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.
Shrewsbury and Ludlow Railway—­probably the youngest railway manager recorded.  Ten years later the Shrewsbury railway was acquired by the London and North-Western company, and Findlay, to use his own words, “was taken over with the rest of the rolling stock.”  This was how his London and North-Western railway career began.  He was a tall, portly man of fine presence, distinguished by a large measure of strong, plain, homely commonsense, an absence of prejudice, a great calmness of judgment, and a fearless frankness of speech.  His sense of honour was very high, and he impressed upon the service of which he was the executive head that the word of the London and North-Western Railway must always be its bond.  “Be slow to promise and quick to perform,” was his guiding precept.  A born organiser and administrator, he knew how to select his men.  Before Parliamentary Committees he was the best of witnesses, always cool and resourceful, with great command of temper, full of knowledge, and blest with a ready wit.  His services as witness and expert adviser were in great request by railway companies.  At the long Board of Trade Inquiry in connection with the Railway and Canal Traffic Act and Railway Rates and Charges, in 1889, he was the principal railway witness and was under examination and cross-examination for eight consecutive days.  He had a real love for Ireland, was partly Irish himself, his father being Scotch and his mother Irish—­a fine blend.  Fishing was his chief recreation and this often brought him to the lakes and rivers of Ireland.  He asked, was I the son of William Tatlow of the Midland Railway, whom he had met a good many years before on some coal rates question?  On my saying, Yes, he was pleased to know that I belonged to a railway family; and said what a fine service the great railway service was, how absorbing the work and what scope it afforded for ambition and ability.  He asked about my railway experience, was amused at my reason for leaving Derby and the Midland, and interested at hearing of my work with Mr. Wainwright, whom he had known and esteemed.  He was sure I had learned nothing but good from him.  I was able, and very glad, of course, to tell Mr. Findlay with what interest Bailey and I had listened for several days to his evidence at Westminster Hall at the Railway Rates Inquiry, and how much we had profited by it.  This led to some talk on the great rates question, of which he was a master.  I felt he was just a bit surprised to find that I was rather well informed upon it, which made me not a little proud.  Altogether it was a memorable night, and left me with a feeling of elation such as I had experienced in the meetings I had in Glasgow some years before with Mr. John Burns and Mr. John Walker.  How little I thought then, that in less than two years I should follow Mr. Findlay’s remains to the grave.

[Sir George Findlay:  findlay.jpg]

Between the London and North-Western and the Midland Great-Western much good feeling existed.  They were natural allies, both greatly interested in the trade and prosperity of Ireland, and of the port of Dublin in particular.  As time went on many matters of mutual interest brought me into close relation with the North-Western general manager and other prominent officers of the company.

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Fifty Years of Railway Life in England, Scotland and Ireland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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