Thomas Grainger

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Grainger's grave at Gogar

Thomas Grainger FRSE (12 November 1794 – 25 July 1852) was a Scottish civil engineer and surveyor. He was principal partner in the prominent engineering firm of Grainger & Miller.


He was born in Ratho, outside Edinburgh, to Hugh Grainger and Helen Marshall. Educated at Edinburgh University, at sixteen he got a job with John Leslie, a land surveyor.

He started his own practice in 1816. In 1825 he formed a partnership with John Miller which lasted until 1847. There firm operated from the ground floor of Grainger's house at 56 George Street, in the centre of Edinburgh's New Town.[1]

Projects he was involved in included many railway bridges, viaducts and tunnels, including work on the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway, Ballochney Railway, Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway, Wishaw and Coltness Railway, Paisley and Renfrew Railway, Dundee and Arbroath Railway, Arbroath and Forfar Railway,[2] and the Leeds Northern Railway, where he was chief engineer at the time of his death.

Between 1845 and 1849 he was engaged on the difficult task of digging the Bramhope Tunnel. The first modern rail ferry, the Leviathan, was designed in 1849 by Grainger for the Edinburgh, Perth and Dundee Railway to cross the Firth of Forth between Granton and Burntisland. The service commenced on 3 February 1850.[3]

He was president of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.[4][5]

He married Jessie Marshall around 1843. He died in Stockton-on-Tees in 1852 as a result of injuries sustained in a train crash, and was buried in the kirkyard at Gogar.[6]