|FR Co. Chairman||1972 - 1993|
|FR Co. Director||1954 - 1993|
|FR Trust||c.1955 - 1998|
1914 - 2003
Ernest John Routly became acquainted with Alan Pegler through Trevor Bailey. Trevor had been at school with Alan and John had married (or was about to marry) Trevor's sister at the time when Alan was trying to sort out the legal issues surrounding ownership of the FR and its shares. As a corporate lawyer (for the Rootes Group) John was the ideal man to resolve those issues, so he was volunteered! Following his success and Pegler's takeover John was invited to join the Company Board and appointed deputy chairman, succeeding Pegler as chairman in 1972.
He used his legal expertise to help FR, being responsible for most of the key legal agreements. He also took the lead in obtaining grants to help rebuild the railway. He was heavily involved in the battle to obtain compensation from the CEGB (Electricity Authority) after the Tanygrisiau pumped storage power station scheme had severed the original route.
He stood down as chairman of the Company in 1993 but remained a trustee of the Festiniog Railway Trust until 1998.
He is credited with coining the phrase "jolly good fun" at a time when the railway's relationship with its staff was somewhat strained. This is still widely in use on the railway and appears on the clock in the erecting shop at Boston Lodge.
Routly followed an active life away from the FR. In addition to pursuing a successful career, he was a commissioner of the Inland Revenue (1955-1979), member of Buckinghamshire County Council (1965-1980), including a period as vice-chairman, High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire (1972-1973) and was heavily involved with a number of charities.
One of John's daughters, Angela, is married to Michael Schumann.