to a dedicated, thoughtful and very brave man indeed.

Ivan Wilson 


Brighton Branch 




MARCH 2010


A TRANSPORT minister Sadiq Khan said last month that the government is considering nationalising First Capital Connect, 

the franchise tat runs the Thameslink service.

When Kelvin Hopkins challenged him to take over the firm which ‘has shown itself totally incompetent and interested only in 

making money, not providing a service’, the minister told the Luton North MP that ‘all options were on the table’.

ASLEF members exposed a massive shortage of train drivers in the company when they began to decline voluntary overtime 

working towards the end of last year. The service collapsed, leading almost 5,000 people to sign a petition on the Downing 

Street website calling for FCC to be stripped of its franchise due to a ‘gross lack of competence’.

Keith Norman said he understood the concerns, but accused the government of continuing to ignore the ‘blatant and obvious’ 

fact that the franchising system was inherently flawed. He said, ‘Rushing round trying to sort out individual companies over 

which it has no control is not going to be successful in the long-term.

‘Mr Khan told the House of Commons that the Department for Transport is having daily conversations with FCC to ensure a 

‘radical improvement’ of the service. If the Department needs to do this, it should take control of the franchise and implement 

improvements - rather than having to appeal for favours from a profit-driven private firm.’

When the Thameslink programme is completed over the coming five years, the company will need an additional 80 train 

drivers according to transport minister Chris Mole. He was responding to a Parliamentary question by Bedford MP Patrick 


The programme includes providing 92 air-conditioned Electrostar carriages, more capacity, improved stations, a train 

frequency of 2/3 minutes and additional destinations.




Thanks ASLEF, and goodbye


As I have left the railway quite unexpectedly, I’d like to say my 

goodbyes to my colleagues. I have no regrets about coming to

   the UK from the Netherlands to drive trains but it is time to 

start a new adventure – in this case, a course in restoring 

classic cars.

Thanks to everybody who made my May Days and Tolpuddles 

so enjoyable, to all the friends I made at work, to Roy Luxford 

and John Doyle for their support and especially to Kevin Eade.

I wish you all the best for the future.


Carine Visser,

ex-driver Brighton




JULY 2010

Brighton website memories

I HAVE begun work on a website showing the history of the Brighton Motive Power depots and the creation of ASLEF’s 

Brighton Branch.

It is in some ways a response to the fact that over the years much has been written about the various forms of traction that 

operated in and around Brighton – but there is very little about the footplate-men who actually worked on them.

If you visit the site I hope you will not only enjoy seeing it develop but perhaps also let us share any relevant pictures you 


The address is www.thebrightonmotivepowerdepots.yola

Paul Edwards, 

Brighton Branch


JULY 2010


Limited Edition of 300. All profits to fund branch reunions. Available for £10 including p&p 

(cheques made payable to A.S.L.E.F. Branch No. 35) 

Badge designed by Mark Johnson

Mark as since done numerous Brighton badge with the proceeds go to the annual reunions, 

Justice for Miners, British Legion & Brighton Suffragettes 



Attracting rail passengers: how not to do it

THREE stories that emerged last month prove, according to ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman, that ‘customer care’ in 

many rail companies is more of a joke than a provision. ‘When rail was privatised and franchising introduced, one excuse was 

that the private sector would be ‘much more responsive to customer needs’. That notion has now firmly been laid to rest.

Southern has decided to run an old fleet of 313s to ‘improve capacity’ along the hour-and- a-half Portsmouth to Brighton line 

– despite the fact that they do not have toilet facilites. Rail watchdog Passenger Focus understated its case when it branded the 

decision ‘a blow’ for the elderly, people with medical conditions and those travelling with children. ‘It’s not alow – it’s a 

deterrent to taking the train,’ said Keith. ‘And its sole aim is to squeeze more revenue.’

Due to be introduced in December, Southern say the new trains will have a ‘refreshed interior’ including new seats and 

flooring. ‘How long will they stay pristine if there are no loos on the train?’ demanded the ASLEF general secretary.

Meanwhile a couple had to pay a £114 fine after getting off a train two stops early! Emma Clark and Davyd Winter-Bates 

were travelling to Southampton from London with South West Trains when they decided to get off two stops early at 

Eastleigh. They were each fined £57 for failing to stay on the train!

And Cross Country has been fined by the Department of Transport for not implementing Wifi on its services. This was a 

specific commitment in their franchise and a date had been agreed, but the company failed to meet it.

‘At least it seems like some form of equality,’ Keith Norman says. ‘Rail companies are as dismissive about business 

passengers as they are about private travellers!’



