The West Somerset Railway (WSR) has announced that its Mechanical Engineering Director, Bob Meanley, is retiring from the company’s Board.
A statement from the railway said “He has had two periods as a member and has made an invaluable contribution through the very challenging period of the pandemic, and when trains could not run through to Minehead as a result of the level crossing closure,”
Bob is one of the foremost locomotive engineers of the preservation era. For nearly 25 years he was Chief Engineer of Tyseley Locomotive Works and oversaw the restoration and operation of much of the Tyseley fleet, including Castle class No.5043 Earl of Mount Edgecumbe and No.7029 Clun Castle.
He was also responsible for managing the restoration of many other mainline steam engines, and for restoring the streamlining of LMS Coronation class Pacific No 6229 Duchess of Hamilton for the National Railway Museum.
At the Heritage Railway Association awards in 2020, Bob received the annual award for services to railway preservation.
The West Somerset Railway will be advertising for a new Mechanical Engineering Director shortly.
The statement from the railway continued “Bob has been director with responsibility for mechanical engineering. His very wide experience in the heritage sector and, in particular, thorough understanding of steam engines gained through many years has been invaluable to the railway. During his time with the WSR he has taken a particular role in leading the development of the changes in organisation of mechanical engineering on the railway, including overall direction of the absorption of the Williton Works into the company from the WSR Association.
“Bob has decided that with the railway on a firmer footing, he is able to devote more time to a range of professional activities closer to home in the West Midlands. “
WSR chairman Jonathan Jones-Pratt said: “We are very sorry to see Bob leave the board but we fully understand his reasons and we hope and expect he will keep in touch with the railway in the future. We owe Bob a considerable debt for the work he has done helping us at the most difficult of times. We very much wish him well in the future.”