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James Brunlees was an eminent Scottish M.I.C.E, who was involved in many civil engineering projects including railways. He became President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1882-83. He was engineer to the Gorseddau Tramway in 1865.  He was born on 5 January 1816 and died 2 June 1892.
He was named in the contract for construction of the NWNGR and the lease of the line to Hugh Beaver Roberts as one of the arbitrators. He was called upon on numerous occasions by Hugh U McKie, the original Contractor, to mediate between him and the engineer Charles Easton Spooner or his son George Percival Spooner who succeeded him. Several of the arbitrations were decided in McKie's favour, for example in August 1874. Another award on 19 April 1875 stated that the contractor had received £3,263 less than was due to him and the Company had to pay the £300 costs of the award.  Finally, the Directors tired of what the Chairman, Sir Llewelyn Turner, called his continual applications,the stoppages of work they sometimes caused and the lack of progress. The contractor had constantly complained that the engineer did not allow him sufficient in his monthly certificates for the work done ; the engineer on the other hand asserted that his certificates were in all cases amply sufficient. The engineer and the contractor appeared to have commenced as friends, and gradually drifted into a sadly opposite condition. It was not for him to give an opinion on the merits of the various decisions in these arbitrations; but one thing struck him as singular indeed, and that was the holding by the arbitrator that the contractor was proceeding with due diligence, when he had only a small number of men working on the line. The directors had been led to expect a different result from the reference, but they could now only come to the conclusion that the company's engineer had not given the contractor credit for as much work as had been executed, and they learnt to their great surprise that the requirements of the contract for periodical measurements being regularly taken by the engineer in the presence of the contractor had not been complied with. Against legal advice, they had agreed with McKie that he would give possession of the works in return for a final arbitration of what was due to him on leaving his plant on the ground.  Mr Brunlees awarded a further £7,147. 
- H.W. Tyler's paper to the Institution of Civil Engineers on the FR passenger traffic 11 April 1865
- Wrexham & Denbigh Advertiser 11 July 1874.
- Wrexham Advertiser 5 September 1874.
- The Times 25 May 1875
- The Times 2 March 1876, North Wales Chronicle 4 March 1876
- The Times 19 August 1876
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