You're on the Bluebell Railway web site

Frederick William Hutchings

"Stepney's Driver"

Fireman, Driver and Motorman; a 50-year career with the LBSCR, SR and BR

by Steve Gostelow and Richard Salmon

Frederick Hutchings in SR uniform Left: Frederick Hutchings in SR motorman's uniform.
For full size versions of any of the pictures or documents on this page, just click on them.

Born on August 8th, 1894, Fred left school and started work for the London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR) in the engine shed at Brighton at the age of 14 - apparently he never wanted to do anything else but work on the railway. He gradually worked his way up from cleaning engines, through to Fireman and then Driver.

Visit of the French President, 1914

Fred helped prepare and decorate the locomotive (B4-class 4-4-0 No.69) for the visit to the UK of the French President in early 1914. He had a large framed photo of this engine, which he presented to the Bluebell Railway in the 1970s, and which hangs in the station building at Sheffield Park.

Fireman and Driver - the Steam Years

Frederick Hutchings and Steve Gostelow with Stepney in 1971 Amongst the locos he fired and drove were "Gladstone", the first locomotive privately preserved in 1927, and now in the National Railway Museum at York, and the Stroudley Terrier "Stepney" with which he was re-united on a visit to the Bluebell Railway in 1971 (Photo right with Steve Gostelow, his grandson).

Commendation In 1922 "Fireman F. Hutchings" received the commendation reproduced left from the LBSCR's Locomotive Engineer, Mr. Lawson Billinton, for the clean state of the footplate of locomotive No.330 (below Photo: Dave Searle Collection), one of the LBSCR's then newest class of locomotives. These large "Baltic" tank locos were used on the principal services on the Brighton line, and were amongst the largest express tank locomotives ever built in this country.

He fired and later drove steam from Brighton, including the "Southern Belle", the steam-hauled Pullman train that became known as the "Brighton Belle" after electrification in 1933.

Locomotive No.330

Frederick Hutchings, SR Motorman

Motorman - Southern Electric

As more of the Southern Railway's Central Section lines (the former LBSCR lines) were electrified through the 1930s there was less steam work from Brighton. Fred was therefore transferred to Littlehampton in 1938 when he trained as a Motorman on the new electrified stock, remaining there until his retirement in 1959.

The photo on the right shows Fred in the cab of a 1930's Southern Railway Electric Multiple Unit.

Registration Registration Occupation

Obituary During the Blitz and throughout WW2 he worked all the dangerous routes - London, Portsmouth and Brighton - his family never knowing where he was due to wartime secrecy. His wartime Identity Card and Certificate of Occupation are reproduced above.

Living in Rustington in retirement, Fred passed away on March 6th 1976, whilst his widow lived to be almost 101. His Obituary (right) appeared in The Littlehampton Gazette.

In the best local newspaper tradition, the last few lines are jumbled, and should probably read: "... He was one of the drivers of the Gladstone engine which is now on display in the York Railway Museum. Mr Hutchings, who leaves a widow and two daughters, was a member of Rustington Church and of the village OAP club."

Return to Bluebell Home Page, to the Timetable or to Special Events
Personal Recollections of the Bluebell Line: Daniel Wilson - Martin J.N. Payne - Martin Ternouth - Early Bluebell Days: Mike South
Biography: Frederick Hutchings - 50 years with the LBSCR, SR & BR

History of the Bluebell:- L&EGR - Early Days 1 - Early Days 2 - Early Days 3 - Early Days 4 - Kingscote Station - Fenchurch
Track Layouts through the years: Horsted Keynes - West Hoathly - Kingscote. More to come later!
Map showing how the line relates to other railways in the locality.
The Extension

Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - What's New - Extension - Locos - Carriages & Wagons - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site - FAQ
Why not become a BRPS Member?     -     Get more involved as a Volunteer

Your ideal Film/TV location?

Valid HTML 3.2! © Copyright Steve Gostelow and Richard Salmon, January 2000.
Last updated 30 August 2005 by Richard Salmon.
Credits and disclaimer.