Edward Wilson was a civil and locomotive engineer noted for his work on the development of railways in the nineteenth century. He was involved with the design and construction of the Bewdley to Kidderminster Loop Line.
Wilson was born on 12 August 1820 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was the son of John Wilson, a civil engineer and was apprenticed to his father at Edinburgh Waterworks and then articled to Stark and Fulton, mechanical engineers in Glasgow. Early in his career he worked at the Railway Foundry in Leeds for the locomotive manufacturing company E. B. Wilson and Co[note 1].
Wilson was engaged on the Caledonian Canal under Jackson and Beane, the Glasgow and Ayr Railway and the Hull and Selby Railway. In 1847 he was appointed Locomotive Superintendent of the York and North Midland Railway and in 1853 Engineer-in-Chief on the Midland and Great Western Railway in Ireland.
From 1856 he was Engineer of the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway and when that was incorporated into the West Midland Railway in 1860, he was appointed Chief Engineer there. He settled in Worcester and worked on designs for local railways including the Bewdley to Kidderminster Loop Line. Following the amalgamation of the WMR with the Great Western Railway in 1863, he established a consulting engineering practice in 1864, Edward Wilson & Co., at 9 DeanWilliam Dean, Chief Locomotive Engineer of the Great Western Railway 1977-1902’s Yard, Westminster. He continued to work for the GWRGreat Western Railway but also advised the Great Eastern Railway and the Metropolitan Railway.
Wilson gave evidence to Parliamentary hearings and advised the Royal Commissioners in Ireland. He was appointed a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers but not a member of the Civils. Among his best known works still standing are Liverpool Street Station, London and the 1870 road bridge over the River Severn at Stourport. He died on 26 August 1877 and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Involvement with the Severn Valley Railway
Wilson was latterly Chief Engineer of the OWWOxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway and subsequently of the WMR. Locomotives used on the Severn Valley Branch in commercial service during the opening years of the Severn Valley Branch were principally provided by those companies.
While with the OWWOxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway, Wilson drew up the first plans for the Bewdley to Kidderminster Loop Line in 1860 on behalf of the WMR and SVR companies, powers for which were approved in The West Midland and Severn Valley Companies Act of 1 August 1861. He subsequently prepared costings for the GWRGreat Western Railway in 1863 and 1834 after they assumed responsibility for the Act. The powers lapsed in 1865 and in 1867 new plans were drawn up by Michael Lane, Chief Civil Engineer of the GWRGreat Western Railway. These followed a similar route to Wilson's although using a somewhat different gradient profile and a longer tunnel. Powers for construction of the Loop using Lane's plan with a five year deadline were granted by the GWRGreat Western Railway Act of 31 July 1868.
In 1872 the GWRGreat Western Railway proposed constructing a railway between Bewdley and Stourbridge instead of the Loop to Kidderminster. Plans for this ultimately unsuccessful scheme were prepared by Wilson and GWRGreat Western Railway Engineer W.G. Owen.
When the Loop Line contract was let in 1874, Wilson was named in the contract as the ‘Engineer’, with a clause that if he died, the ‘Engineer-in chief’ to the GWRGreat Western Railway would assume the role. Wilson's death came some 10 months before the Loop Line opened; resident Engineer Mr Tyrell saw the project through to completion
- Edward Brown Wilson, the owner of E. B. Wilson and Co, was not a relation.
- Graces Guide