Samuel Rea - Encyclopedia


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"SAMUEL REA (1855-), American railway official, was born at Hollidaysburg, Pa., Sept. 21 1855. In 1871 he joined the engineering corps of the Pennsylvania railway as chain and rod man, working on several branch lines. From 1875 to 1877 he was engaged, as assistant engineer, in the construction of the chain suspension bridge over the Monongahela river at Pitts burgh. He was next appointed assistant engineer for the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie, then under construction. He returned to the Pennsylvania lines in 1879, but ten years later joined the Baltimore and Ohio. For the latter road he was chief engineer for construction of the belt-line tunnel under Baltimore. In 1892 he was appointed an assistant to the president of the Pennsylvania railway and five years later first assistant. In 1899 he was elected fourth vice-president of the Pennsylvania, rising through the various grades to first vice-president in 1911, and when the numerical grades were discarded in 1912 was made vice-president. In 1913 he was elected president. He was also president at times of several other lines, including the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington; the West Jersey and Seashore; the Long Island; the Northern Central; and the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis. He was in charge of the construction of the Pennsylvania station in New York City (completed in 1911) and the connecting tunnel under the Hudson river, as well as the New York connecting railway and Hell Gate bridge over the East river (opened in 1917). In 1917, after the United States entered the World War, he was appointed by the American Railway Association a member of the special commission on national defense of the Railroads War Board. He was also appointed director of the department of railroads, electric railways, highways, and waterways, of the division of transportation of the Committee of Public Safety of Pennsylvania. In 1917 he presented his private yacht to the U.S. Government for patrol duty in the Atlantic. In 1918, when the railways were taken over by the Government as a war measure, he was replaced as operating head of his road, but remained in charge of its corporate affairs. He was a member of the New York Chamber of Commerce, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers of London, and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. He was the author of The Railways Terminating in London (1888).

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