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Thomas Grainger


1794 - 1852

Pioneering railway engineer. Born at Gogar Green (Ratho), the son of a farmer, Grainger was educated at the University of Edinburgh. At sixteen he obtained a position with John Leslie, a notable Edinburgh land surveyor. From 1823, he became a prominent advocate for the introduction of railways and began surveying and designing lines, taking on John Miller (1805-83) as an assistant. Grainger & Miller were responsible for many important railway projects in Scotland and Northern England, including the Edinburgh and Glasgow line, with Grainger's work including the Paisley and Renfrew Railway (1834), the Arbroath and Forfar line (1835), the Glasgow and Greenock line (1836), the Edinburgh, Leith and Newhaven Railway (1836), and the Edinburgh and Bathgate line (1846).

His partnership with Miller was maintained until 1845. Grainger went on to design the world's first rail ferry, the Leviathan, which crossed the Firth of Forth between Granton and Burntisland from 1850. In this venture he was assisted by Thomas Bouch (1822-80), who designed the loading mechanism. Grainger was also responsible for harbours at Broughty Ferry and Tayport (Ferryport-on-Craig) to allow a railway connection across the Firth of Tay, again for the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1850 and served as President of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts. Grainger died in Stockton-on-Tees (England) following a rail collision, and lies buried in Gogar kirkyard.


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