William Richard Sumption Jones

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William Richard Sumption Jones (1840-1908)

The following biography from Steam Index [1]

Following apprenticeship and after six years as railway-coach builder Mechanical Engineer, appointed to India.

  • 1867, Goverment Workshops Deputy Superintendent, Rurki, United Province of Agra and Oudh (then known as the North West Provinces). It had been intended to start building rolling-stock in those workshops for provincial light railways, but not carried out until several years later; and this was the reason for his appointment.
  • 1873, Public Works Department, Executive Engineer, Narora in the same province, and the site of the great dam and headworks of the Lower Ganges Canal, then under construction, where he was put in charge of the Workshops division, and carried out the construction of all the heavy ironwork used in the regulating machinery there installed. He remained in this appointment until the completion of the headworks.

Railway Acheivements in India

During his time with RSR/RMSR the railway increased in length from about 500 miles to 1,500 miles, for which increase he built all the rolling-stock, reducing the tare and increasing the load of the wagons employed. He invented and introduced a system of flexible central buffers and screw-couplers, which was adopted by the Indian Government and made compulsory on all the railways of metre gauge. He was a clever mechanical engineer, strong administrator, able financier, and scientific accountant in workshop expenditure. At the request of the Public Works Department, he revised and recast the whole of the regulations in the PWD code relating to railway expenditure and accounts; and with minor improvements these regulations are still in force.