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John Arthur Thornton (1865-1904)
1905 Obituary 
JOHN ARTHUR THORNTON was born on the 24th November, 1865, and after completing his studies at the Owens College, Manchester, served a pupilage under the late William Hunt, then Chief Engineer of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, at the expiration of which he was employed on the new stations at Halifax and Bradford, under W. C. Hall, and in connection with various widening and other works on the same system.
In 1892 he obtained an appointment as chief assistant for new works to H. Copperthwaite, on the southern division of the North Eastern Railway, acting as Resident Engineer on the works carried out at Hull, Bridlington, Leeds and other places on the line.
When, in 1897, the Great Northern Railway Company undertook the construction of their new railway and goods depot at Manchester, Mr. Thornton accepted the post of chief assistant to W. T. Foxlee, the Resident Engineer, and on that gentleman’s retirement in 1899, Mr. Thornton was appointed Resident and District Engineer, and completed these important works, which included the construction of high- and low-level station yards, warehouses and quay-walls, the widening of an underground canal and the building of viaduct approaches. He was also responsible for the maintenance of the railway and works.
In 1902 he returned to the North Eastern Railway as leading engineering assistant to W. J. Cudworth, the Chief Engineer at York, where he exercised control over a large staff of engineering assistants and draughtsmen, and, under the direction of his chief, he supervised the design and construction of work carried out in connection with about 900 miles of railway, comprising such important centres as Leeds, York, Middlesbrough and other large towns. His death on the 26th September, 1904, as the result of a railway accident, brought an active and useful career to a premature close.
Mr. Thornton was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 1st December, 1891, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 23rd February, 1904.