Chiltern pioneer Shooter recognised with statue

A nine-foot bronze statue and plinth of Chiltern Railways founder Adrian Shooter has been unveiled at London Marylebone station. The statue pays tribute to Mr Shooter’s contribution to the Chiltern operation over many years. The event also featured the naming of Chiltern’s Turbostar No 168001, the first train ordered by any private sector railway operator following privatisation and described by Mr Shooter as his favourite train; it has been named Adrian Shooter CBE.

Mr Shooter started his career with British Rail in 1970. He led the management buyout for the Chiltern franchise at privatisation and proceeded to lead the operator as Managing Director and Chairman for many years. Over that time, the company developed a series of infrastructure upgrades under the ‘Evergreen’ programme, which restored double track throughout between London and Birmingham, increased linespeeds and significantly increased the number of services operated. Mr Shooter also kickstarted the project to create a new link between Oxford and Marylebone, with the line to Oxford Parkway opening in 2015 and through to Oxford in 2016. Mr Shooter is now chairman of rolling stock company Vivarail and chairman of SLC Rail.

The statue was crowdfunded by industry leaders plus corporate donations from across the industry, including from Modern Railways’ owner Key Publishing. The unveiling featured a keynote speech from former Transport Secretary Lord McLoughlin, as well as from former Chiltern MDs Rob Brighouse and Steve Murphy, who led the organisation of the tribute. Mr Murphy told guests that while the statue recognises Mr Shooter’s achievements in the past, it also presents a message for the future and highlights the need for leadership, drive and energy within the industry.

Mr Shooter then addressed guests, paying tribute to his team, and said he accepted the tribute on behalf of the hundreds and thousands of men and women who had worked with him. He said he would be part of a group presenting a proposition to the new Prime Minister highlighting the significant contribution the railway can make to the nation’s future and the role of the private sector in doing so. In particular he emphasised the need for costs and revenues to be managed in one place.

The statue was made by Industrial Heritage Stronghold. Proceeds raised beyond the cost of the statue will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association in recognition of Mr Shooter’s recent diagnosis with the life shortening, uncurable condition. It is understood more than £5,000 has been raised for the charity, and it is hoped the tribute will also raise awareness of the charity’s work.