Bulleid, Oliver Vaughan Snell

Bulleid, Oliver Vaughan Snell
b. 19 September 1882 Invercargill, New Zealand
d. 25 April 1970 Malta
New Zealand (naturalized British) locomotive engineer noted for original experimental work in the 1940s and 1950s.
Bulleid's father died in 1889 and mother and son returned to the UK from New Zealand; Bulleid himself became a premium apprentice under H.A. Ivatt at Doncaster Works, Great Northern Railway (GNR). After working in France and for the Board of Trade, Bulleid returned to the GNR in 1912 as Personal Assistant to Chief Mechanical Engineer H.N. Gresley. After a break for war service, he returned as Assistant to Gresley on the latter's appointment as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London \& North Eastern Railway in 1923. He was closely associated with Gresley during the late 1920s and early 1930s.
In 1937 Bulleid was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway (SR). Concentration of resources on electrification had left the Southern short of up-to-date steam locomotives, which Bulleid proceeded to provide. His first design, the "Merchant Navy" class 4–6– 2, appeared in 1941 with chain-driven valve gear enclosed in an oil-bath, and other novel features. A powerful "austerity" 0−6−0 appeared in 1942, shorn of all inessentials to meet wartime conditions, and a mixed-traffic 4−6−2 in 1945. All were largely successful.
Under Bulleid's supervision, three large, mixed-traffic, electric locomotives were built for the Southern's 660 volt DC system and incorporated flywheel-driven generators to overcome the problem of interruptions in the live rail. Three main-line diesel-electric locomotives were completed after nationalization of the SR in 1948. All were carried on bogies, as was Bulleid's last steam locomotive design for the SR, the "Leader" class 0−6−6−0 originally intended to meet a requirement for a large, passenger tank locomotive. The first was completed after nationalization of the SR, but the project never went beyond trials. Marginally more successful was a double-deck, electric, suburban, multiple-unit train completed in 1949, with alternate high and low compartments to increase train capacity but not length. The main disadvantage was the slow entry and exit by passengers, and the type was not perpetuated, although the prototype train ran in service until 1971.
In 1951 Bulleid moved to Coras Iompair Éireann, the Irish national transport undertaking, as Chief Mechanical Engineer. There he initiated a large-scale plan for dieselization of the railway system in 1953, the first such plan in the British Isles. Simultaneously he developed, with limited success, a steam locomotive intended to burn peat briquettes: to burn peat, the only native fuel, had been a long-unfulfilled ambition of railway engineers in Ireland. Bulleid retired in 1958.
Bulleid took out six patents between 1941 and 1956, covering inter alia valve gear, boilers, brake apparatus and wagon underframes.
Further Reading
H.A.V.Bulleid, 1977, Bulleid of the Southern, Shepperton: Ian Allan (a good biography written by the subject's son).
C.Fryer, 1990, Experiments with Steam, Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens (provides details of the austerity 0–6–0, the "Leader" locomotive and the peat-burning locomotive: see Chs 19, 20 and 21 respectively).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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