Tollpuddle Rally  2010

 Left ~ Right; Simon Weller A.S.L.E.F. National Organiser (Brighton Branch), 

Graham Morris A.S.L.E.F. District No.1  Secretary (London Bridge Branch),

& Marz Colombini (Waterloo & Nine Elms Branch) A.S.L.E.F. Excutive Committee District No. 1.




Freddie Goff


It is with great sadness that I have to inform ASLEF of the passing of retired Brighton Driver Freddie Goff on 28 September 

2010 at the age of 81.

Fred entered the footplate grade at the age of 15 on 22 May 1944 at Newhaven, where he worked up through the grades 

from Cleaner to Fireman and Engineman. When he was made redundant with the closure of Newhaven Loco depot on the 9 

September 1963, Fred transferred to Brighton Loco/Mixed Traction depots. He stayed at Brighton until he retired on 10 

February 1994 after completing almost 50 years (all bar a few weeks) of dedicated railway service.

Fred spent many a night sitting in Brighton mess-room waiting to book on duty or for his first train home. This was due to 

Fred not having any means of transport so he would catch the first/last train to and from Newhaven. It didn’t take him long 

to get a card school going – known to by many as ‘Goff’s Gamble. Many of our grades became victims of his various card 


Fred took on the role of Branch Secretary of Brighton No1 Branch in 1970. It was a position he retained until he decided to 

stand down a decade later, making him the longest serving Secretary the branch has ever had.

During the mid 1980’s Fred carried out the prestige role of ‘Royal Train Driver’ for the Brighton Area. He carried it out 

with great honour and dignity working the Royal Trains between London Victoria and Tattenham Corner on Epsom Derby 

days among others.

He was the last Brighton driver to hold this position.

Fred will always be remembered as a truly great ‘footplate character’, a loyal and proud ASLEF member with a great 

sense of humour.

His one-liners put a smile on many a face regardless of the situation they were in.

Fred’s funeral was held at the Downs Crematorium in Brighton on 11 October.  brought together many of his former 

footplate colleagues, past and present, to pay their respects to a fellow driver of whom they all had great memories.

Paul Edwards

LDC Secretary








A welcome visit, a deserved badge


On behalf of the Brighton branch I’d like to thank 

everyone at Arkwright Road for making us so welcome 

when we visited the union’s head office last November.

Dave Bennett led us on an informative tour of the 

building, the EC interrupted their meeting to welcome 

us and General Secretary Keith Norman made the day 

even more special by finding time to present a 50 year 

medallion to branch member Bro John Osborne.

National Organiser Simon Weller, also a Brighton 

branch member, said, ‘John is a former local 

representative of long standing who guided Brighton 

depot through the sectorisation of the 1980s and 

privatisation of the 1990s and 2000s. He’s a 

railwayman through and through, and his legacy 

continues as his son works as a driver with First 

Capital Connect.’

Perhaps I should also mention the exceptional 

hospitality laid on at the local hostelry!

Thanks for a great day.

Mark Johnson, 

Secretary, Brighton Branch



Brighton Branch Visiting A.S.L.E.F.'s Head Office 11th November 2011


Front row Left ~ Right: Steve Chatfield, Dave Eaton, John Osborne, Carrine Visser, Paul Edwards.

Second Row Spike Jones & Ivan Wilson.

Back Row Mark Johnson & Paul Heerey



JULY 2011

A.A.D. 2011

Ivan gets to be the man with the gavel!

Ivan Wilson from Brighton was chosen by delegates at 

Swansea to chair this year’s conference – and it was, he 

says, ‘a great privilege’.

‘The two proudest days of my life have been the one 

when I got my key, having passed out as a driver: and 

the other is the first day of this conference when such 

trust was placed in me.

‘Although I’ve been our branch chair for ten years this 

was very different. I know all the drivers at Brighton, 

for one thing. But strangely, and I don’t know why, it 

wasn’t alarming. It was rewarding and enriching. It’s a 

fulfilling role. ‘Perhaps it was because I had to 

concentrate completely for a week, something I suppose

every train drivers learns to do. And I felt more 

involved in the debates, maybe because, facing them, I 

could see all the faces, reflecting how they were feeling.

‘Peter Dodgson chaired my first conference and I never 

forgot the example of his calm and precise manner.’ 

Ivan, who joined BR at Waterloo in 1984, transferred to 

Brighton six years later and became an ASLEF rep the 

year he passed as a driver.

‘I’ve always had a great interest in the union’s history,’ 

he says. ‘ Now, in a small way, I have become apart of 


Extracted from

The Loco Journal

July 2011



Left~Right: Alan Donnely (E.C. President) Ivan Wilson (Chair)

 & Keith Norman (G.S.)

