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100 corrections, most recently by Corio - Show corrections

HOW THE RAILROAD IS

MODERNISING ASIA.

In the American "Review of Reviews" Lewis R. Freeman writes as follows:--

The question that a railway company in Europe or the Americas asks itself when considering the construction of a new line is, "Will it pay? Will the ultimate re- turns from freight and passenger traffic be equal to a fair interest on the money in- vested?" If this question is answered in the negative, unless there is a bonus or guarantee of some sort forthcoming, the line will not be built.

If this same test had been applied in Asia, 50 per cent. of that great continent's present railway mileage would be non-ex- istent. Asia is—and will be for many years—in a formative state politically. Frontiers and spheres of influence are be ing advanced and pushed back, and the ability or inability of a Power speedily to place an army at some remote point of vantage may mean the difference between winning or losing a province, or even a

kingdom. Railways have been built, there- fore, regardless of their promise, remotely or ever, to pay adequate financial returns. It is these strategic and semi-strategic considerations which principally differenti- ate Asiatic—and to a lesser degree African —railway development from that of the

more settled occidental continents.

Russia had more in mind the winning of Manchuria, Port Arthur, and the long- striven-for ice-free port of Dalny than the development of the thousands of miles of intervening steppes when she embarked on the Titanic task of constructing the Trans Siberian Railway. The branches of that line towards the borders of Chinese Turke- stan, and the line from the Caspian to the Oxus and the Persian borders, were only stepping-stones to the realisation of Rus- sia's supreme ambition, the conquest of India. That all of these schemes were given an indefinite setback in the defeat of Russia by Japan was no fault of the railways.  

Japan is constantly strengthening her position in Korea and Manchuria by the construction of lines not warranted com-

mercially, and India has gridironed with   rails the bleak deserts of her vulnerable   north-west frontier. Strategic considera- tions, too, will outweigh all others in determining by what route, and by what powers, the long-talked-of Europe-to-India railway will finally be built. It should be borne in mind, however, that many lines or sections of lines built primarily for strategic purposes have, later, yielded con- siderable returns through the channels of regular business, thus quickening into life great sections which must otherwise have lain dormant. In the long run, therefore, there has been real economic benefit from this construction appa-

rently abnormal from an economic point  

of view.

India's Advanced System.

In any general survey of the existing railways of Asia India is entitled to first consideration, not only because she has the greatest mileage and the best-built and best-managed lines, but also because, through well-devised laws of control, she is getting the best results from them.  

Railway construction was inaugurated in India in the early 50's by the commence- ment of short lines running out of Cal- cutta and Bombav. It was not, however, until the end, of the 60's that the con- nection between these two cities was established. Meanwhile, once it had been demonstrated that the Indian coolie would

lay aside caste prejudices and patronise the railway, lines were started in many other parts of the Empire, and it has been   the steady extension of these that has brought the present mileage of India up to nearly 36,000, half of which is of the very useful 5 ft. 6 in. gauge. These lines may be roughly divided into three classes:---Government owned and operated, Government owned and operated by a private company, and privately owned and operated. The tendency is strongly to- ward bringing all but the strictly strategic lines into the second class. Only three great systems are now operated by the Government, with the probabilities strong that-two of these will shortly be turned over to private companies to run, leaving only the great 4,000-mile North-western railway to be kept tuned up by State management for the ever-imminent fron- tier war.    

Government regulation of railways is car- ried on in India, under a system of laws, which has been the outgrowth of a half- century of experience. One of the most important benefits directly traceable to this regulation is the almost complete free- dom from serious accidents due to a rigid insistence on safety devices. Out of

371,580,000 passengers carried in the year 1910, but three lost their lives from causes beyond their own control--one fatality for every 4,478,000,000 miles travelled.

