Gerry Fiennes

Gerry Fiennes (full name: Gerard Francis Gisborne Twistleton-Wykeham-Fiennes OBE, MA) (7 June 1906 – 25 May 1985) was a famous British railway manager who rose through the ranks of the London and North Eastern Railway and later British Rail following graduation from Oxford University.

He joined the London and North Eastern Railway as a Traffic Apprentice in 1928, and his subsequent appointments included:
* Assistant Yardmaster, Whitemoor Yard, Cambridgeshire, 1932
* Chief Controller, Cambridge, 1934.
* Various appointments at York, London Liverpool Street station, Edinburgh, and Shenfield.
* District Operating Superintendent, Nottingham, 1943.
* District Operating Superintendent, Stratford station, east London, 1944.
* Operating Superintendent, Eastern Region, British Rail, 1956-57.
* Line Traffic Manager, London King's Cross station, 1957-61.
* Chief Operating Officer, British Rail, 1961-63.
* Chairman of the Western Region Board, and General Manager, Western Region BR, 1963-65.
* Chairman of the Eastern Region Board, and General Manager, Eastern Region, BR, 1965-67.

Largely responsible for pushing for the purchase by BR of the 22 English Electric/ Napier "Deltic" locomotives in 1959 (in service 1961-82). These were deemed necessary as they were capable of prolonged running at 100mph, in order to compete with the electrified West Coast Main Line.

He was famously fired from British Rail in 1967 for writing the book "I Tried to Run a Railway", which was severely critical of the way in which the then Labour government interfered in the management of Britain's nationalised railways. The then-Transport Minister, Barbara Castle, was not amused and demanded Fiennes' removal.

Following his main railway career, he was a director of Hargreaves Group between 1968 and 1976, and also a director of the railway publishers Ian Allan Ltd, who had published his book, and for whose rail industry magazines he had previously written extensively, and was Mayor of Aldeburgh, Suffolk in 1976. He continued his association with railways by accepting an invitation to join the Board of Directors of the independent, narrow gauge, Ffestiniog Railway Company, in North Wales, on which he served between 1968 and 1974. Between 1970 and 1974 he was the Company's nominee to the Board of directors of the Ffestiniog Railway Society, the voluntary supporters' organisation.

He was related to the actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, and the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes.


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