Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland.

They were good to me when I left Glasgow.  I was presented with a valuable testimonial at a banquet at which Mr. Wainwright presided and at which my good friend, G. G., made a fine speech.  It would be idle for me to say that the warm congratulations of my friends, the prospects of change, and the sense of new responsibilities, did not delight and excite me.  But a strong measure of regret was mixed with the pleasurable draught.  I was greatly attached to my chief, and keenly felt the parting from him.  He felt it too.  When it came to the last handshake words failed us both.

The Nestor of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway was Andrew Galloway, the chief engineer.  A Nestor he looked with his fine, strong, grave features, abundant hair, and flowing beard.  He was a very able engineer, but had many old-fashioned ways, one of which was an objection to anyone but himself opening his letters, and when absent from his office they would at times lie for several days untouched.  If remonstrated with he was quite unmoved.  He had a theory that most letters, if left long enough unanswered, answered themselves.  In me he always showed a fatherly interest, and sometimes chided me for talking too freely and writing too much.  His last words when he bade me farewell, and gave me his blessing were, to remember always to think twice before I spoke once.  On the very day I was assured of my appointment as general manager for the County Down Railway I discarded the tall silk hat and the black morning coat, which for some time had been my usual business garb, as it was of many serious-minded aspiring young business men in Glasgow.  Mr. Galloway asked me the reason of the change, which he was quick to observe.  “Well,” said I, “I have secured my position, so it’s all right now.”  Never since, except in London, have I renounced the liberty I then assumed; the bowler and the jacket suit became my regular business wear, and the other habiliments of severe respectability were relegated to churchgoing, weddings, christenings, and funerals and other formal occasions.


In Chapter IX., at the outset of my Glasgow and South-Western service, I reviewed the public Acts of Parliament passed since the beginning of railways down to the year 1875, and it may not be amiss to notice now the further railway legislation enacted up to 1885.

The first measure of importance was the Railway Returns (Continuous Brakes) Act, 1878.  The travelling public had for some years been sensitive regarding railway accidents which, though infrequent, nevertheless occurred much oftener then than now, and were more serious in their results.  The matter of their reduction began to receive the serious attention of railway engineers and inventors, and among many appliances suggested was the system of continuous brakes.  In June, 1875, a great contest of brakes, extending

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