The steadfast endeavor of the Indian Railway Board has been to make third class fares so low that for even the poorest

coolie it will be cheaper to ride than to walk, and the present ruling fares of from one-third to five-twelfths of a cent. per mile have accomplished that desideratum. A man can ride 25 miles in an hour for less than even his pitifully small daily wage, amounts to. Specially drawn freight tariffs are also in force for the benefits of the millions of small farmers and mer-

chants who make up the bulk of India's   population. How well the railways them- selves have thriven under a system which, at a cursory glance, might appear to be devised entirely in the interest of the public may best be shown by pointing out that, with the exception of several insigni- ficant lines in native states, there is not

a single one of the hundred and more lines in India that has not paid from 4 to 10  

per cent. from the year it was opened.

India's existing railways might be de-

scribed as a complete and comprehensive   system of trunks, reaching from the seas  

to the outermost frontiers, from and be- tween which the increasingly closer mesh of the network of the future is to be

woven. It is a magnificent beginning, and the peace and prosperity it has brought to India should he a striking object lesson to the rest of Asia.

Joining India and Burma.

Although there is still a considerable distance to be spanned before there is rail connection between India and Burma, the roads of the latter country are under the control of the Railway Board of the Delhi Government and the general system of   operation is patterned closely upon that of India. The main trunk line—725 miles in length—runs northward from Rangoon to Mandalay, and on to Myitkyina at the border of the Chinese province of Yunnan, following the rich and populous valley of the Irrawadi most of the way. From Rangoon one branch runs west to Bassein and Prome and another in an easterly direction to Moulmein, beyond the Sal- ween. The latter line will ultimately be extended south, down the Burmese "pan handle," to Tavoy and Mergui, and, when the railway from the Federated Malay States is pushed up to meet it, on to the Siamese border. There are no insuperable engineering difficulties to be encountered at any point between Moulmein and Penang, but, as the population is light, the jungles dense and the river crossings numerous, there is nothing in the present promise of either local or through traffic to warrant the heavy expenditure that

would be necessary to build such a line. Similar difficulties make a connection be- tween Moulmein and Bangkok unlikely, though the distance to be bridged is less

than 150 miles.

India and Burma will be brought into rail connection in less than two years by a line projected to cross from Mogaung, by the Hulong Valley, to join the Assam- Bengal railway at Leda. The more direct connection between Prome and Chittagong may not be an accomplished fact within five years. Neither of these routes, how- ever, is likely to prove of more than local importance, for, on account of the several ferryings incident to crossing the broad Bramaputra-Ganges Delta, it is improbable that even mail can be carried more quickly than by the present fast steamer service between Rangoon and Calcutta.

The 180-mile branch of the Burma rail- ways running easterly from Rangoon to

Lashio was planned at a time when Europe   had come to consider the breaking up of China as a matter almost of months, a

time when British ambitions were fixed

upon staking off the best part of Central China for herself by means of a great railway from Shanghai to Rangoon. This branch from Mandalay was to furnish the Burmese link in what would have been the first of Asia's great international sea- to-sea railways, but, before it had reached the goal—Kunming Ferry, on the Salween— things had eventuated calculated to give China promise of a new lease on life and Britain's interest in the development of her "sphere of influence" fell from a poli- tical to a commercial plane. She trimmed her ambitions to meet the changed condi- tions, gave up the plan of throwing a British railway across China, thereby dis- playing both tact and common sense.

The successful construction by an Ameri- can firm of the remarkable Gokteik Via- duct over the chasm of the Nam-Hpa-Se on the L?? branch of the Burma ??  

railways proved to be an entering wedge for American competition in a field hitherto practically closed to non-British bidders. This curved trestle, which is itself built upon a natural bridge of basalt over a thousand feet above the river torrent, pre- sented engineering features so unusual that tenders were called for from builders of all the world. The triumph of the   American firm opened their way   to other large contracts in India.

The Federated Malay States line.  

The connection between the British   Straits Settlements colonies of Penang and Singapore is effected by 422 miles of rail-

way among the east side of the Malay Peninsula, ferries from the mainland to each island, and 20 miles of line on the island of Singapore. The meter-gauge Federated Malay States Railway, which   also manages the Johore State Railway through the independent State of that name, is one of the best built and best run tropical railways in the world.

