by Gerald M Beesley

HE O'Brien was of Irish noble birth and was educated at Eton and the Yorkshire College of Victoria University (Leeds) where he attained his BSc degree.

After short periods at Kitson's of Leeds and the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway, in 1898 he became a pupil of John AF Aspinall, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, starting on the same day as Nigel Gresley.

He became the Resident Engineer of the LYR's pioneering Liverpool to Southport electrification scheme, before a period in charge of the Carriage & Wagon Works at Newton Heath, followed by his promotion to Assistant CME and Works Manager under George Hughes at Horwich.

During the Great War he was given a temporary commission and served in France and Palestine with distinction, was mentioned twice in despatches and awarded the DSO.

After the war he resumed duties at Horwich and oversaw the building of further batches of superheated 0-8-0s and the rebuilding of the Hughes 4-6-0s of 1909.

The merger with the LNWR in 1922 saw O'Brien appointed Electrical Engineer and he immediately started feasibility studies with a view to elecrtifying the LNWR main line from Crewe to Carlisle. The arrival of the LMS in 1923 and the increasing dominance of former Midland Railway managers put a stop to the project and led to O'Brien's departure.

He retired to his family home in Ireland and was involved in many further projects. He died in 1967 in his 92nd year.

This is a fastidiously researched and well written book full of fascinating details of O'Brien's family and professional life. For the LYR historian it provides insight and context to the various projects in which he was involved, and for students of the Great War many details of the logistical problems of furnishing the front line with supplies.

  • 9" x 6"
  • 240 pages
  • Soft covers
  • Published by the author
  • ISBN 978-1-78926-677-1
  • Price includes UK postage
  • For international postage follow the instructions on the Book Shop page