Edward Woods (engineer)
name = Edward Woods
nationality = English
28 April 1814
death_date = Death date and age|1903|6|14|1814|4|28
spouse = Mary Goodman
children = Three sons and two daughters
discipline = Civil
Institution of Civil Engineers(president), Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers(president),
British Association(president of mechanical science)
Wapping Tunnel, Victoria Tunnel
Edward Woods (
28 April 1814– 14 June 1903) was a British civil engineer.
Early life and career
Woods was born in
Londonon 28 April 1814, the son of Samuel Woods, a merchant. After education at private schools, and some training at Bristol, he became in 1834 an assistant to John Dixon, recently appointed chief engineer of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Woods was placed in charge of the section, 15 miles in length, between Liverpooland Newton-le-Willows, including Wapping Tunnel, then under construction, between Crown Street and Park Lane goods stations; and in 1836 he succeeded Dixon as chief engineer, taking also charge of the mechanical department. The Liverpool and Manchester railway was amalgamated with the Grand Junction Railwayin 1845. Woods remained until the end of 1852 in charge of the works appertaining to the Liverpool and Manchester section, including the construction of the Victoria Tunnel (completed 1848) between Edge Hill station and the docks, a large goods station adjoining the West Waterloo Dock, and a line between Patricroftand Clifton, opened in 1850. In 1853 he established himself in London as a consulting engineer.
During his eighteen years' work on the Liverpool and Manchester line Woods took a prominent part in various early experimental investigations into the working of railways. In 1836 he made observations on the waste of fuel due to condensation in the long pipes conveying steam a quarter of a mile to the
winding engines used for hauling trains through the Edge Hill tunnel, the gradientof which was then considered too steep for locomotives. He was a member of a committee appointed by the British Associationin 1837 to report on the resistance of railway trains. In 1838 he presented to the Institution of Civil Engineersa paper ‘On Certain Forms of Locomotive Engines,’ which contains some of the earliest accurate details of the working of locomotives, and for which he was awarded a Telford medal. The consumption of fuel in locomotives was the subject of a paper presented by him to the Liverpool Polytechnic Society in 1843 (published in 1844), and of a contribution to a new edition of Tredgold's ‘Steam Engine’ in 1850.
In 1853 Woods carried out, with W. P. Marshall, some experiments on the locomotives of the
London and North Western Railway, between Londonand Rugby, and three joint reports were made to the general locomotive committee of the railway, recommending certain weights and dimensions for various classes of engines. These were followed, in 1854, by a joint report on the use of coalas a substitute for coke, which had been used hitherto.
Work in South America
From 1854 onwards his practice was chiefly connected with the railways of
South America, including the Central Argentine Railway, the Copiapoextension, Santiago and Valparaiso, and Coquimborailways in Chile, and the Mollenda- Arequipaand Callao- Oroyalines in Peru. He was responsible not only for surveys and construction, but also for the design of rolling stockto meet the somewhat special conditions. Other engineering work included a wrought-iron pier, 2400 feet long, built in 1851 on screw piles at Pisco on the coast of Peru, and a quay-wall built at Bilbaoin 1877.
In the ‘battle of the gauges’ he favoured the Irish gauge (5 feet 3 inches) or the Indian gauge (5 feet 6 inches). He regarded break of gauge as a mistake.
In 1877, as president of the mechanical science section of the
British Association, he delivered an address on ‘Adequate Brake Power for Railway Trains.’ Elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineerson 7 April 1846, he became a member of its council in December 1869, and was president between November 1886 and November 1887. His presidential address contains much information as to the early history of railways. In 1884 he was president of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers.
He died at his residence, 45 Onslow Gardens, London, on
14 June 1903, and was buried at Chenies, Buckinghamshire. His portrait in oils, by Miss Porter, is in the possession of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
He married in 1840 Mary, daughter of Thomas Goodman of Birmingham, by whom he had three sons and two daughters.
s-start s-npo|pro s-bef|before=
Frederick Bramwells-ttl|title=President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
years=May 1886 – June 1887 s-aft|after=
George Barclay Bruceend
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