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Adrian Shooter (Hardback)

A Life in Engineering and Railways

Military > Biographies Transport > Trains & Railways

By Adrian Shooter
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 150
ISBN: 9781473893191
Published: 3rd April 2018


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This book is the tale of a small boy from Surrey who had a fascination with anything on wheels and, also, loved to learn about people and what motivated them. He read a lot about railways and was excited by the innovations of our nineteenth-century predecessors. When the Beeching report came out in 1963, he decided that he wanted to be a part of the new order and help bring back some of that excitement. He describes his upbringing and paints a picture of the 'greyness' of the 1950s and then takes the reader on a voyage of discovery into the world of 1960's engineering before he joined British Railway in 1970.

The view from the inside presents readers with a whole new picture of what was really going on within British Rail at various levels. Much that is reported has never before been published, and the reasons for many decisions on previously opaque matters are explained.

The author was cautioned by his school careers master to be wary of saying what he really thought. It seems that this piece of advice has not been heeded.

This is a most fascinating book, written by one of Britain’s leading railway engineering executives, and covers his life up to the mid-1990’s.

Bradford Railway Circle

A lively account of management progress, running depots, introducing HSTs, dealing with unions, managing the ‘Bed-Pan’ line and developing good communications with irate commuters, then improving Red Star parcels and Royal Mail contracts. There are insights obtained from international travels, even driving a train through the Hudson Valley.
This book is good for an engineering approach but also for understanding proper management. Note his efforts to remove management perks and for rooting out drinking on duty. It’s a good book to understand the managerial issues of British Rail.

Society of Model and Experimental Engineers

If one were to list the most significant contributions to the history of British Railways, this would surely be included.

Railway & Canal Historical Society

A most interesting read. Quite apart from the picture it paints of one man's journey through the ranks, it also conveys a lot of valuable detail about the realities of life as a railway manager over recent decades. The author's frankness and strong opinions give it an added spice.

Journal of the Friends of the National Railway Museum No.165

About Adrian Shooter

Adrian Shooter joined the Festiniog Railway Society, aged 14. He has had a 2 ft gauge railway in his garden for almost 20 years.
Meanwhile he helped run the school Railway Society and went on to join British Railways as an Engineering Graduate Trainee in 1970.
Rising through the ranks, he led a Management Buyout for Chiltern Railways in 1996 and went on to demonstrate that railways really can be a means of stimulating economic development.
After retiring in 2011, he set up Vivarail Ltd. which leads the way with railway Decarbonisation. He is also Chairman of SLC Rail.

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