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James Rhind

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James Rhind (1848-1888)

1890 Obituary [1]

JAMES RHIND was born at Glasgow on the 31st of May, 1848, and served his apprenticeship as a Mechanical Engineer with Messrs. J. and G. Thomson, engineers and shipbuilders of that city, from 1861 to 1866. He was afterwards employed in the locomotive department of the Caledonian Railway, and at the Lancefield Dock, Glasgow.

In 1873 he went to India, and served on the Holkar State Railway, and afterwards on the Rajputana State Railway in the locomotive department, receiving certificates of good service from his superior officers.

He returned to England in April, 18i6, and for some time improved his knowledge of locomotive work in the workshops of Dubs and Co, Glasgow.

Being repeatedly urged by his friends to do so, he returned to India, and was employed with Alexander Izat on the Dhond- Manmad State Railway, and gave such proof of ability and thorough gasp of his work, that in 1880 he was appointed Locomotive Superintendent of the Bhavnagar-Gondal State Railway in Kathiawar.

While holding this appointment, with very limited appliances, he built the whole of the workshops, put up the machinery, and fitted up the entire rolling-stock for the line. Mr. Rhind managed the locomotive department on this line, under Mr. W. C. Rennie, and afterwards under the late Mr. Henry Dangerfield, who highly appreciated his abilities and work.

In 1883 Mr. Alexander Izat, on taking charge of the construction of the Bengal and North Western Railway, at once applied to Government for and obtained the services of Mr. Rhind as Locomotive Superintendent. Here again the latter did excellent work, and besides equipping the line with rolling-stock, built a number of steamers and flats for the Ganges Ferry, at Digha Ghat, near Bankipore, and also for the crossing of the Gogra River, near Ajoodhia.

In August, 1887, he came home on three months’ privilege leave, and seemed to be in perfect health. During this leave he inspected work being done in Glasgow in the preparation of a flotilla to transport loaded wagons across the Ganges between Sonepore and Digha Ghat. These steamers he put together at Sonepore on his return to India, the various parts having been shipped from Glasgow to Calcutta. They have greatly facilitated the goods traffic at this ferry.

In September, 1888, there was an unprecedented fall of rain in the district served by the Uska branch of the Bengal and North Western Railway. Certain protective and irrigation embankments were swept away, the country for miles was submerged and a small bridge on the railway carried away.

In the absence of Mr. Izat, the Agent and Chief Engineer, at a Railway Conference in Simla, Mr. Rhind, accompanied by the traffic superintendent, at once proceeded from Gorakhpur by special train to arrange for repairing the line and carrying on the traffic. After a hard day’s work Mr. Rhind was walking back from the breach in the railway to his carriage, when he suddenly dropped down dead. This was on the 11th of September, and the cause of death was heart disease, the existence of which was altogether unknown and unsuspected.

Mr. Rhind was a very hard-working, energetic officer, and showed conspicuous ability in the discharge of his duties as a Locomotive Superintendent. He was eminently trustworthy, very careful never to promise more than he could perform ; accurate in all his estimates and returns, full of resource in the presence of difficulties, and economical in the conduct of his work. He was cautious in forming his opinions, deliberate in judgment, habitually calm in his demeanour, and measured in speech. He ruled his subordinates firmly but very kindly, and by his quiet, unassuming manner endeared himself to all those around him. His loss, both as an officer and friend, was very deeply felt. He was buried at Gorakhpur, a special train being run up the line for the purpose of bringing all those who wished to attend the funeral.

One of the leading Indian papers in noticing his sudden and untimely death said:- 'In a professional sense, we are told, he was a man whom it will be almost impossible to replace, whilst as an individual he was widely known as he was everywhere respected.'

In April, 1886, he was promoted to be Captain in the Volunteer Forces of India, in the Presidency of Bengal, and held that rank until death put an endt o a promising and eminently useful career.

Mr. Rhind was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 1st of May, 1883.

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