 Brighton delegate Ivan Wilson chairs the 2011 A.A.D.

becoming the second ASLEF delgate from Brighton 

Branch to chair A.A.D.







 AUGUST 2011

Brighton makes history at the Railway Club 

 Back row Left - Right: John White, Maurice Hunter, Ivan Wilson, Mick Hawkins, Simon Weller, 

Paul Edwards, Marz Colombini & Spike Jones

Jackie Sanders (Littlehampton Branch), Bob Attwood & Bill MacKenzie


 The draft design of the120th anniversary badge designed 

by Mark Johnson. 

On Tuesday 17th May Brighton ASLEF Branch held its first 

Drivers reunion at the Brighton Railway Club. This reunion 

was also open to any ASLEF members connected to other 

Depots that operated in Sussex in the Central Division of 

the Southern Region.

The idea behind the Reunion came from the Brighton 

branch website “Brighton Motive Power Depots” which 

aims to record the history of members since the Branch 

opened in 1891.

An enjoyable day took place with over 150 retired and 

active Drivers in attendance. Some had travelled from as 

far away as Edinburgh and Penzance! Many retired 

members renewed friendships with members they had not 

seen since retiring as long as 20 years ago.

Marz Colombini, EC Member District No1 and National 

Organiser Simon Weller (Brighton Branch member) were 

also present. Simon Weller presented 40 year membership 

badges to Retired Drivers Bob “Jetlag” Attwood and 

Maurice “Dougal” Hunter and 50 year membership 

Medallions to retired Drivers Mick Hawkins, Bill “Spike” 

Jones, Bill Mackenzie, John “Chalky” White and Jack 


Both Mick Hawkins and Bill Mackenzie having served as L.D.C. representatives of ASLEF Brighton Branch over many years.

I would like to thank the Railway Club for providing the Buffet and for making the afternoon and evening pass all too quickly

Ivan Wilson 


Brighton Branch 




I WOULD like to thank everyone who helped and supported me in the recent General Secretary election. Whilst I’m naturally 

disappointed I’d like to give Mick my sincere congratulations and I look forward to working with him to take ASLEF forward 

on to the next chapter of our history.

My disappointment is tempered by knowing the honour I have of serving as ASLEF’s National Organiser. I will continue to 

give the commitment and energy to that role that you deserve.

Individuals come and go. ASLEF remains.

Simon Weller, 

National Organiser





Low hall, high standards

THROUGH the medium of the Journal I would like to say a few words about the RMS weekend forum at Scalby, Yorkshire 

from 11 November to 13 November. It was totally worth every minute spent there. The venue was superb, the organisation was 

great and the company was second to none.

To spend the weekend with a gang of true united trade union brothers and dedicated socialists whose purpose in life is to 

make our world a better place is not only a pleasure, but a privilege. I really look forward to being invited to attend next year. 

The speeches and debates with our EC President, an LGBT representative , the TUC

Regional Secretary for Yorkshire and Humber, Doncaster Central MP, Chief Whip for the Labour Party and EC member Tosh 

McDonald were not only interesting but also very informative.

The RMS Forum and the work of the RMS Committee is all funded in-house, so they have set up the 500 Club to help with 


Please support this worthwhile section of your union by joining the 500 Club. There are members at the age of 93 marching 

the streets campaigning and electioneering on your behalf - so please get behind them and keep them going.

Spike Jones

Retired Member




 MAY 2012


Brighton recognition for three 

leading lights 


At the Brighton Branch meeting, presentations of long 

service badges were made by our Branch Chair Steven 

Chatfield to David Eaton (10 years), Paul Horan (25 

years) and Simon Weller (now the union's National 

Organiser) also 25 years' membership.

On behalf of all our branch members, I would loke to 

congratulate them on their awards and thank them for all 

the hard work they do for the Brighton Branch.

Mark Johnson, Secretary, Brighton Branch 

 A decade of membership for Dave Eaton


 It's a change of role National Organiser Simon Weller as 

he is presented with an award - his 25 year badge

Paul Horan Receives his 25 year badge.


All presentations made by Branch Chairman Steve Chattfield 



MAY 2012

A.S.L.E.F.'s Branch Secretary Course 2012

Back Row 3rd from the Right

Sean Roberts Branch Vice Chairman






JULY 2012

ASLEF in Brighton took the opportunity of the 

May branch reunion to present a gift to former 

Branch Chair Ivan Wilson. National Organiser 

Simon Weller made the presentation in recognition of Ivan’s service to the branch and his 

long standing efforts as a LLC representative. We 

all wish him well with his move to Scotland.

