Sir Francis Couchman

The Times 6th December 1948

Railways in India

Sir Francis Couchman, who died on November 26 in Grahamstown, South Africa, at the age of 84, had had a long and distinguished career as a railway engineer in India.

Francis Dundas Couchman, who was the son of the late Thomas Barnes Couchman, of Beaudesert Park, Warwickshire, was educated at Rossall School, from where he went on to the Royal Indian Engineering College, Cooper’s Hill, being one of a small band of exceptionally able men who received their training at that short-lived establishment. After the completion of his training, he had a year’s practical experience on the new Tay bridge before proceeding to India. Starting on the North-West Frontier and Baluchistan, where he completed the Khoja tunnel, his work ranged over many parts of India and Burma, where several lines and many bridges remain as monuments to his memory. He held many important posts, both in India and Burma, and it was due to the recommendations made by Couchman and the then Major Freeland that the A.B.C. system of signalling was adopted. Fro 1913 to 1915 he was agent and general manager of the Burma railways, and from 1915 to 1920 a member of the Indian Railway Board. His last appointment before retirement in 1941 was director of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway.

Sir Francis Couchman married in 1902 Isabella, daughter of the late Lieutenant-Colonel D. E. Maclean, and there were two daughters of the marriage.