Sir Eustace James Missenden
Born 3 March 1886 (Who Was Who): son of a station master and early school leaver (which according to Bonavia Railways South East 1993, 3, 182) gave him a chip on his shoulder. Joined SECR in 1899. Not in ODNB, but in Oxford Companion (entry written by Michael Bonavia). Bonavia also contributed some sharp observations in British Rail: the first 25 years noting that Missensen accepted [the Chairmanship of the Railway Executive], though with the private intention of retiring before too long... he was a very competent railwayman, experienced more on the operating than the commercial side, and very loyal to the practices of the Southern Railway. He was a good organiser and knew how to delegate; he looked after the interests of those subordinates who had served him well. He firmly declined to work over-long hours and was careful, perhaps even fussy, over his health. He lacked both the warm, extrovert personality of his precedessor at Waterloo, Gilbert Szlumper, and the intellectual and managerial distinction of Sir Herbert Walker (to whom he had given great admiration); he did not move easily in Government circles, being suspicious of both politicians and civil servants. He found himself out of his element in trying to coordinate a team of Executive Members who were in no way responsible to him in the way that railway departmental officers had been responsible to a General Manager. The method by which the team had been chosen had been a sort of musical chairs, designed to ensure that each former company obtained a fair crack of the whip. The Southern having provided the Chairman, the others were entitled to share the remaining posts, apart from that of Deputy Chairman.
It should be remembered that Missenden sent a delegation to North America to study diesel traction and their report of 20 September 1946 recommended limiting electrification to high density routes and using diesel electric locomotives and possibly railcars for the other routes: the delegation consisted of J.L. Harrington, S.A. Fitch. M.S. Hatchell and S.B. Warder (Bulleid: Bulleid of the Southern).
Missenden's Institute of Transport address of 21 November 1949 stated that the steam locomotive had cerain serious limitations, that electric traction was not as vulnerable to air attack as commonly supposed and clearly favoured electric or diesel traction, but with caveats on the latter (cost, complexity and fuel imports). Pearson Man of the rail page 112, having commented upon Riddles noted: "The situation was somewhat piquant as the chairman of the Railway Executive, Sir Eustace Missenden, thought the steam policy wrong. Speaking at the Institute of Transport in January, 1950, he said: "The steam locomotive inherently is inefficient and an extravagant user of coal. It is expensive to operate, service and maintain. Its operating characteristics, and the dirt and smell, prevent it from providing the quality of service required and expected by the public and which the railways must give if they are to survive." He favoured the replacement of steam by electric traction with complementary diesel traction. This only, he said, could bring about the rehabilitation of British Railways. And he concluded, "Our engineers, with confident leadership ... will be able to give British railways the finest and most appropriate motive power." Died 30 January 1973..Nock, O.S. Railway enthusuast's encyclopedia