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London & North Western Railway Society
LNWR Engineering Personailities

Edward Bayliss Thornhill M.I.C.E.

An old photo of Edward Bayliss Thornhill

Edward Bayliss Thornhill was born in London. He completed his engineering education at King’s College, London, and then took up a pupilage under Dr Pole.
He joined the LNWR on 1st September 1862 as an assistant in William Baker’s office. In 1864 he was appointed as Resident Engineer on the construction of the Middlewich Branch followed by various similar appointments, including the Ashby line, until 1st April 1873. Then he became an Assistant Engineer under William Baker working on construction of the North Dock at Garston until it opened in 1875.
On the death of William Baker, Francis Stevenson was promoted to Chief Engineer New Works and E.B.Thornhill took his place as Assistant Engineer New Works on 1st February 1879.
The Engineering and PW Departments were amalgamated under Francis Stevenson on 1st July 1886 and Thornhill’s title changed to Principal Assistant Engineer New Works. He was promoted to Chief Engineer from 1st March 1902 following the death of Francis Stevenson.
During 1905 he served on a sub—committee of the National Engineering Standards Committee defining the standard specifications and sections of bull—headed rail.
When the LNWR absorbed the North London Railway, he became Chief Engineer for that line as well from 1st February 1909. This only lasted a short time as he was relieved of most of his duties on 1st March pending his retirement on 30th September1909. Once retired, he continued as a consultant for a while.
E.B.Thornhill completed the Crewe Goods Avoiding lines and the Styal Loop and carried out some widening of the Euston approaches. He developed proposals for the new electrified line between Euston and Watford with a loop under Euston to avoid reversing. As part of this scheme there would be a new branch to Croxley Green. Work began on sections of the Euston—Watford line but was constrained first by finance and then the War, not being completed until many years after his retirement. Other new works included the Red Wharf Bay Branch and the Stalbridge Dock at Garston.
E.B.Thornhill was the shortest serving Chief Engineer and was the only one not to have a locomotive named after him.