Already very prosperous through their average annual production of 30,000,000

dollars' worth of tin—far more than half of the world's total output—the various units of the ably conceived and maintained Federation of Malay States were in a posi- tion to give ample business to a railroad long before the vigorous exploitation of their agricultural resources doubled and trebled that business. Now that they lead the world in plantation-grown rubber, with numerous other tropical products footing up increasingly higher totals annually, the Federated Malay States line has developed into one of the most prosperous concerns in the East. Besides paying for excellent and up-to-date improvements and several branches and extensions, it has proved the largest and steadiest source of revenue of

the Government.

Two important branches run from the main line to Malacca and Port Swetten- ham, while a number of motor lines serve districts not reached by rail. A branch is under construction from Bahau, half- way between Penang and Singapore, in a northerly direction to Temarah, which would be the natural point of departure for a line up the fairly well populated east coast of the peninsula to Bangkok. A projected northerly extension from Prai (Penang Ferry) into the State of Kedah

will be the first link in the Singapore-Ran- goon line by the west coast of the penin- sula, which has been referred to in the paragraphs on Burma.

Java's Profitable Carriers.

The railways of the Dutch East India, like their population, are mostly crowded into the rich and beautiful island of Java. Out of a total of 1,500 miles of line in the whole archipelago, with its total area of 587,000 square miles, 1,400 have been laid in Java which, but a scant 48,000 square miles in extent, is but slightly larger than Luzon or Cuba. But for a short line from Batavia to Buitenzorg, the summer capital, all of this considerable mileage is state-owned and operated. On account of the extremely dense population of the island—600 to the square mile—and the absence of a great amount of water- borne competition, all lines have paid handsomely from the first, and but for the short-sighted policy of the home Govern- ment in deflecting a considerable part of the earnings of the State railways for use in Holland, the Javan system would be even more extensive than it is. Generally speaking, the railways of Java are con- structed with a thoroughness characteristic of the Hollandaise Dutchmen and run with a deliberation characteristic of the Dutch East Indian. There are no night trains between the large cities, and but few sub- urban locals are run after sunset. Acci- dents are almost unknown. Two short lines at Deli and Padang, on Sumatra, com- plete the list of the Dutch East Indian

railways, but with a fuller pacification of

           

the tribes of the interior and the inci- dental extension of agricultural activity, there will be a demand for improved trans- portation facilities in this the most favor- ably located of the great Mayasian islands.

Trunk Lines and Branches in the

Philippines.

Most of the railway history of the Philippines has been made since the final pacification of the islands in 1902. In 1892 the Manila Railway Company, a British corporation, opened a line running north from that capital through the rich central valley of Luzon to the port of Dagupan, a distance of 120 miles. This line, much damaged, by the incessant fighting which had waged about it for three years, was the beginning from which Luzon's present thoroughly up-to-date rail- way system was built. There are now over 600 miles of fine in operation, with plans complete for a comprehen- sive network on the broad and populous plain of western Luzon, and branches penetrating some of the fertile moun- tain valleys, these, where practicable, go- ing on to the rich and little developed east coast. Among other lines under construction is the urgently-needed branch from Aringay to Baguio, the lofty summer capital, at present served only by the enormously costly Benguet waggon road, large parts of which have been destroyed by flood nearly every season since it was

built.

The Philippine Railway Company, an American corporation, was given the concession for building the lines of     the Visayan or central islands of the archipelago, and to date a 35-mile trunk on the thickly-populated island of Cebu and about the same mileage op the island of Panay have been completed. These lines have cost rather more than was originally estimated—the Cebu line ran to over 50,000 dollars a mile—but they are most substantially built, with all bridges, culverts, and stations of steel and concrete, and the good business they are doing will doubtless justify the outlay. Active work on the 75-mile line projected for the island of Negros has not yet com-

menced.

A Franco-Chinese Venture.

