Exploring Paddy Waddell’s Railway
John Waddell (1828 - 1888) was a Scottish-born railway contractor based in Edinburgh. He ran the enterprising and respected firm John Waddell & Sons and went on to complete many routes during the rise of the railways across England during the late 19th century, especially for the NER.
Notable examples of his work include the rebuilding of Putney Bridge in London (1882), the Scarborough & Whitby Railway, completion of the Whitby Redcar and Middlesbrough Union Railway and the Mersey Railway tunnel.
On 17 February 1883 an agreement was reached with John Waddell to construct a tunnel under the River Thames between Tilbury and Gravesend, work which would have carried trains through to Dover for a potential Channel tunnel, although that proposal was eventually dropped.
He died at his home, 4 Belford Park, Edinburgh on 17th January 1888, aged 60. He left three sons - George, Robert and John, who carried on his business after his death.
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by Peter Gleghorn