A thoroughly recommended autobiography with 84 illustrations, by Roland C Bond one of the last Chief Mechanical Engineers and who was at the centre of the changeover from steam to diesel and electric power. A fascinating study of the triumphs, traumas and failures of British railways locomotive engineering and motive power development between during his career.
Forward by E S Cox who was the Executive Officer for Design on the former Railways Executive and who worked with two other former LMS men - Robert Riddles and Roland C. Bond to design and develop the fleet of British Railways Standard Steam locomotives. This book is an excellent companion to Cox's own autobiography Locomotive Panorama and his book British Railways Standard Steam Locomotives both published by Ian Allan; also worth a read is Riddles' biography The Last Steam Locomotive Engineer: R A Riddles by Colonel H C B Rogers.
Roland Curling Bond (5 May 1903 – 20 December 1980) held senior locomotive engineering posts in the LMS and became Chief Mechanical Engineer under British Railways. Born in Ipswich in 1903, he was educated at Tonbridge School and became interested in railways when staying in Yarmouth during the Great War. .
Bond joined the Midland Railway in 1920, which in 1923 became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. He was an apprentice under Henry Fowler and took up a post as Assistant Works Manager at the Vulcan Foundry. In 1931 Bond returned to the LMS, becoming an Assistant Works Superintendent at Horwich and later Assistant Works Superintendent at Crewe. In 1939, he was sent to Scotland as acting Mechanical and Electrical Engineer but in 1941, moved back to Crewe to become Works Superintendent involved in managing locomotive and munitions work.
On the formation of the Railway Executive in 1948, Bond was appointed Chief Officer (Locomotive Construction and Maintenance), reporting to Robin Riddles, who was Member of the Railway Executive for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. In 1953, Bond became Chief Mechanical Engineer, BR Central Staff and later in 1965 General Manager, BR Workshops. He retired in 1970 and died in 1980, aged 77.