- Man of Steam E.E. Lucy - A Gentleman Engineer in the Great Days of the Iron Horse
Iron Horse Press, Mosman, 1986.
Hardcover, octavo; black boards with pale blue spine titling, decorated endpapers; 280pp., monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; mild toning and spotting to text block and page edges. Very good to near fine in like dustwrapper now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. Ernest Edward Lucy was the last senior engineer to come from a famous British railway company to take charge of the mechanical empire of Australia's largest transport system, the New South Wales Government Railways - NSWGR. Lucy hailed from the GWR (God's Wonderful Railway' to its devotees), an organisation filled with tradition that dated back to the earliest days of steam. The desperate illness of a young wife caused Lucy to give up a promising career in the Great Western and migrate with his small family to a country far down-under of which he knew very little when he assumed the post of Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1906. His first wife died tragically only a few weeks before he attained the pinnacle of Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1911; from henceforth he was in command of vast resources of manpower, enginepower, of carriages, wagons, workshops and far flung depots. Though essentially a quiet man - 'Lux' to close family, 'Dear Lucy' to friends - he found himself enmeshed in a series of dramatic events that were to surround the management and direction of the NSWGR for the next 21 years until the very close of his career. Lucy endured the grim 1917 strike, the loss of many of his young men to World War I, and the humiliation of having his own assistant promoted to his superior. Engine failures, wrecks, a royal commission, ministerial interference and the Depression, his name raised in Parliament as the butt of violent criticism; through it all he survived. His office spanned an extraordinary period of State political history, hitherto little explored from the aspect of its impact on the men who ran the trains. For Lucy it all reached a climax with the return of the Lang Government in 1930 when, in his 72nd year, the bell finally tolled. Such was the life and stormy times of the locomotive engineer responsible for the famous NN, the C36 and huge D57 Mountain class, for rail motors and the introduction of Sydney's electric trains. They called him the ' fine old English gentleman' - E.E. Lucy of Steam.
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