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Alexander George Cox

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Alexander George Cox

1930 Obituary[1]


The death of Mr. Alexander George Cox, which occurred in London on November 7, after a brief illness, removes a well-known figure from the ranks of railway-engineering pioneers in China. Mr. Cox, who spent practically all his active life in China, and was for some years engineer-in-chief of the Canton-Hankow Railway, was born on September 28, 1865. He received preliminary scientific training at the Commercial College, Northword, South Australia, and, in 1882, entered upon a pupilage of three years under Messrs. Seaver and Shaw. He remained with Mr. J. Seaver for a further year, during which period he was engaged on work at Adelaide and Sydney.

Mr. Cox’s connection with China, extending for nearly lorty years, began in 1887, when he went out to Shanghai as assistant to Mr. W. M. Dowdall. Some ten months later, he joined the Imperial Railways of North China as assistant engineer, and was promoted to the rank of resident engineer in 1891, and to that of district engineer in October, 1893. In this latter capacity he was placed in full charge of the construction of 80 miles of railway line, including a bridge, 2,200 ft. in length, over the Lan River. Subsequently he supervised the construction of the Tientsin to Pekin Railway, comprising 80 miles of double line. On his return to China in 1900, after a year’s leave, he was appointed district engineer on the construction of 38 miles of single line, including a bridge, 2,600 ft. in length, over the Tah Lin River. From 1901 to 1902, he was engineer-in-chief of the 274-mile stretch of railway line from Tung-Chou, near Pekin, to Shan-Hai-Kuan, on the Manchurian border, while the railways were under British military administration. On the reversion to the Imperial Chinese Railways Administration, Mr. Cox was appointed district engineer under Mr. C. W. Kinder, engineer-in-chief of the system, and was stationed at Ying-Kow. He continued to occupy the position of district engineer until 1906, and while acting in this capacity supervised the construction of 175 miles of single line.

Mr. Cox was appointed chief divisional engineer (Outside Wall) of the Imperial Railways of Northern China, in 1907, and held this post until 1910, when he became chief assistant engineer of the system and moved from Ying-Kow, where he had been stationed for several years, to Tientsin. Meanwhile, the line from Tung-Chou and Ying-Kow had been extended to Mukden. In 1914, Mr. Cox relinquished his position in the north to take up the appointment of Engineer-in-Chief of the Canton-Hankow Railway (Hupeh-Hunan Section) in Central China. The Chuchow-Changsha portion of the line had been completed by Chinese engineers in 1911, and Mr. Cox, upon his arrival, took charge of the construction of the Wuchang-Chuchow section, much of which lay over difficult country. This line, which is 260 miles in length, was opened to traffic on January 1, 1921. Mr. Cox retired from the position of engineer-in-chief of the railway in 1924 after holding that position for ten years, and was succeeded by Mr. J. H. Williams, who was previously district engineer at Wuchang. Mr. Cox became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on December 4, 1894, and was transferred to full membership on April 19, 1904."

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