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James Arthur Anderson (1843-1899)

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James Arthur Anderson (1843-1899)

1900 Obituary [1]

JAMES ARTHUR ANDERSON, eldest son of the late Mr. R. H. Anderson, of Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, was born on the 31st July, 1843.

After graduating in arts and engineering at Trinity College, Dublin, hew as appointed an Assistant Engineer on the East Indian Railway in 1866, and remained in the service of that Company for five years, until, on the completion of the Chord line, the staff was reduced.

Mr. Anderson was then appointed an Assistant Engineer, first grade, in the Public Works Department ot India in December, 1871, and was posted to the survey of the Northern Bengal State Railway, which, being divided from the Eastern Bengal Railway Company’s 5-feet 6-inch gauge line by the River Ganges or Pudda (still unbridged), it was determined to construct to the metre gauge.

In December, 1876, Mr. Anderson attained the rank of Executive Engineer, fourth grade.

He was on special leave from July, 1877, to January, 1878, and in June, 1882, when his substantive rank was only that of Executive Engineer, second grade, he was appointed Superintendent of Works on the Northern Bengal State Railway.

On his return from furlough at the end of 1883 he joined the Sind Pishin State Railway, and eighteen months later was transferred to the Indus Valley Railway.

In July, 1884, the Eastern Bengal Railway, which had been acquired by the State, and the Northern Bengal State Railway were amalgamated under the style of the Eastern Bengal State Railway, of which Mr. Anderson was appointed Superintendent of Way and Works on his return from furlough in January, 1888.

From October, 1890, till July, 1892, he was Engineer-in-Chief of the Kashmir Railway Survey, and then rejoined the Eastern Bengal State Railway as Superintendent of Way and Works.

Between 1892 and 1896 his promotions covered the three classes of superintending engineer rank. He was gazetted a Chief Engineer in 1897, and during six years, until his retirement on attaining the age of 55 in 1898, he held the position of Engineer-in- Chief of that line, with which he had been connected since his first appointment to State railways, and during most of his career.

His retirement from Government service did not, however, sever Mr. Anderson’s connection with India. He was at once appointed Chief Engineer on the construction of the Bengal-Dooars Railway.

Later on he received instructions to take over entire charge of the line as Manager and Chief Engineer, and it was in the course of transfer of the charge of open line, hitherto held by Mr. E. E. A. Kuster, to Mr. Anderson that their boat was swept away and both these gentlemen were drowned in, the suddenly flooded waters of the River Teesta on the 25th September, 1899.

Mr. Anderson had sometimes said that he would not care to live when he could no longer work, but that time seemed many years ahead, for he was in the prime of intellectual and physical vigour. Full of life and energy, he did everything - work, tennis, shooting, or whatever it might be - with a will, and did it well. An engineer and a sportsman, he was also a man of scholarly tastes and wide reading.

A large saving in the annual expenditure in his department of the Eastern Bengal State Railway was directly due to his ability as an engineer, to his care in details, and to what was almost an instinct for economy in work. The revenues of the railway reaped the benefit, and Mr. Anderson’s sterling value as an Engineer-in- Chief was fully appreciated by the Manager of the line and by the Government of India. Straightforward, capable, warm-hearted and high-minded, he won the esteem and affection both of his colleagues in other departments and of the engineers who served under him. The youngest of these might be sure that an opinion or suggestion would be welcomed and readily discussed, and Mr. Anderson treated his staff with the most generous consideration. The members of a railway community in India, especially those who live in small up-country stations, depend largely on one another socially as well as officially, and to the good fellowship which existed among the staff of the Eastern Bengal State Railway the sympathetic influence of Mr. Anderson contributed in no small measure.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 4th December, 1883.

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