James Pearson (engineer)

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James Pearson was a 19th-century English railway engineer. He is best remembered as the designer of the distinctive Bristol and Exeter Railway 4-2-4T locomotives.


South Devon Railway[edit]

James Pearson was the engineer responsible for the daily operations of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's ill-fated atmospheric equipment on the South Devon Railway. Trains only ran in service from 13 September 1847 to 9 September 1848, but he was retained while the equipment was disposed of.

Bristol and Exeter Railway[edit]

In May 1850 he became the Bristol and Exeter Railway's Locomotive Engineer. Under his control the railway set up new locomotive works at Bristol Temple Meads. These opened in 1851 and built most of the railway's new broad gauge locomotives from 1859.

Locomotives designs[edit]

The most significant locomotives designed by James Pearson were:

See also[edit]

South Devon Railway engine houses


  • Reed, P.J.T. (February 1953). White, D.E., ed. The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, Part 2: Broad Gauge. Kenilworth: The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. ISBN 0-901115-32-0. OCLC 650490992. 
  • Kay, Peter (1991). Exeter - Newton Abbot: A Railway History. Sheffield: Platform 5 Publishing. ISBN 1-872524-42-7. 
  • MacDermot, E T (1931). History of the Great Western Railway, Volume 2. London: Great Western Railway.