William Atcheson Traill

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William Atcheson Traill (1844 - 5 July 1933) was an Irish engineer.[1] Born at Ballylough, in County Antrim, William Atcheson Traill was educated at private schools and graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in Engineering in 1865 and a Masters in 1873.[1] In 1868 he joined the Geological Survey of Ireland, becoming an expert on water supply. In 1881 he left, and with his brother Anthony he founded the Portrush, Bushmills, and Giant's Causeway Railway and Tramway Company. This operated the world's first electrical railway, and was funded by capital raised from friends and investors including Sir Walter Siemens and Lord Kelvin. Traill devised and patented a conduit system of burying the live rail in a pipe with electrical contact. The expected goods trade never took off, and the line remained until its closure 1949 as a summer tourist railway.[1] In February 1887 he ran in a by-election in North Antrim as an Independent Unionist, coming in third. He married three times, and met his third wife, Nora Westwood, in 1895 when he rescued her from drowning.[1]

In 1990, the Northern Bank issued a banknote bearing a portrait of Traill.


  1. ^ a b c d R. L. Vickers, ‘Traill, William Atcheson (1844–1933)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 7 June 2013

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