The 300-mile French line from Hanoi to Yunnan-fu was projected, originally about the time of the Boxer troubles, as an almost purely strategic venture—as a harpoon, so to speak, thrown into what

had been picked out as France's fragment of dismembered China. Being put through in the face of China's growing evidences of vitality, it found itself, upon comple- tion in 1910, forced to face the world on its merits and its showing has been but a sorry one. Though of but meter gauge,

it cost over 60,000 dollars per mile, there, being a total of 150 tunnels, an average of one to every two miles of line. The longest trains that can he operated consist of but seventeen cars, and even these are able to average only fifteen miles an hour. Disasters from landslips have been ap- palling, one recent slide requiring a force of 1,000 coolies three months to remove. Both freight and passenger traffic have been very light, and, in the face of a good deal of local prejudice, prospects for the future are anything but encourag-

ing.

Under the circumstances it is not sur- prising to learn that the French have quite abandoned their original plan of   carrying their line a further 500 miles to the Yangtse, even could the concession be obtained. This latter line, which will run through a very rough and elevated country--some of the passes are over 8,000 feet high—is definitely projected by the Chinese, however, and it would not be surprising if the French line itself should pass under the control of the Imperial Go- vernment within the next five years. Under Chinese ownership, and as an out- let to the great province of Szechuan, the through line to the coast would become immensely profitable.

The Chinese Route from India to Europe..

Building from Yunnan-fu to the Bur-   mese border there would be three possible objective points—Kunlong Ferry, to meet the Lashio branch of the Burma railways to which allusion has been made; Bhamo, at the head of navigation on the Irrawadi, following the main caravan route; and Myitkyina, the terminus of the main trunk of the Burma, lines. The Kunlong route—apparently the shortest and least difficult—will notably be the one decided upon. This line, then, with the one spoken of to Szechuan which would met the Ichang extension from   Hankow already under way, will estab-   lish the connection between Rangoon and Peking. It is a possible consummation in five years; a probable one in ten— which means that India's first rail con- nection with Europe may be over the sweeping circuit by North China and

Siberia.

China's Achievements in Twelve Years.

Practically all of China's 5,000 miles of railway have been built since the Boxer Rebellion in 1900—a truly remarkable showing when we consider the handicap imposed by the superstition of her lower classes, the corruption of her officials, and the ruthless rivalries of foreign Powers each, working to serve its own selfish end.

"The mountains are high and Peking is far distant," was the stock proverb of the old Chinese official in justifying some unusually flagrant piece of independent action. The realisation that Peking—and punishment—was only two days distant by rail instead of two weeks by litter

has had a most salutary effect in raising the standard of official efficiency through   out the Empire, while in the greater and greater intermingling of East and West,

North and South, incident to cheap and swift means of communication, the sec- tional spirit of Old China is rapidly chang- ing into the nationalism of New China. A centralised China, bound together with bands of steel rails, will form a united whole which not all the grand and petty jealousies of European Powers can threaten with a "break-up."

With the disappearance of the fear and distrust which the Chinese once felt for the railroad the pendulum swung to the opposite extreme and a wave of promotion swept the country. Money was raised by private subscription, numerous companies were formed, and several lines of con-

siderable length were actually constructed. They were cheaply, if poorly, built, and

it is because of their low initial cost that they may be held chiefly responsible for the strong protests a certain faction among the Chinese is still making against foreign loans. "We admit that these lines of ours are not as well built as the foreign ones," they say; "but neither have they cost as much. We are a poor people and they are good enough for

us."

With the increasing evidences given by China of her ability to work out her own salvation came demands on her part for more liberal terms in the matter of loans, with the result that she was ultimately able to secure complete freedom of con- trol over the expenditure of the money borrowed for the construction of the Tint- sin-Pukow railway, and it is going to be very hard for anyone to make her borrow money without that privilege in the  

future. The inflexible stand made by the so-called Six-Power Group for retaining the right of control over expenditure of the 50,000,000 dollars which they were en- deavoring to loan to China was the one reason that they were, for a time, com- pletely outmanoeuvred and almost beaten by an independent syndicate, quite with-

out political support, which was willing to  

waive that obnoxious right.

The plans recently put forward by Sun Yat-Sen provide for the taking over by the Imperial Government and the standar- disation of all the existing railways in China to form the groundwork of a com-

prehensive system of 70,000 miles of new

lines.

Actual and Projected Chinese Systems.

