Reid Antony Railton was the son of a Manchester stockbroker and was educated at Rugby School and Manchester University. He joined Leyland Motors in 1917 where he worked with J.G. Parry-Thomas on the Leyland Eight luxury car. He left in 1922 to join Arab where he was chief designer.
In 1927 he moved to Brooklands working for Thomson and Taylor becoming their Technical Director with responsibility for John Cobb's 1933 Napier Railton car which took the Outer Circuit record in 1933 and Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird Land Speed Record cars of 1931 to 1935. His greatest achievement was probably designing the Railton Mobil Special car with which John Cobb set the Land Speed Record at 394.7 mph in 1947. He also tuned the Hudson chassis used on the Railton car, named after him.
As well as cars he designed high speed boats including the jet powered Crusader Speedboat in which John Cobb was killed in 1952 while travelling in excess of 200 mph attempting to break the Water Speed Record.
In 1939 he moved to California to work for the Hall-Scott Motor Company. He died in Berkeley, California in 1977 at the age of 82.
- The Motor Men. Peter King. Quiller Press, London 1989. ISBN 1-870948-23-8