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Willoughby Charles Furnivall

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Willoughby Charles Furnivall (1837-1901)

1901 Obituary [1]

WILLOUGHBY CHARLES FURNIVALL, born in 1837, obtained his early engineering experience on the Great Western Railway of Canada, and in making preliminary surveys for railways in the Western States of America.

About the year 1860 he was appointed as District Engineer on the Sind, Punjab and Delhi Railway, and was placed in charge of the construction of part of that line.

In 1867, when Lord Mayo, then Viceroy of India, determined that the Rajputana Railway from Delhi and Agra to the great Salt Lake at Sarnbhur should be constructed as a State line by the Indian Public Works Department, Mr. Furnivall joined that Department, and was placed in charge of the construction at first of the Delhi Section, and subsequently of the Agra Section in addition. His staff was largely composed of engineers who had little or no previous railway experience. His service to the State was thus of great value in training a body of engineers who were the earliest representatives of the important railway branch of the Indian Public Works Department. Some of those who began their railway work under him have held, or are now holding, the highest posts in that branch.

On the completion of the Rajputana Railway Mr. Furnivall was attached to the Government of India as Under Secretary in the railway branch, and afterwards he went as Joint Secretary to the Government of the North West Provinces at a time when the local railways were administered by the local government.

Subsequently he had charge of the construction of the Bengal Central Railway, and of the extensions of the Nizam’s State Railway, as well as of the working of the open line. Mr. Furnivall left India in 1890 after nearly thirty years of valuable and important work in that country, and returned to England full of health and energy.

He soon found work which would have taxed the energies of much younger men, and until quite recently he travelled frequently to Italy and Sardinia, in connection with the supervision of important works and mines.

Mr. Furnivall died at Broadstairs on the 16th May, 1901. His abilities as an engineer, and his qualities as a friend and a chief, endeared him greatly to those who knew him, and specially to those who had served under him. To them his sudden death is a great loss.

He was elected a Member of the Institution on the 2nd December, 1862.

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