Lord William P. Bradshaw, known as Lord Bill Bradshaw, was born in 1937. He became as a Porter on Slough station before becoming a British Rail: Western Region Management Trainee. In 1960 he was appointed as Divisional Manager at Liverpool, and subsequently Chief Operating Manager at Crewe. Between 1983 and 1986 he served as the General Manager of British Rail: Western Region.

He studied the effects of privatisation on utilities at Wolfson College, University of Oxford in 1985. He then became Professor of Transport Studies at the University of Salford from 1987 to 1993. He worked as the Chairman of Ulsterbus from 1985 to 1991. He acted as a Special Advisor to the Transport Select Committee from 1993 to 1997 and was a Non-Executive Director of the Strategic Rail Authority from 1997 to 2003.

In 1999 he entered the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat life peer in 1999.