Thomas William Worsdell

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Thomas William Worsdell
T.W. Worsdell.jpg
Born(1838-01-14)14 January 1838
Died28 June 1916(1916-06-28) (aged 78)
EducationAckworth School
Parent(s)Nathaniel and Mary Worsdell
Engineering career
Employer(s)London and North Western Railway; Pennsylvania Railroad; Great Eastern Railway; North Eastern Railway

Thomas William Worsdell (14 January 1838 – 28 June 1916) was an English locomotive engineer. He was born in Liverpool into a Quaker family.


T. W. Worsdell – normally known as William – was the eldest son of Nathaniel Worsdell (1809–1886), and grandson of the coachbuilder Thomas Clarke Worsdell (1788–1862). His younger brother, Wilson Worsdell (1850–1920), was also a locomotive engineer. T. C. Worsdell had become a Quaker at some point between 1812 and 1816, and his descendants, including Nathaniel, William and Wilson, were brought up in the Quaker faith.[1]

William was born at his parents' house in Liverpool on 14 January 1838. He began school at the age of two, and in 1847 was sent as a boarder to Ackworth, a Quaker school in Yorkshire, where he remained until 1852.[2]


He worked at the Crewe Works of the LNWR under John Ramsbottom but in 1865 moved to the United States to the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1871 he was invited by Francis William Webb to return to Crewe. In 1881 he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the Great Eastern Railway, but in 1885 moved to the North Eastern Railway, being replaced at the GER by James Holden. He retired from the NER on 1 October 1890 due to ill health and was replaced by his younger brother Wilson Worsdell.


Worsdell obtained a number of patents[3] including several (in association with August von Borries, a Prussian locomotive engineer) relating to compound locomotives. T. W. Worsdell used the von Borries two-cylinder compound system in several of his designs for the North Eastern Railway.

Worsdell-von Borries patents
  • GB190006487, published 16 February 1901, An improvement in starting valves for compound steam engines[4]
  • GB190022906, published 2 November 1901, Improvements in valves for use in compound locomotives and other compound engines[5]
  • US803981 (with Herbert Richard Lapage), published 7 November 1905, Compound locomotive[6]


  1. ^ Hill, Geoffrey (February 1991). The Worsdells: A Quaker Engineering Dynasty. Transport Publishing Company. pp. 7–8, 10. ISBN 0-86317-158-3.
  2. ^ Hill 1991, p. 57
  3. ^ "Joseph Armstrong. his son & William Dean". Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  4. ^ "Espacenet - Bibliographic data". 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  5. ^ "Espacenet - Bibliographic data". 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  6. ^ "Espacenet - Bibliographic data". Retrieved 2013-01-13.

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Massey Bromley
Locomotive Superintendent of the
Great Eastern Railway

Succeeded by
James Holden
Preceded by
Alexander McDonnell
Locomotive Superintendent of the
North Eastern Railway

Succeeded by
Wilson Worsdell