Our loss is their gain.


Steve Chatfield,


Brighton Branch





 the inscription on the decanter

and below front fearuring the Branch's banner





JULY 2012

Safety Steve Qualifies!

The Branch offers its congratulations to Brighton Branch 

Chairman, and First Capital Connect Health and Safety Rep 

Steven Chatfield who has completed a year-long Health and 

Safety Level 3 qualification at Downs College at Newhaven.

Mark Johnson, Secretary,

Brighton Branch


Rob Reddan Collection

Dave Lace at the T.U.C. Rally in London, on the 20th October 2012 



The witch is dead but the spell remains

Anon. graffiti artist 2013



APRIL 2013


Brother Tony Farmer was presented with his 35-year badge by executive committee member Marz Colombini at 

the Brighton branch’s ordinary meeting on 21 February, reports branch secretary Mark Johnson



MAY 2013


Brighton Branch Meeting - 21st March 2013


Sister Zoi Kakouris received her 20-year badge last 

month from the chairman of her Brighton branch, 

Brother Steve Chatfield,

reports Mark Johnson

(Brighton branch)





JUNE 2013


Brighton Branch chairman Steve Chatfield presented Brother Paul Evans with his 20-year badge at the branch’s April meeting




JULY 2013

The third Sussex Motive Power Depots reunion was held at the railway club, Brighton, on 7 May. I would like to thank all 

those who attended for making this an enjoyable event. We are encouraged by the growing numbers of attendees, of members 

both retired and active, and a good number who returned having moved away from the area.

We were delighted to welcome the General Secretary, Mick Whelan, who presented a 50 year medallion to Bro. John Mould of 

Eastbourne branch.

Encouraged by the continued success, we have confirmed the date for the 2014 reunion as Tuesday 6 May. Put it in your 


Steve Chatfield

Branch Chair





Looking through someone else’s eyes

Back in April, Leigh Gibbins, from Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan’s, got in contact asking if I would be prepared to 

give a talk regarding the history of Brighton’s railways. He said he enjoyed visiting my website Brighton Motive Power 

Depots, a history of ASLEF in Sussex, and that the charity he worked for were doing a theme week on Planes, Trains & 

Automobiles for their residents, some of whom have totally lost their vision. (St Dunstan’s was founded in 1915, as a 

convalescent home and training centre for ex-servicemen who lost their sight on active service, and moved to Ovingdeen near 

Brighton in 1938). 

On 11 July Ivan Wilson, who had 

kindly travelled down from 

Scotland for the event, Mick 

Hawkins and I, all former L.D.C. 

reps at Brighton, went to the Blind 

Veterans’ centre to give our first 

public speech on this subject. We 

were joined by Tim Wood, whose 

book, Southern Electric Driver, 

tells of life on the last of the old 

slam door trains on Southern 

region. We started at 7pm, and 

didn’t finish until gone 10pm. The 

veterans seemed very interested 

and asked lots of questions about 

life on the footplate, the railway in 

general, our trade and our union.

Paul Edwards

Brighton Branch 


Ivan Wilson, chair of Polmadie branch, with the big screen 



11th November 2014

Chirs Newton Collection

Left - Right Tony Brace (Ass Branch Secretary), Anthony Williams, 

& Dave Devonport (Vice Chairman). 


Click on the icon to reed about the story behind the badge





National organiser SIMON WELLER joined british Rail in 1987. Here he reflects on the changes he’s seen, and some 

of the inspirational characters he’s met, in a life on the footplate as a train driver and trade union activist.

Why do some members become ASLEF activists or politically active in any form? This was a question I was asked recently 

and, in many cases, it is hard to say. But, for me, it was an accident, nothing planned, no great design; just a sense of ‘that’s 

not right.’

It also has to be said at the outset that there was a great deal of encouragement from a particular member: Dave Griffiths, 

who made it his business to ensure that the young upstarts at Aberystwyth were encouraged ‘to get involved’ and have their 

say as well as ‘have a go’ as branch officers. there was also Mick Richards, another ASLEF man through and through, who 

showed me how to handle a train. A tale in itself...


My entry into the footplate grade was nothing unusual–i was at a bit of a loss for a job after my initial choice fell apart (light 

engineering was not such a great career choice in the mid-1980s as the recession bit deep) – so I stumbled into a job as a 

traction trainee at Waterloo at the giddy pay rate of £72.40 a week. ‘this will do for a couple of months,’ I was not 

a bad job (although drivers would always say it would get better, one day) and a decision to move as a driver’s assistant from 

Waterloo to the small depot at Aberystwyth was one of my better ones. Although basing a career move on memories, as a 

child, of enjoyable family holidays in the area is possibly not the most mature approach to a career move.

