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Richard Popkiss

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Richard Popkiss (1856-1932), Director of the Cordoba Railway Co and Chairman of the Great Southern of Spain Railway Co.

1932 Obituary[1]


We regret to note the death, on December 4, following a severe operation, of Mr. Richard Popkiss, Chairman of the Great Southern of Spain Railway Co, and a director of a number of Central and South American railway companies. Mr. Popkiss, who, during his long career as a civil engineer, superintended railway construction work in Ceylon, Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, and other countries, was born on October 23, 1856. He served a pupilage of three years, from 1872 to 1875, under his father, the late Mr. Richard Popkiss, and then served a further three years as assistant to his father. In 1878, he became assistant engineer on the construction of the extension, into Plymouth, of the London and South Western and Great Western Railways. Proceeding to Ceylon in 1880, he became engineer and contractor’s agent, under Mr. J. R. Manning and others, on the construction of the Nanu Pya extension of the Ceylon Government Railways, much of which involved unusually heavy work. From Ceylon, he went to Costa Rica, in 1886, to take up the position of chief resident engineer, under Mr. J. Livesey, on the construction of new lines for the Costa Rica Railways. During the succeeding four years he surveyed and superintended the construction of 50 miles of new line in difficult country.

In 1890, Mr. Popkiss proceeded to Mexico to take charge, as chief resident engineer under Messrs. J. Livesey and Son, of the building of the Interoceanic Railway. This project embraced the reconstruction of 240 miles of railway, the entire construction of 260 miles of new line, and also the building of harbour works at Vera Cruz. Two years later, however, Mr. Popkiss left Mexico having been requested by Messrs. Livesey, Son and Henderson to examine and report upon the Algeciras Railway, then under construction, the Great Southern of Spain Railway, the Ponte-vedra and Carril Railway, and other similar projects in Spain. Subsequently, he became resident engineer in full charge of the completion of the construction of the Great Southern of Spain Railway, 104 miles in length, and came home in 1895. In this same year, Mr. Popkiss began to practise on his own account as a member of the firm of Messrs. Packman, Popkiss and Heasman. During the years which followed, the firm became engaged as engineers to various railways, including the Pretoria-Pietersburg Railway, Transvaal, and the Brazil Great Southern Railway. Mr. Popkiss was made a director of the Cordoba Central Railway Company, Argentina, in 1909, and at the time of his death he was also chairman of the Great Southern of Spain Railway, and a director of the Interoceanic Railway of Mexico, the Mexican Southern Railway, the Mexican Eastern Railway, and the Vera Cruz Terminal Company. He was elected an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers on December 5, 1882, and a full member on December 22, 1903."

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