John Ramsbottom (1814—1897) 

  • 18?? Worked in his father’s ‘Steam Works’, a cotton mill in Todmorton.
  • 1839 Employed by Sharp Roberts and Co. Manchester
  • 1842 Locomotive Superintendent for Manchester and Birmingham Rly. Longsight works
  • 1846 Locomotive Superintendent for LNWR North Eastern Division
  • 1857 Locomotive Superintendent for LNWR Northern Division
  • 1862 Locomotive Superintendent for entire LNWR
  • 1871 Left the LNWR, moved to L&Y

Ramsbottom started as Locomotive Superintendent with one of the constituent companies of the LNWR and continued in the same position on its formation. As the other divisional superintendents ‘retired’ his area of responsibility increased until in 1862 he took charge of the entire system. His major achievement was the great expansion and development at Crewe, not only of the Locomotive Works but the town itself. However, not only did he expand the works, but after Trevithick’s fairly relaxed management style Ramsbottom established working methods and processes more suited to a major manufacturing facility. He was especially keen on the benefits of standardisation. He was responsible for two World firsts: In 1864 he opened the steelworks, the first railway steelworks to operate on a commercial scale, and designed the water troughs  first installed at Mochdre; they were later moved to Aber, North Wales, to enable the ‘Irish Mail’ meet the average speed required by the GPO.

He originated the 18in narrow-gauge system servicing the Works and held many patents relating to Locomotives – such as the safety valve but also in steel-making and fluids. He also invented the split piston ring that is used in internal combustion engines to this day.  He retired from the LNWR in 1871 but lived a further twenty years being professionally active until he died.