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George Lowe Reid

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George Lowe Reid (1829-1907)

1908 Obituary [1]

GEORGE LOWE REID was born at Dumfermline, N.B., on the 6th April, 1829, his father, Mr. David Reid, being the fourth son of Mr. George Reid of Tilliery, Kinross-shire.

On completing his education at the Glasgow High School, the subject of this notice was articled for 5 years to the late Mr. Neil Robson of Glasgow, under whom he was employed chiefly on railway work.

In 1852 Mr. Reid obtained an appointment as a Divisional Resident Engineer on the Great Western Railway of Canada, then under construction, and took up his duties in Canada in April of that year.

In November he was transferred to the headquarters at Hamilton, Ontario, and was promoted to the post of Associate Chief Engineer. The main line was opened for traffic in 1854, forming with the New York Central and the Michigan Central Railway the first direct route between New York and Chicago, and in the same year Mr. Reid was appointed Chief Engineer of the Great Western system.

He held this appointment until 1872, and during this period of 18 years, he superintended the construction of a number of branch lines, renewed most of the original wooden bridges in stone and iron, and carried out, as Chief Engineer of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway, the extension of that line from Grand Rapids to Lake Michigan.

He also erected at Hamilton for the Great Western company a rolling mill for re-rolling the old rails of the main line and branches. The gauge of the Great Western system being 5 feet 6 inches, much inconvenience was experienced at the frontier termini, where the gauge of the United States lines was 4 feet 8 1/4 inches, and accordingly a third rail was laid down on the Great Western main line, under Mr. Reid's superintendence, whereby passenger and goods trains passed in 1866 for the first time direct between New York and Chicago. The cars were transported across the Detroit River on a specially-constructed car ferry-boat.

Between 1870 and 1872, Mr. Reid built the loop line between Glencoe on the main line and Fort Erie on the Niagara River, opposite Buffalo, a distance of 145 miles, affording direct communication between the latter city and Detroit.

In December, 1872, he returned to England, and was appointed Consulting Engineer to the Great Western Railway of Canada.

Mr. Reid left Canada with many tributes of respect and affection from those with whom he had come into contact during his long residence, and to whom his sterling personal qualities had greatly endeared him. Although he visited Ceylon and Jamaica in 1875 and 1883 respectively, in connection with certain railway enterprises in which he was interested, he relinquished the active pursuit of his profession in the former. year, and thenceforward he spent much of his time travelling in Palestine, Egypt' and Italy. He was widely read in theology, art, and the literature of travel.

Mr. Reid died at Brighton on the 7th December, 1907, in his seventy-ninth year. He was the father of the late Mr H. D. A. Reid and of Mr. W. N. H. Reid, of the Indian Public Works Department, both Members of The Institution.

He was elected a Member of The Institution on the 7th April, 1868.

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