Tributes to railway pioneer Adrian Shooter CBE

Tributes to railway pioneer Adrian Shooter CBE

It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of railroad pioneer Adrian Shooter CBE.

He began his career at British Rail in 1970 and is considered one of the leading architects of the modern railway. He worked and managed maintenance depots across the country, managed London St Pancras railway station and held various senior positions in the industry.

Adrian is particularly famous as the founder of Chiltern Railways and Chairman of DB Regio UK, later known as Arriva Rail.

Richard Allan, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways, paid tribute and said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Adrian Shooter CBE, Chiltern’s founding Managing Director. We and our customers owe him a great debt of gratitude for the vision, drive and passion he and his team have brought to the creation and development of Chiltern since 1996.

“Adrian has been a leader, colleague and friend to many current and former colleagues at Chiltern and throughout the railway industry. Just a few months ago, a group of industry colleagues were delighted to welcome Adrian to Marylebone to commemorate his immense contribution to Chiltern and the rail industry over his 50 year career. Adrian and his family unveiled a statue of him on Platform 1 at Marylebone Station and he was so proud to be asked to unveil a train named in his honour.

“The Chiltern train that bears his name is unit 168001 – this was the very first train to be ordered in Britain after privatisation. The thoughts of everyone at Chiltern are with Adrian’s family at this very sad time.”

More recently, Adrian has been Chairman of Vivarail and of SLC Rail, acclaimed by the latter for consistently challenging accepted wisdom and conventional ways.

SLC Managing Director Ian Walters said: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of this great man. I met Adrian on my first day working in the rail industry in November 1991 and I have been fortunate and honored to have had his mentorship and friendship ever since.

“As Chairman of SLC Rail, we have benefited from Adrian’s leadership, wisdom and experience – and focused on what works for passengers – while growing as a company. It’s a privilege to have him on the SLC team for so many years.

“It is no exaggeration that his dedication and advocacy have been fundamental to our success and our work will continue his unparalleled legacy. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family at this extremely sad time.”

As Managing Director and Chairman of Chiltern Railways, he was the visionary and determined driving force behind doubling passenger numbers through innovation and investment in the ambitious development of train services and infrastructure.

He has chaired London Overground, Tyne & Wear Metro, DB Regio UK (Deutsche Bahn), Laing Rail, the West Midlands CBI Council and has been involved with many other groups. After leaving Chiltern Railways, Adrian founded Vivarail in 2012, making it a world leader in developing technologies for environmentally responsible battery powered trains.

Earlier this year, his efforts were recognized with a nine-foot bronze statue and pedestal unveiled at London Marylebone Station. Crowdfunded by current industry leaders and close associates of Adrian, the statue was unveiled in front of 100 guests with a keynote address from former Transport Secretary Lord McLoughlin.

Modest about his accomplishments, Adrian said at the unveiling, “I’m very honored to be recognized by the industry in this way. However, I accept this honor on condition that it recognizes the amazing efforts of hundreds of railroad workers I have worked with.

“All I’ve ever done was set the vision, hire the best people, and then help them be their best. They, not me, were the people who wowed our passengers. They had to work in all weathers and run a safe railway wherever there were problems. Some of them relieved me of the hassle of negotiating and enforcing the many over-complicated legal agreements we were saddled with.

“It has been a great joy to see so many people taking confidence and helping to create a bigger and much better railway, backed by private sector investment.”

The thoughts of all Rail Business Daily staff are with Adrian’s family and friends.

Photo credit: Chiltern Railways

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