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tony roche

FREng FIMechE CEng BSc Hon DTech

Past President 

Tony Roche

Tony Roche is a career railway engineer who held many senior management posts in British Rail. His final appointment was as the Executive Board Member responsible for Engineering, Safety and Support Services.

Subsequently he was a Director of First Class Partnerships Limited, a specialist company providing constructive challenge and support to senior policy and decision makers in the rail industry. His clients for consultancy assignments have been to both the UK private rail sector, but also to other railways around the world and include expert witness appointments. He also has wide experience as a non-executive director.

After completing an engineering degree and qualifying as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer, Tony’s career has been focused on engineering management. In the early 1970s he led the team responsible for the construction of the prototype power cars of the extremely successful UK high speed trains. His subsequent roles included:

  • management of a major railway works at Wolverton, Milton Keynes
  • Chief Executive of British Rail Maintenance Limited, responsible for the major overhauls of railway rolling stock and preparing the company for privatisation and sale into the private sector
  • Director of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering for British Rail, directing these activities in the change to a commercially led railway management reorganisation.

A period as Deputy Managing Director, Network South-East followed before being appointed to take a leading role in the creation of the Rolling Stock Leasing Companies and Managing Director of Eversholt Train Leasing before the company was sold into the private sector.

With the accelerating programme of privatisation, Tony was appointed to the British Rail Board to lead and direct the preparation and subsequent sale of the numerous engineering and subsidiary support companies. Working with City financial and legal advisors, he and his team successfully completed the sale of over 20 of these subsidiary companies to the private sector. His British Rail Board responsibilities included overall management of safety during a major period of organisational change during the transfer of British Rail to a fully privatised railway.

Throughout his career, he has focused on continuous improvement across all aspects of management performance, working with teams to achieve agreed objectives through constructive challenge.

Tony has continued to have an active involvement in the engineering profession. He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (2001/2002), is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Member of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers and a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Engineers.

He has maintained a close working relationship with the Institution having been a Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Board, Technical Strategy Board, Professional Development Board, the PEP Board and the Railway Division. He regular attends its Ordinary Meetings and was until recently the Chairman of Council Dining Club.

Tony is a Past Vice President of RedR- Engineers for Disaster Relief and a past Governor of Imperial College where he chaired the Health and Safety Audit Committee.

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