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William Patrick Andrew

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William Patrick Andrew (c1807-1887), director of the East Indian Railway and founder of the Scinde, Punjab and Delhi Railway


1887 Obituary [1]

Sir William P. Andrew, C.I.E., of St. Bernard's and Chalesfield, whose death in his 81st year occurred on Friday last, was born in Aberdeenshire, and was educated at Edinburgh and Oxford.

Sir William Andrew's career began in this country more than forty years ago by the publication of a work on Indian railways, which was dedicated to the Court of Directors of the East India Company, and allowed his capacities for engineering to become known.

He served in early life for a short period in India and submitted to the Home Government his schemes for the defence of India, which afterwards met with approval.

He was founder of the Scinde, Punjaub, and Delhi Railway Company, and took an early and prominent part in promoting railway and telegraphic communication with India.

Among the works of which be was the author were "Indian Railways," 1846; an essay on the Scinde Railway in relation to the routes to India.

In 1856 be concluded an arrangement with the Home Government for the establishment of telegraphic communication with India, and in the following year be advocated on strategic grounds the construction of lines to the Bolan and the Khyber.

In 1873 be led the discussion on the question of the gauge of Indian railways - a subject he had already treated in pamphlets - at the meeting of the Institution of Civil Engineers, when a resolution in favour of his views with regard to a gauge of 5ft. 6in. was passed by a large majority

In treating of the connection of the Khyber and Bolan Passes with the railway system of India, the 'Times October 13th, 1878, said:- "Had the views so persistently advocated by Mr. Andrew, repeatedly brought forward by us, been adopted at the commencement of the struggle last October, as we then ventured to insist upon, vast sums would have been spared in the hire of transport, and we should have been spared the ignominy of feeling that a British army, nominally on active service, has occupied five weeks in covering less than seventy miles."

The great scheme of Sir William Andrew's life was the Euphrates Valley Railway; and though he failed in recommending this project, the impetus he gave to railway communication in India may be estimated from the fact that in 1848, before a mile of railway was open, the external trade of India was £25,000,000; in 1883, with 10,000 miles of railway the external trade was £147,837,920.

He never ceased, from 1856 to the day of his death, to urge the advantage of the Euphrates Valley line as an alternative to that of the Red Sea.

In 1879 Sir W. Andrew was chairman of the Stafford House Committee for promoting the construction of a railway from the Persian Gulf to Constantinople and the Mediterranean. Sir W. Andrew to the last took an interest in everything relating to the East and he was a Fellow of many scientific societies.

He was knighted in 1882, when he received the Companionship of the Order of the Indian Empire.

He married, first, his cousin, Alice, daughter of Captain Andrew - she died in 1840 - and, secondly, in 1843, Anne, daughter of Mr. Raeburn.


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