Charles Vignoles was born in 1793. Vignoles emigrated to the USA where he became a soldier. He later worked as a surveyor and in 1823 he returned to England. Vignoles became involved in drainage works and in 1826 he was invited to join the team working on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. The two men did not get on and eventually George Stephenson had him replaced.
As a result of the work he had done on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, Vignoles was appointed engineer of the St Helens & Runcorn Railway (1830-33). This was followed by the Dublin & Kingstown and the Midland Counties. Vignoles also worked on the Sheffield & Manchester line but left in 1841 after a dispute with the directors of the company.
Vignoles most impressive work was done in mainland Europe. In Russia he built the Kiev Bridge over the River Dnieper (1847-53) and the Tudela & Bilbao Railway in Spain (1857-64). Charles Vignoles died in 1875.