Richard served an Engineering Apprenticeship at Derby Loco Works in the last years of steam during which he gained an in-depth knowledge of the repair and maintenance of steam locomotives.
After completing his apprenticeship, he moved to Hunts Bank in Manchester where he was involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the overhead line system.
After leaving BR in 1969 he set up in partnership to build large scale miniature steam locomotives and was responsible for the design of several engines including the famous Stapleford Nickel Plate Berkshire (at the time the most powerful 1/5th scale locomotive in the world) and the 59 class Garrat now residing at the NRM.
On leaving the partnership in 1973 Richard joined a company producing packaging equipment where he headed the design office. He has since been responsible for producing packaging machinery which has gone to the four corners of the globe.
Now retired, Richard has returned to his first love and is utilising his design experience to good effect both in assisting in some of the detail design of the 5AT and also working on new large scale miniature locomotive designs, including new large scale miniature locomotive designs such as the new Garratt "Norfolk Heroine for the 10¼" gauge Wells & Walsingham Railway.
Richard has worked with the 5AT Project's Engineering Planning Working Party since 2006 and has completed several complex 3D drawings, some of which can be found through the Drawings page of this website. One example of his 5AT drawings is shown below.
Richard Coleby's Nickel Plate Berkshire, built c.1970, and at the time the most powerful 1/5th scale locomotive in the world. Now residing and operating on the Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire. [Photo by Chris Newman 2011]
"John H. Gretton" built in 1948 by David Curwen and later fitted with totally enclosed rotary valve gear, roller crosshead, improved exhaust and other modifications, designed, built and fitted by Richard Coleby. The loco is owned and operated by the Stapleford Miniature Railway in Leicestershire. [Photo by Chris Newman 2011]