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James Pigg

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James Pigg (c1857-1925)

1925 Obituary [1]

JAMES PIGG died on the 8th July, 1925, aged 68 years, after a few days' illness and an unsuccessful operation.

He joined the Institution as an Associate in 1893, became an Associate Member in 1899, and a Member in 1907.

His association with electrical work began with some of the earliest applications of electricity when, as a boy, he started work in the signals department of the Stockton and Darlington Railway. By steady application he rose to the position of inspector of a district, obtaining the elements of his theoretical training by evening study at the Durham College of Science, now Armstrong College, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

After the amalgamation which formed the North-Eastern Railway, when the company began, in 1891, to introduce electric lighting and power, he was selected to supervise the work. He was intimately connected with all electrical developments on that railway from that time until his retirement, and from 1901 held the position of Electrical Superintendent. During that period the electrical work on the railway developed from an annual consumption of one million units to 28 times that amount. Although the heavier applications of electrical energy formed the major portion of his later work, he still retained a keen interest in railway signalling. This was to some extent inherited, for his father was a signal inspector, and it was characteristic that, when in 1898 he published a book on "Railway Block Signalling," the title page carried the dedication "To the Author's Father, an I.O.U." This book was the first in this country dealing exclusively with the principles of train signalling and apparatus for ensuring safety.

He contributed frequently to the electrical journals, and read several papers before the Institution in London and at Newcastle-on-Tyne. His masterly paper on the problems of locomotive cab-signalling will be long remembered by those who heard it delivered. He served on the Committee of the Newcastle Local Section (now North-Eastern Centre) for several periods, and was chairman of the Section during the session 1907-8.

He retired from active work on the railway at the end of 1922 after 51 3/4 years of service, and his death occurred when the centenary of this, the first, railway was being celebrated. He was a shining example of a man who, having risen to a high position by his own unaided effort, was still quite unspoiled by success. It was said of him by one who was to some extent antagonistic to him in his earlier days, but who afterwards became one of his staff, "I never before had such a fine man as my chief."

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