IMechE President joins Board


The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, the registered charity that is building Tornado, the first new mainline steam locomotive in Britain for 40 years at a cost of over £1.7 million, today announced that Tony Roche FREng. FIMech.E., the current President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, has joined its board of trustees as Chief Mechanical Engineer. In this voluntary role he will provide strategic direction and overview on all engineering activities of the project.

Tony Roche is a career railwayman who has held many senior management positions in British Rail. His final appointment was as the executive board member responsible for engineering, safety and support services. The highlights of his career include:

  • In the early 1970s he led the team responsible for the construction of the extremely successful High Speed Train Prototype Power Cars (Intercity 125s), introducing new production techniques and control processes.
  • In 1981 he became works manager at Wolverton railway workshops near Milton Keynes.
  • In 1991 he became chief executive of British Rail Maintenance Limited, a subsidiary of the British Railways Board, which was responsible for major overhauls of railway rolling stock. Tony took a leading role in preparing the company for privatisation and for its subsequent sale into the private sector. He was also appointed as the Director of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering for British Rail and directed a major reorganisation of these activities
    as part of the introduction of the commercially led management structure.
  • In 1992 he served as deputy managing director of Network SouthEast. He was then appointed to take a leading role in the creation of the Rolling Stock Leasing Companies, becoming the first Managing Director of Eversholt Train Leasing, which was subsequently successfully sold into the private sector.
  • In 1994 Tony was appointed to the BR Board with executive responsibility for engineering, safety and support services. In the privatisation of British Rail he led and directed the preparation and subsequent sale of the numerous subsidiary support companies. He oversaw the sale of over 20 organisations to a value of over £200m.
  • Tony is now a partner in First Class Partnerships Limited, a specialist company providing constructive challenge and support to senior policy and decision makers in the railway industry.

Welcoming Tony to the board, Mark Allatt, Chairman of The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust commented, “The A1 Trust is delighted that Tony Roche is joining its board of trustees as its Chief Mechanical Engineer. As the current President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a railwayman with an outstanding record of innovation and delivery, Tony will provide much needed strategic engineering direction to the project. ”

Tony Roche added, “I am delighted to be joining this exciting project to build a new steam locomotive in a new century. Quality in engineering and safety are watchwords of the project and I look forward to working with my new colleagues on getting Tornado into steam as quickly as funding will allow.”