In Memoriam

Stanley Tapsell 
Stanley Tapsell  passed away peacefully at Catherine House Care Home; Frome in July 2012, aged 94. 

During his working life with the Southern Railway and British Rail, which included more than 46 years of service, he worked on some of the railways most advanced and important projects.
He first started work as an Apprentice Draughtsman with the Southern Railway at Ashford Railway Works in 1932 at the age of 14.
Stanley did design work on numerous goods vehicles during the 1930’s and on the W Class Tank engine.
During the War he worked on the design of Southern Railways Bulleid’s Merchant Navy Locomotive (including the locomotives superheater) and also the Q1 Locomotive at Ashford. He also worked on Bulleid’s Diesel Electric and Electric Locomotives and Shunters. (These are some of this country’s first Diesel Electric Locomotives that worked properly and out-performed steam locomotives.) In the 1950’s at Ashford he worked on the Southern Region’s Diesel Electric Multiple Units from concept through to successful introduction, including the main line trains from London to Hastings.
In 1958 he was working away from home during the week at Swindon for about 9 months doing design work on the Blue Pullman Diesel Electric Multiple Unit train.

Stanley  returned to Ashford works where he was promoted to the position of Project Engineer to the Works Manager around 1960. During the 1960’s he did design work on the Freightliner wagons that were built at Ashford, including the compressed air disk braking systems that allowed the goods trains to travel at a higher speed (70 mph) for the first time. He also designed special transport vehicles including ‘Welltrols’ and a 290-ton boiler wagon set, which is in the National Railway Museum in York. This vehicle was specially commissioned for transporting the lead filled heat exchanger boilers used in the construction of Dungeness B Nuclear Power Station. 

During the 1960’s he was involved in the development of some of the engineering and maintenance technologies that paved the way for high-speed (125 mph) rail travel.
He worked on the X-ray detection and analysis systems for cracks in metals, the transmission of radio over DC power systems for in cab-communications and data transmission, the development of track levelling machines and was involved in the design of the high-speed welded track that Ashford works produced during the late 1960’s.
Stanley was involved at a senior level with BREL from its inception and in 1969 he moved to the Board of British Rail in Marylebone as a senior Planning Engineer with BREL.
In this role he was involved with the introduction and design of the High Speed Train (HST), introduced as a replacement for the APT, which was arriving late due to technical difficulties.
BREL was responsible for the development and production of the Inter-City 125 Diesel Electric Multiple Unit Trains and the Mark 3 coaches.

Stanley seems to have been a senior design engineer for all of British Rail’s Diesel Electric Multiple Unit trains, two of which  broke World Speed Records; the Blue Pullman around 1960 and the Prototype HST 252 in 1973.  
Stanley retired from the Railways in 1978.

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