Messrs. Wythes and Jackson, Construction Contractors

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Messrs. Wythes and Jackson, Construction Contractors

George Wythes and Joseph Jackson were railway contractors engaged for the construction of the early sections of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR).

To quote from Grace's Guide [1] :-

"1850, Jackson carried out a preliminary survey of the circumstances of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway which enabled him to send valuable knowledge to Mr. Wythes in England', and the consequent gaining of the tender for the line from Tannah to Oomrah, including the viaduct over the Tannah river, connecting Salsette with the mainland, and the two tunnels at Perseek." The location of neither Oomrah or Perseek have been identified

The first section of the GIPR line from Bombay (Salsette in the above account, a suburb of Bombay) had reached Thane (Tannah in the above account) and opened to traffic in April 1853.

The continuation of the line from Thane to Callian (later named Kalyan) was the first contact awarded to Messrs. Wythes and Jackson. This section of the line from involved a two-line Tannah Viaduct over the estuary and two tunnels. The was the first substantial railway bridge to be constructed in India and connected Bombay Island to the mainland, the line opened on 1 May 1854. The construction of this portion was difficult as it involved a two-line Tannah Viaduct over the estuary and two tunnels [2].

"Messrs. Wythes and Jackson then tendered successfully for the Thull Ghaut incline contract (nine miles), "[1]

Messrs. Wythes and Jackson were in August 1857 awarded the contract for the Thal Ghat Railway Construction (Thull Ghaut in the above account) the next section of the GIPR north-eastern line which was finally opened to traffic in 1865[3].

This section to cross the Thal Ghat from Kasara to Igatpuri was 9.5 miles/15 km) and within that distance the had to rise to 1,918 feet/585 m); the gradient in the section being 1:37 [4]. The line negotiates this steep incline with the help of curves and required the construction of a number of bridges, the Ehagaon Viaduct and tunnels.

"They were later awarded the contact to extend the line a further distance to Bhosawul in Candeish, 190 miles. They built 72 miles of the railway from Chalisgaon to Bhusawal" [1]

Messrs. Wythes and Jackson were awarded a further contact to construct a further section of the GIPR north-eastern line from Igatpuri at the end of the Thal Ghat, this was opened in stages reaching Chalisgaon in 1861, Jalgaon in 1863 and Bhusawal in 1865, a total of 191.24 miles(307km)[5].

"In 1860 Joseph Jackson died in India" [6]. "One employee, John Whittaker was allegedly robbed and murdered during construction of a railway bridge in India in about 1865" [1]