WE are delighted to announce that former Tyseley Locomotive Works Chief Engineer and doyen of GWR locomotive matters, Bob Meanley, has joined the County of Montgomery project as our Engineering Manager.
Bob is regarded as one of the most well-respected locomotive engineers of the preservation era, with a wealth of practical experience and technical knowledge to his name. His hands-on involvement started in the 1960s with ‘Princess Royal’ Pacific No. 6201 Princess Elizabeth, during the period when it was based at Ashchurch following purchase from BR. He was also heavily involved with the restoration and return to steam of several of the National Railway Museum’s locomotives including ‘D11’ 4-4-0 No. 506 Butler-Henderson, Maunsell 4-6-0 No. 850 Lord Nelson, record-breaking ‘A4’ Pacific No. 4468 Mallard, and the incomparable Stirling Single No 1.
During the late 1970s Bob was in charge of the main line operation of ‘Jubilee’ No. 5690 Leander, but it was his work with the Birmingham Railway Museum, and guiding the development of Tyseley Locomotive Works (TLW), that cemented his reputation as one of the best in the business.
During almost 25 years as Chief Engineer, Bob led TLW to become a thriving centre of engineering excellence. He oversaw the restoration and operation of much of the Tyseley steam fleet including ‘Castle’ Nos. 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe and 7029 Clun Castle, travelling far and wide with them over the national network on railtour duties with the Vintage Trains operation, which he also managed for almost 20 years until its transition to a licenced operator. He also oversaw the restoration of ‘Hall’ No. 4965 Rood Ashton Hall, which was carried out by a team of 20-year-old TLW volunteers led by his son, Alastair.
Furthermore, Bob was also responsible for the re-streamlining of ‘Princess Coronation’ Pacific No. 6229 Duchess of Hamilton for the National Railway Museum, building the frames for new-build ‘A1’ No. 60163 Tornado, and repairing and overhauling countless other locomotives as part of Tyseley’s contract engineering business.
More recently, after handing the Tyseley reins to Alastair in 2018, Bob served as Acting CME and Engineering Director at the West Somerset Railway, but stepped down in July of this year.
Commenting on the appointment, CCT Chairman Gary Boyd-Hope said: “We knew right from the very start of this project that we wanted County of Montgomery’s bottom-end to be built at Tyseley, and that was primarily because of Bob and Alastair Meanley. There are few steam engineers as well versed on GWR locomotives as Bob is, and the reputation of the Tyseley fleet only served to reinforce our decision.
“Bob has previously given us the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge prior to joining the team, but having him as our Engineering Manager will make a huge difference to our progress going forward. I am delighted that he has agreed to join us, and look forward to working with him as Tyseley erects No. 3840’s frames in the coming months.”