Oliver Bulleid’s locomotives guides the reader in the quest to understand what motivated Mr Bulleid in his work as a senior engineer and manager, and tries, with as little bias as is reasonable, to make sense of some of the more controversial aspects of his activities. For example, why did OVB not pursue the ideal of a 2–8–2 for the Southern Railway? How did the ‘Leader’ project go so much out of control? What role did Bulleid play in the massive dieselization program in Ireland when he was CME there? How did the 0–6–6–0T turf-burning steam locomotive fit in with Ireland’s traction policy, or did it? And why did ninety of his steam locomotives and ninety-four of ‘his’ diesels have to be rebuilt to make them either more economical or more reliable?
These are fundamental questions to which the book provides the reader with answers based on the author’s experiences or on those of people who knew Bulleid. OVB’s undoubted successes are illustrated in words and photographs, too, to provide a hopefully balanced picture of one of Britain’s more exciting railway engineers.