It was a very unusual depot at the end of a branch line that seemed to move back in time as it progressed to the Welsh coast. 

unusual and retro to the extent that there were still steam engines on the narrow gauge line out of Aberystwyth operated by 

British Rail until 1988. their sell off precipitated the depot’s closure in 1989: perhaps the first taste of rail privatisation. there 

were some great ASLEF stalwarts at Aber amongst the establishment of ten drivers, who provided an incomparable education 

for a 19- year-old like me. the fact that Aberystwyth was a holiday destination, university campus and had a nurses’ training 

hospital also had certain appeal for a young second man about town.


But let’s fast forward nearly 28 years, leaving behind the misty-eyed nostalgia, and return to the original question. Why, when 

you’ve got the job, do some people become activists and where do they come from? For me, it was the encouragement of Dave 

Griffiths, who suggested I attend a trade union youth camp, very common things back in the day. In many ways, this event 

shaped my political outlook and trade union activism. It was a ten day youth camp for young trade unionists from around the 

world, held in the german Democratic Republic (East Germany, as was) to see ‘socialism in action.’ it is at this point that one 

of life’s lessons was learnt. never trust a country with Democratic in its name for they are usually anything but (of the 

Democratic Republic of Congo, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, etc).

Seeing the destructive effect of an authoritarian stalinist state up close, through the eyes and the experiences of citizens from 

the GDR, some of whom became lifelong friends, changed my perception of authority. it was not something to defer to but 

something to be challenged – wherever it lay.

The disconnect between what was preached in East Germany and what was actually happening made me more determined to 

effect change at home. Those experiences gave direction and conviction to my approach to ASLEF.


As I write this, sat in a friend’s flat in Berlin, it is the weekend celebrating the 25th anniversary of the wall coming down, an 

event I ridiculously missed by two hours back in 1989 (although I may have one of the last stamped exit visas from that 

particular day) but it serves to draw a neat parallel.

The last 25 years have been tumultuous for ASLEF – preparation for privatisation, and privatisation itself, changing the 

fundamental nature of the railway here in Britain. the imposition of new bargaining machinery in an attempt to break the 

union’s hold on negotiations and a total shift in the footplate grade’s demographic could have meant the end of what was, in 

many ways, an old fashioned, traditional, craft union.

it was not the end because we used the changes to create a seismic shift away from the culture of the past with huge 

improvements in salary from £11,500 then to an average now of £44,000; from one rest day every eight weeks to the four day 

week we enjoy now; and the abandonment of an unfair and non-guaranteed bonus system to clean salaries.

We now had a bargaining machinery led by lay reps who knew their areas, who took ownership of the drivers’ charter, and 

responsibility for their actions. the industry’s attempt to localise the nature of negotiation allowed the reps, as part of an 

overall strategy, to control overtime. And we used that control as a lever to create new jobs and improve long-term conditions 

across the whole of our profession.


In addition, despite the nature of the railway changing following accidents, reorganisations and outside ideological 

interference, we have fought ferociously to defend our members and the security of our employment.

Although there were what could politely be described as adventures, distractions and disagreements along the way, there was 

always clear direction in the form of the ASLEF charter and commitment from the reps at all levels to ensure the creation and 

defence of good jobs for the next generation of train drivers.

however, what of the next generation of ASLEF activists, where are they coming from? With the demise of the driver’s 

assistant the supply of young workers joining the railway in their teens is no more and neither, fortunately, are the politics of 

the Cold War. so how do we react to the generational change within our membership that has quietly occured over the last 25 



I think we still need to take a leaf out of Dave Griffiths’ and Mick Richards’ book and give encouragement and support to 

those who show an interest. They may not be kids straight out of school nowadays but the next generation still need the 

support and space to make their mistakes and learn their lessons through doing – none of us has a monopoly on what is right 

or wrong.

We all still have huge battles ahead, particularly as the wider politics of the day become increasingly unequal, small minded 

and spiteful. The broad political understanding of the past has given way to a narrow economic orthodoxy that is short term 

and unfair in its nature.

We might be seeing ever more people tricked into voting against their own interests at the next general election but we must 

ensure that whoever is representing ASLEF members 25 years hence does so from a position of strength. We must all give 

consideration to who will be standing in our shoes in the future – the graveyards are full of indispensable men – and we all 

need to be preparing and encouraging the next generation of ASLEF men and women.




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