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Middleton Rayne

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Middleton Rayne (1830-1882)

1883 Obituary [1]

MR. MIDDLETON RAYNE was born at Rayne’s Park, near Kingston-on-Thames, on the 1st November, 1830.

It was assumed he would devote himself to farming, and after an excellent early training in the school of Mr. Whitehead at Ramsgate, he entered the Iloddesdon Training School (Herts), where he took the first prize, a gold medal, for general proficiency. He afterwards developed a great taste for mechanics and engineering, and in 1858 he determined to make engineering his profession.

In 1859 he went to India on the staff of the Great Southern of India Railway in a subordinate position, and worked his way, under Mr. G. B. Bruce and Mr. M. W. Carr (M. Inst. C.E.), to an appointment as Executive Engineer in 1863.

He was then given charge of a district, and remained on the Great Southern of India Railway for seven years in all. The works of that railway were executed departmentally, and Mr. Rayne had engineering and executive charge of the construction of bridges over the Noycl and Ambrawatty rivers. These bridges have an aggregate of 1,300 feet of waterway, and are works of some importance.

In 1866 Mr. Rayne - employed for that purpose by Messrs. Waring Brothers and Hunt - examined the route of the then projected Indus Valley Railway and reported in detail thereon.

He was then specially employed by the same firm to erect the ironwork of the girder bridges on their Jubbulpore contract. This work had some features of novelty and demanded judgment, skill and energy in no ordinary degree for its successful accomplishment. Spread over a distance of some 200 miles, through jungle without roads, numerous gaps had to be spanned by girders, in twelve months. Among many other openings, were fourteen of 110 feet span each and 40 to 50 feet high. The peculiarity of the work lay in the method to be adopted in order to economise time without incurring extravagant cost. The larger girders were for the most part erected complete, in pairs with cross-girders attached, on the embankment clear of the bridge and launched into position by a method designed and executed by Mr. Rayne for this work, and explained by him in an interesting Paper published in 1867 among "Professional Papers on Indian Engineering."

In 1868 he went to the Punjab as Superintending Engineer on the Public Works Establishment of India. In this capacity and sometimes as officiating Chief-Engineer, he was occupied for eleven years in the construction of the Punjab Northern and Indus Valley State Railways departmentally. Among the more important works in the construction of which he was most intimately connected, were the bridges over the rivers Jhelum, Sutlej, and Chenab. The Lower Sutlej bridge was especially his; it has sixteen openings, each spanned by 250-feet girders, the piers resting each on three brick wells of 18 feet 9 inches outside and 8 feet 9 inches inside diameter, sunk, with their curbs, to a depth of 103 feet 6 inches below lowest water-level. The Chenab or Alexandra bridge, only a trifle under 2 miles in length, was opened by the Prince of Wales in January 1876.

When in 1879 the Indian Government determined to curtail their railway operations, and offered extraordinary inducements to the senior members of their Public Works Establishment to retire, Mr. Rayne, among others, returned to England, and was not actively engaged in the pursuit of his profession afterwards.

He had been suffering from cold and an affection of the throat for some days, but nothing serious was suspected until about forty-eight hours before his death, which occurred on the 9th of October last from inflammation of the brain.

During an active professional career extending over twenty years he had made many friends, and his comparatively early death will be deeply regretted by very many who knew him as an agreeable and accomplished companion, a true and loyal friend. By those who knew him most intimately his memory will be held especially dear for his eminently amiable and generous qualities.

Mr. Rayne was elected an Associate of the Institution in January 1868, and was transferred to the class of Members in November 1874.

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