Rastrick, John Urpeth

b. 26 January 1780 Morpeth, England
d. 1 November 1856 Chertsey, England
English engineer whose career spanned the formative years of steam railways, from constructing some of the earliest locomotives to building great trunk lines.
John Urpeth Rastrick, son of an engineer, was initially articled to his father and then moved to Ketley Ironworks, Shropshire, c. 1801. In 1808 he entered into a partnership with John Hazledine at Bridgnorth, Shropshire: Hazledine and Rastrick built many steam engines to the designs of Richard Trevithick, including the demonstration locomotive Catch-Me-Who-Can. The firm also built iron bridges, notably the bridge over the River Wye at Chepstow in 1815–16.
Between 1822 and 1826 the Stratford \& Moreton Railway was built under Rastrick's direction. Malleable iron rails were laid, in one of the first instances of their use. They were supplied by James Foster of Stourbridge, with whom Rastrick went into partnership after the death of Hazledine. In 1825 Rastrick was one of a team of engineers sent by the committee of the proposed Liverpool \& Manchester Railway (L \& MR) to carry out trials of locomotives built by George Stephenson on the Killingworth Waggonway. Early in 1829 the directors of the L \& MR, which was by then under construction, sent Rastrick and James Walker to inspect railways in North East England and report on the relative merits of steam locomotives and fixed engines with cable haulage. They reported, rather hesitantly, in favour of the latter, particularly the reciprocal system of Benjamin Thompson. In consequence the Rainhill Trials, at which Rastrick was one of the judges, were held that October. In 1829 Rastrick constructed the Shutt End colliery railway in Worcestershire, for which Foster and Rastrick built the locomotive Agenoria; this survives in the National Railway Museum. Three similar locomotives were built to the order of Horatio Allen for export to the USA.
From then until he retired in 1847 Rastrick found ample employment surveying railways, appearing as a witness before Parliamentary committees, and supervising construction. Principally, he surveyed the southern part of the Grand Junction Railway, which was built for the most part by Joseph Locke, and the line from Manchester to Crewe which was eventually built as the Manchester \& Birmingham Railway. The London \& Brighton Railway (Croydon to Brighton) was his great achievement: built under Rastrick's supervision between 1836 and 1840, it included three long tunnels and the magnificent Ouse Viaduct. In 1845 he was Engineer to the Gravesend \& Rochester Railway, the track of which was laid through the Thames \& Medway Canal's Strood Tunnel, partly on the towpath and partly on a continuous staging over the water.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1837.
1829, with Walker, Report…on the Comparative Merits of Locomotive and Fixed Engines, Liverpool.
Further Reading
C.F.Dendy Marshall, 1953, A History of Railway Locomotives Down to the End of the Year 1831, The Locomotive Publishing Co.
R.E.Carlson, 1969, The Liverpool \& Manchester Railway Project 1821–1831, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles.
C.Hadfield and J.Norris, 1962, Waterways to Stratford, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles (covers Stratford and Moreton Railway).

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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