1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Allport, Sir James Joseph

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

ALLPORT, SIR JAMES JOSEPH (1811-1892), English railway manager, born on the 27th of February 1811, was a son of William Allport, of Birmingham, and was associated with railways from an early period of his life. In 1843 he became general manager of the Birmingham and Derby railway, and in the following year succeeded to the same position on the Newcastle and Darlington line. Six years later he assumed the charge of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire (now the Great Central) railway, and finally, in 1853, was appointed to the general managership of the Midland railway — an office which he held continuously, with the exception of a few years between 1857 and 1860, when he was managing director to Palmer's Shipbuilding Company at Jarrow, until his retirement in 1880, when he became a director. During these twenty-seven years the Midland grew to be one of the most important railway systems in England, partly by the absorption of smaller lines and partly by the construction of two main extensions — on the south to London and on the north to Carlisle — whereby it obtained an independent through-route between the metropolis and the north. In the railway world Sir James Allport was known as a keen tactician and a vigorous fighter, and he should be remembered as the pioneer of cheap and comfortable railway travelling. He was the first to appreciate the importance of the third-class passenger as a source of revenue, and accordingly, in 1872, he inaugurated the policy — subsequently adopted more or less completely by all the railways of Great Britain — of carrying third-class passengers in well-fitted carriages at the uniform rate of one penny a mile on all trains. The diminution in the receipts from second-class passengers, which was one of the results, was regarded by some authorities as a sign of the unwisdom of his action, but to him it appeared a sufficient reason for the abolition of second-class carriages, which therefore disappeared from the Midland system in 1875, the first-class fares being at the same time substantially reduced. He was also the first to introduce the Pullman car on British railways. Allport received the honour of knighthood in 1884. He died in London on the 25th of April 1892.