Legendary railway pioneer honoured with statue at London Marylebone station

Adrian Shooter CBE with statue

Today (Tuesday 30th August), a nine-foot bronze statue and plinth of railway pioneer Adrian Shooter CBE has been unveiled at London Marylebone station.

Adrian Shooter, who started his career with British Rail in 1970, is considered one of the leading architects of the modern railway, and the tribute recognises his huge contributions and accomplishments to passenger and freight services.

Shooter is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and of the Chartered Institute of Transport. He has worked at and led maintenance depots throughout the country, managed London St. Pancras station and held various senior positions within the industry.

Adrian is especially famed as the founder of Chiltern Railways and the Chairman of DB Regio UK, which later became known as Arriva Rail.

More recently he has been chairman of Vivarail, a company which is leading the way with battery powered trains, having introduced the UK’s first diesel/battery hybrids for TfW in North Wales.  Now working on several battery train projects including, with GWR, introducing a regular timetabled battery train service in West London later this year.

He is also chairman of SLC Rail which has built on the Chiltern track record of building privately funded rail infrastructure.

The statue, which was crowdfunded by current industry leaders and close associates of Adrian was unveiled in front of 100 guests with a keynote speech by ex-Transport Secretary The Rt Hon Lord McLoughlin CH PC and a thank you from Adrian himself.

Adrian Shooter CBE commented:

“I feel very honoured to be recognised by the industry in this way. However, I accept this honour only on the condition that it recognises the amazing efforts of the hundreds of railway men and women who I have worked with. 

All I ever did was create the vision, hire the very best people and then help them to do their best. They, not me, were the people who delighted our passengers. They had to work in all weathers and run a safe railway wherever the problems.  Some of them relieved me of the tedium of negotiating and implementing the many over complicated legal agreements we have been saddled with.

It has been a very real pleasure to see so many people grow in confidence and help create a bigger and much better railway supported by private sector investment.

Today, however, is about the future. A group of us are preparing a proposition which we will present to the new Prime Minister next week. It will note that the railway has a very large contribution to make in terms creating wealth for the nation and go on to say that the private sector has a very significant ability to make this happen.

We will set out what needs to be done. A vital component being having management locally delighting customers and managing costs and revenues."

In addition to the statue unveiling, Chiltern Railways arranged for Adrian’s favourite train to be on site and named as ‘Adrian Shooter CBE’. The diesel train number 168 001 was the first train purchased by Chiltern as a private sector operator, and also the first train ordered by any of the private sector railway operators after railway privatisation in the mid-1990s,  Adrian’s family helped with the unveiling of the train named after him.

Richard Allan, current Managing Director of Chiltern Railways, said:

“It was a great privilege and honour to host today’s special event at Marylebone station.

Adrian remains well-known and extremely well thought of within Chiltern; the statue and train naming are a fitting tribute to Adrian and his many achievements over a long and distinguished career.”

Private and personal contributions were raised from more than 40 organisations and individuals to fund the production of the statue, made by Industrial Heritage Stronghold.

In addition, thousands of pounds were raised for the Motor Neurone Disease Association  a life shortening and currently uncurable condition affecting the communication between the brain, nerves and muscles and affecting a person’s movement and mobility.

Steve Murphy, the Chief Executive of MTR UK, and former Managing Director of Chiltern, who was mentored by Adrian, and helped lead the organisation of the tribute, spoke at the event. He said:

“Adrian Shooter has selflessly dedicated his life to the railways.  Adrian’s personal and professional career, innovative thinking and determination have left a legacy, the benefits of which will be felt far into our industry’s future. Adrian has spoken passionately about his thoughts for our sector’s future and, as an industry, we would be unwise to ignore his expertise.

As well as his extensive work in the industry, Adrian has given up his own time to support a multitude of railway-related causes; he has also been my mentor for many years, for which I will always be grateful.  More recently, Adrian has fought motor neurone disease with courage and dignity, raising the profile of the condition and the MND Association, alongside his work within the rail sector.

This event applauds Adrian’s commitment, his more than five decades of service and his outstanding achievements. Personally, I would like to thank Adrian for his inspirational guidance, which has left a lifelong impact on me, and my career. On behalf of everyone within the industry and MTR UK, I would like to extend our lasting gratitude to Adrian for his unwavering dedication to our industry – he leaves a legacy to be immensely proud of.”

Alongside personal contributions, corporate donations were offered from Angel Trains, Central Japan Railway Company, Chiltern Railways, Denton UK & Middle East LLP, Eversheds Sutherland, Eversholt Rail, Landmark Hotel, Key Publishing, Network Rail, Porterbrook and SLC Rail.

Ian Gardner, Head of Development at the MND Association said:

“Today is a wonderful opportunity to mark Adrian’s vital contribution to the modern railway and raise awareness of motor neurone disease (MND). Adrian is one of 5000 people in the UK living with MND at any one time and we are incredibly thankful he has chosen to share his journey with the disease, which currently has no cure, and support the MND Association’s work. We improve access to care, fund vital research and campaign for those people living with or affected by MND in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Thank you to Adrian and his network for helping us continue to provide this crucial support.”

Donations to the Motor Neurone Disease Association can be made online at Donate | MND Association