Brian Bushell

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Brian Edward Bushell

IT Development at Ffestiniog Railway

Former Guard / Signalman / Controller / Dogsbody at Ffestiniog Railway

Former Programming and Training Manager at Morgan Guarantee Trust Company of New York (now J P Morgan)

Former Senior Datatbase Analyst at Control Data Corporation of America

Former Head Barman/Relief Manager at Higson Brewery

Former Computer Systems Controller at British Railways Board Headquarters

Former Guard / Blockman / Council and Committee member at Talyllyn Railway

Former Technical Manager at British Railways Board

Former Senior Systems Programmer at Unilever

Former Prodution Planner at Unilever

Former Goods Inward Clerk at British Railways

Studied Various one or two week Programming and Systems Analysis Courses at IBM computer

Went to Wallasey Grammar School

From Birkenhead, United Kingdom

Funeral held on Thursday 4th of June 2020 at 1:30pm in Bangor Crematorium.

from (- no longer active, but stored on

Brian may not be the youngest computer expert you'll ever meet, but he's probably the longest-serving. Despite his advancing years, his old brain is still as knowledgeable, agile and perceptive as ever. By the early seventies, he was regarded as one of the top three computer brains in Britain - and is now regarded as one of the top in Europe. See the testimonials accompanying his CV on this page, in particular the one from Iain Fraser, BSc. This was written in 2013, and covers the previous seven years. During this time, Iain worked alongside Brian as network engineer and server administrator. Iain started in computers in 1973 in South Africa, and since then, like Brian, he has worked on some large projects not just in the UK, but in Rhodesia, the USA, France and even Russia. Brian values highly the views of a fellow professional such as Iain, and disregards the witterings of people who think that what they know about computers is everything there is to know (and there are plenty of those around!) - or worse still, listen to the misguided views of people who are too lazy even to read his CV and check the facts. One thing you soon learn in business (and politics) is that it is as easy to make enemies, who will stop at nothing to discredit you, as it is to make friends! Do not listen to false prophets!

When Brian first started, you didn't have to know that much before you 'knew it all'. Nowadays, the industry is so diverse, nobody can possibly 'know it all', and people tend to specialise. Like a GP, Brian can usually diagnose your problem - but if his own fields of expertise prevent him from curing your ailment, he can usually put you in touch with a good, qualified specialist who can! Just as Brian wouldn't consider walking into his doctor's surgery and start telling him how to treat his patients, Brian wouldn't expect his doctor to start telling him what he does and doesn't know about computers!

Over the years, Brian has been involved at the highest level with some of the biggest and most successful computer systems ever. He has seen good systems, bad systems, misused systems, misunderstood systems - and endless useless systems which either don't do what the user wanted, or make it impossible for the user to be able to use without a degree in computing!

With age comes wisdom, increased knowledge and the experience of past mistakes - his own (best way to learn!), and other peoples. Anyone who thinks they never make mistakes is making the biggest mistake of their lives - just as anyone who thinks they know it all, knows nothing!

These days, Brian, like many 'retired' people, prefers to concentrate on consultancy and educational training. He started in computers in 1965, long before schools had even heard of them, and universities only taught them as a scientific/mathematical subject. Using them for business purposes was a new concept, and Brian undertook all his training at IBM's own colleges in London. Networks were still 5 years away, VDUs about 10 years, PCs 14 years away, and the Internet was just a dream. The first computer Brian started on (IBM1401) didn't even have an operating system - how it worked is an interesting story in itself, and Brian also offers historical talks about the early computers and their operating systems. It was all pioneering stuff, boldly going where no man had gone before - definitely a voyage of discovery!


(all voluntary during weekends and holidays)

1958 S&T Lineman – re-wiring pole route through Brynglas Cutting

1959 Cleaner/Fireman based at Pendre

1959-1963 North-west area group P/Way winter weekend working parties

1960 Trainee Guard/Booking Clerk

1961-1972 Guard/Booking Clerk

1963-1972 Blockman (TR equivalent of signalman). One of the first!

1964-1972 Member of Publicity and Shop Management Committees

1965-1972 Founder Member and Secretary of Traffic & Operating Committee. In 2005, guest speaker at Committee’s 40th anniversary function. No doubt he will be wheeled out again in two years for 50th anniversary!

1968-1972 Elected to main Council, the railway’s ‘management committee’. Unlike other preserved railways, it is the Society, not the Company, which determines policy and effectively controls the railway. When re-elected in 1971, came second in poll only to John Slater (editor of Railway Magazine), getting more votes than Jimmy Boyd!!

1970-1972 Press Officer (member of Press Club for 12 years). Handled all publicity for Society’s 21st anniversary celebrations.

Most of the above can be verified by reading editions of Talyllyn News from the period.


(See main CV for computer career)

1968-1971 Booking Clerk and Assistant Guard on days off from Talyllyn! (Mad or what!!)

1972 Guard (voluntary)

(then forced to abandon all railway volunteering due to problems at home in Birkenhead)

1977-1981 Guard//Booking Clerk (voluntary)

1981-1984 Fireman (single engines only) (Voluntary/Paid, depending on circumstances)

1982-1997 Guard/Booking Clerk (paid)

1983-1987 Signalman (paid). Made redundant by automation! Subsequently re-qualified as Rhiw Goch signalman for shortish period in early 2000s.

1982-1983 Blaenau Ffestiniog Station Master (paid). Set up station ready for opening, in conjunction with Sean Britton, who was his day off relief.

1982-1983 Father Christmas!! (Voluntary) First trip, they stuck a cushion up his tunic to fatten him up a bit – he got jammed between the Pullman seat backs in the Obs!

1982-1986 First-ever resident warden of old Minffordd Hostel (voluntary). Bit like having a lunatic running an asylum! Felt more like resident psychiatrist!

1985-1988 Class B Controller (paid)

1988-1995 Class A Controller (paid). Controlled all three days of both 1990 and 1993 Galas on his own (apart from evenings). Lapsed himself in 1995 due to time spent on computer work preventing him getting out enough to be as familiar with latest developments as a controller needs to be.