Alfred Dalton was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1892. When he was 17 he joined the Southern and Great Western Railway in Cork; he was transferred to the Traffic Department at the Head Office in Dublin when he was 19.
During World War I, Dalton served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He had joined up as a private but was commissioned on the field and was among the last to be evacuated at the end of the Gallipoli campaign. He later transferred to the Royal Engineers to be in charge of running the 10th Light Railway Operating Company which took ammunition up to the front in the Somme sector. His commanding officer was Colonel Maxwell.
In 1921, Dalton travelled to Tanganyika where he worked on the railways under Colonel Maxwell (who had been put in charge of the railways as General Manager). The following year Dalton married Editha Hogan (d 1961) at the Lutheran Church in Dar es Salaam. In late 1935, Dalton became assistant superintendent of the Kenya and Uganda Railways and Harbours Administration [KUR]; he later became superintendent.
During World War II, Dalton was offered, and accepted, the post of General Manager of the Tanganyika railways. However, the war had caused a heavy increase in traffic on the railways and as a result Dalton was not allowed to take up his new post because the Kenyan Government considered him too necessary to the running of the KUR. Instead, Dalton was made Deputy General Manager of the KUR.
In 1948, Dalton became the first General Manager of the newly formed East African Railways and Harbours Administration, a post he held until his retirement in 1953. In retirement he was Chairman of the Maize and Produce Control Board and also sat on the local Civil Service selection board. He died in October 1984.