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Frederick Austen Hadow

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Frederick Austen Hadow (1873-1932)

1932 Obituary[1]


The news of the sudden death of Sir Frederick Austen Hadow, C.V.O., late Chief Commissioner of Railways, India, at his home at Old Alresford, Hants., on May 11 last, will be heard with regret by a wide circle in the profession. The son of the Rev. G. R. Hadow, late Rector of Wylye, Wilts., Frederick Austen Hadow was born at Crayford, Kent, on September 5, 1873. He received his general education at Branksome House, Godaiming, and at Charterhouse, and entered the Royal Indian Engineering College, Coopers Hill, in 1892, passing out in 1895. After a year’s training under Sir Alexander Binnie and Messrs. David Hay and Maurice Fitzmaurice, he proceeded to India, in October, 1896, to take up the appointment of assistant engineer on the construction of the Brahmaputra-Sultanpur branch line, 60 miles in length, of the Eastern Bengal State Railway. Some years later he was placed in charge of extension works on the Cooch Behar State Railway and afterwards served as assistant engineer on the Dharlla Bridge works of the Kaunia-Dhuhri extension of the Bengal State Railway. In 1901, he was promoted to the rank of executive engineer of the Dhuhri Division of the extension and was placed in charge of the completion works. From 1902 to 1904 he served as assistant manager of the Eastern Bengal State Railway, and, on his return from a year’s leave, he was appointed assistant secretary to the Indian Railway Board in 1905, a position he continued to occupy until 1909. While in this capacity he worked immediately under the Director of Railway Construction and examined all projects for new railways in India and schemes for the improvement of existing railways.

In 1909, Mr. Hadow became manager and engineer-in-chief of the Bhavnagar-Gondal-Junagad-Porbandar Railway, Kathiawar, Bombay Presidency. He had charge of 459 miles of open line and of two branch lines, respectively 30 miles and 18 miles in length, which were under construction and of two other lines under survey Tn 1911 he was appointed deputy manager (deputy agent) of the North-Western Railway, and after serving in this capacity for five years, became secretary of the Indian Railway Board. In 1919, however, he returned to the North-Western Railway as agent, a rank equivalent to that of general manager. He was called upon to deal with several difficult situations brought about by general unrest in the Punjab and a strike of the employees of the line in 1920. He also had to undertake the reconditioning of the railway following upon the heavy military traffic necessitated by the Afghan War and the operations in Waziristan in 1919. In recognition of his services he was made a C.V.O. in 1922. In 1924 he returned to the Indian Railway Board as member, and was knighted two years later. When Sir Clement Hindley, with whom he had worked in close collaboration, returned to this country in 1928, Sir Austen succeeded him as Chief Commissioner of Railways ; it had been his intention to retire, but the Government of India persuaded him to remain for a year or two longer. He relinquished the position of Chief Commissioner in 1930, but, unfortunately, did not live long to enjoy his retirement. Sir Austen, who was only 58 at the time of his death, became an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1901, and a full member in 1911."

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