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George Chichester Forbes

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George Chichester Forbes (c1869-1934)


1934 Obituary [1]

GEORGE CHICHESTER FORBES was responsible for several important developments on the Federated Malay States Railways with which he was associated for a period of twenty-one years.

He was born at Whitchurch, Oxon., and educated at Repton School.

In 1886 he became an apprentice at Messrs. Neilson and Company's works, Glasgow, and served for five years, after which he entered the Stratford running sheds of the Great Eastern Railway as a fitter. Six months later he was promoted to running shed foreman, and remained with the company till 1894.

He was then appointed assistant manager to the York Engineering Company, and two years later joined Messrs. Sir George Bruce and White, of Westminster, and was engaged on inspection work for Indian contracts.

In 1898 he went to India as assistant locomotive superintendent on the South Indian Railway, and was in charge of the workshops at Negapatam. He became district locomotive superintendent (Northern District) in the following year, and held this position until 1903, when he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the Federated Malay States Railways. One of his first tasks was to form a central organization, following the amalgamation of the Perak and Selangor State Railways with the Federated Malay States Railways. The system was eventually extended to connect the railways of Siam with Singapore, the mileage of single-track line being 1,100.

Mr. Forbes was responsible for the erection of entirely new railway workshops on a site about 3 miles from Kuala Lumpur. The completed plant was opened by H.E. the Governor in 1906. Mr. Forbes was also responsible for auxiliary road motor services, a ferry service between Prai and Penang, a motor boat service on the Pahang River, and the Railways' tugs and lighters at Port Swettenham.

He introduced dining and sleeping cars on the railways, in addition to special types of bogie goods vehicles. He was instrumental in introducing a goods train ferry across the Johore Straits, and river and sea transport services for the east coast of Malaya.

In 1924 he retired and lived at Chudleigh, Devon, where he died on 19th June 1934, at the age of 65.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1895, and was transferred to Membership in 1902.


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