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British Industrial History

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Edmund Phillips Hannaford

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Edmund Phillips Hannaford (1834-1902)

1903 Obituary [1]

EDMUND PHILLIPS HANNAFORD, who for a brief period represented the Canadian Dominion on the Council of the Institution, died at Montreal on the 18th August, 1902.

Born at Stoke Gabriel, Devonshire, on the 12th December, 1834, he began work under Mr. I. K. Brunel as a draughtsman at the age of 17, and was engaged for four years on the engineering staff of the South Devon Railway.

Going on to Canada in 1857, he engaged in private practice for about six months, and then joined the engineering staff of the Grand Trunk Railway, which at that time was in process of construction and consolidation, by the amalgamation of the various lines which were to form eventually that great organization.

From 1857 to 1866 he acted as general Assistant Engineer in the service of the Grand Trunk, and in the latter year was given full charge of the engineering department, and made Engineer of all that Company’s lines west of Montreal.

In 1869 he became Chief Engineer of the whole of the lines, which position he held (with the exception of the Great Western Railway system) until he retired from the Company’s service in 1896.

Mr. Hannaford was one of the foremost railway engineers in America, and during his long tenure of office on the Grand Trunk Railway, initiated and carried to a successful issue many important undertakings connected with the development of that great system.

He was Chief Engineer of the International Bridge across the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Canada, and Buffalo, N.Y. (1870-73), Chief Engineer of the construction of the Montreal and Champlain Junction Railway, United States and Canada Railway, and the Jacques Cartier Union Railway, subsidiary lines, as well as of numerous minor extensions.

The General Offices building, Point St. Charles, Toronto Union station (1873), Stratford mechanical shops, Bonaventure passenger station, Montreal, and most of the locomotive sheds on the line, as well as many other important station works, were built under his directions, including the renewal in iron of all the original Howe truss bridges.

One of Mr. Hannaford’s special works was the arranging of details for changing the gauge of the railway from 5 feet 6 inches to the standard gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches. This was done in three sections of 216 miles, 421 miles, and 542 miles respectively; and the arrangements were worked out so thoroughly that in the longest of these sections there was an interruption to traffic of only fifteen hours.

During Mr. Hannaford‘s administration of the engineering department, the permanent way of the railway developed into one of the best on the American continent. He paid special attention to the maintenance of the Victoria tubular bridge, with which he was familiar in every detail, and under his recommendation and direction, substantial improvements were made to the structure, changes rendered necessary by the substitution of coal for wood as fuel for the locomotives, and to provide for the greatly increased loads over those the bridge was originally intended to carry.

In 1893 Mr. Hannaford was elected President of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. He was elected a Member of this Institution December, 1887, and a Member of Council on the 1901.

1902 Obituary [2]

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