Gerakl M. Beesley

Henry Eoghan O'Brien: an engineer of nobility. Available from Saltmills, New Ross, Co. Wexford, Y34 HP28, Ireland. Price  €22.50

H.E. O'Brien was educated at Eton and the Yorkshire College of the Victoria University (Leeds). Following training with Kitsons of Leeds and the Dublin Wicklow & Wexford Railway, he entered the service of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1898 as a pupil of Sir John Aspinall and became Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1910. He was subsequently appointed Electrical Engineer on the London & North Western Railway following its merger with the L&YR in January 1922; a position that he retained with wider responsibilities when the grouping of 1923 resulted in the formation of the London Midland & Scottish Railway. Due to differences of opinion that arose in regard to long-term motive power policy he retired from the LMS at the end of January 1925. Service during the First World War with the Royal Engineers and at the Ministry of Munitions saw him rise to the rank of Colonel. He was twice mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the DSO in the 1918 New Year's Honours. He was associated with the brave Drumm battery railcar project, but sadly died before electric traction reached Dublin in the form of the DART service and Shap was conquered. He had been a great lover of mountaineering in the Alps. His noble Irish ancestry is traced back to the time of Brian Boru.