Thomas Bouch, Engineer

Born at Thursby in Cumberland on 22nd February 1822, Bouch was to become one of the highest profile civil engineers in mid-19th century Britain. Son of a sea captain he was educated locally and in Carlisle, then entered a mechanical engineering business in Liverpool in 1840. Very soon, however, he was working for Joseph Larmer, a civil engineer then engaged on the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway under Joseph Locke and John Errington.

Late in 1844 the young Bouch moved on, first to Leeds, then to the Stockton & Darlington Railway where he worked for four years under John Dixon. From January 1848 he became manager and engineer of the Edinburgh & Northern Railway, later the Edinburgh & Dundee, and soon to form part of the North British Railway. Here he designed the first ever train ferries to handle traffic across both the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay, but he left in the early 1850s and went into general engineering consultancy.

In his new role Bouch undertook surveys and plans for a whole series of railways and branches, mainly in Scotland and Northern England, including the Darlington & Barnard Castle, the South Durham & Lancashire Union, the Eden Valley, the Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith, the Sevenoaks and Maidstone, the Peebles, the Kinross-shire, the Leven (Fife), the Leslie, the St. Andrews, the Creiff Junction, the Coatbridge, the Edinburgh, Loanhead & Roslin, the Leadburn, Linton & Dolphinton, the Penicuik, the Arbroath & Montrose, the Newport (Fife), the Tay Bridge and the Edinburgh Suburban. Apart from those on the SD&LU he built several remarkable bridges, including over Bilston Burn on the Edinburgh, Loanhead & Roslin line, over the River Esk at Montrose, and Hownes Gill Viaduct near Consett on the Stanhope & Tyne Railway. On the SD&LU his masterpieces were the iron viaducts at Belah, Deepdale