Mike Etwell was born in 1942. He undertook a Graduate Trainee sandwich course at Swindon Works between 1961 and 1966, before becoming a Quality Control Engineer/Chief Foreman Plymouth Laira Depot in 1966. He then worked as an Assistant Locomotive Engineer in the West of England Division at Bristol. Between 1971 and 1974 he was the Regional Plant Engineer at the Civil Engineers (Office?) at Paddington. He then moved to be the Depot Engineer at Cardiff Canton from 1974 to 1979. Staying in Cardiff he served as the Divisional Locomotive Engineer between 1979 and 1983 when he moved to Derby as Freight Design Engineer, serving in this capacity until 1990. He moved to European Passenger Services (EPS, becoming Eurostar (UK) Ltd in 1996) in 1990 and was appointed as the Engineering Director until 1996 when he became the Production Director, before leaving the company in 1998. He then joined Halcrow Group and worked as their Associate Director between 1998 and 2003. In 2005 he joined the LRPT Safety Assessment Project team at Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation as O&M Director until 2007.