It will be possible to outline here only very briefly the most salient features of China's existing and projected railway sys- tems. Peking is connected at present with the Yangtse by two routes; one by the Belgian-built line to Hankow and the Other via Tientsin and the recently com- pleted German-British-built line to Pu-   kow, opposite Nanking. The approaching completion of the Canton-Hankow line will give rail communication between North and South China for the first time, while the projected line from Canton to Nanking will offer an alternative route and, incidentally, open up a very rich country. Hangchow and Shanghai are al- ready in rail connection, and the gradual building of short lines serving the large coastal cities of Foochow, Amoy, and Swa- tow will intimately bring Canton and Shanghai into direct communication.

If the Chinese do not succeed in get- ting hold of the French railway in Yun- nan, they have a plan to furnish that province with an all-Chinese outlet by building a line from Yunnan-fu to the head of navigation on the West River, and on

to Canton.

The British-built Shanghai-Nanking rail- way furnishes communication between those two great cities, and the Chinese plan to extend the rails on up the Yangtse to Hankow, there to connect with the long- projected Hankow-Szechuan line, which is being built to wind above the famous

Ichang gorges and on to Chengtu, the capital of the empire's richest and most   populous province. Mention has already been made of the Chino-Burma connection, of which the line south from Chengtu to Yunnan-fu will probably be the last link completed.

From Peking the line of the Imperial railways of North China runs northward to connect with the South Manchuarian railway for we through service to Europe via Siberia. From the profits of this ably-managed line was built the famous Peking-Kalgan railway over the Nankow Pass and under the Great Wall, the first line to be financed, engineered, and built exclusively by the Chinese. The earnings of the Imperial railways of North China are also to be drawn on for a 230-mile extension from Kalgan to Sunyuan, in the north-west of Shanshi Province, near the Mongolian frontier. Suiyuan will be the junction of two lines of great impor- tance. The first of these to be built will be 800-mile extension across the Gobi   Desert to Urga and on to Kiachta, on the Russian frontier, there to meet a 100-mile spur thrown off front the Trans-Siberian near Irkutsk. This cut-off, which will save at least three days on the running time between Peking and Europe, as well as incalculably strengthening China's   weakened grip upon Mongolia, is likely to be completed at the end of five or six years, though the present friction between Russia and China may give it an indefinite

set-back.

The other line from Suiyuan is of es- pecial interest as being the main link in a great Central Asian transcontinental railway. The projected line will proceed south-westerly to Langchow, thence north westerly to Hami, and finally westerly to Kashgar, the capital of Chinese Turkestan. From Kashgar a 200-mile extension would unite this line with the Russian Central Asian railway from Tashkent at its ter- minus at Andijah. China's principal in- terest in this line will be in getting into closer touch with her far-flung Turkestan outposts; the country traversed is too largely desert to yield much traffic, while as a means of reaching Europe this route could hardly hope to vie with the shor-   tened Trans-Siberian.  

The Japanese System.

The Japanese railway system is like that of India in that the main trunks of it may be said to be complete, making the filling in between these with a network of   branches the chief concern of the future. Railway construction was inaugurated with the building of the Yokohama-Tokyo line in 1870. This 18 miles of line—which is now being quadruple-tracked, was opened in 1872, and two years later the Kobe- Osaka line of 20 miles was finished. In 1885 there were 25 miles of state lines and

135 miles of private, but the next 15 years brought the private-built mileage up to nearly 3,000, while the state lines just touched 950. In 1905 17 of the leading private lines—2,823 miles—were bought by the Government for 240,000,000 dollars, so that at the end of 1910 the mileage stood— State lines, 4,863; private lines, 507, mak- ing a total of 5,370, with 313 miles in

course of construction.

The existing Japanese gauge is 3 ft. 6 in., but this having proved inadequate to the demands of the increasing traffic, a general broadening of 4 ft. 8 in. is to be undertaken, that of the 700-mile trunk from Toyko to Shimonesek—a 12-year task— being now under way. Out, of a total of 114,000,000 dollars to be spent for broad gauging, it is estimated that 22,500,000 dol- lars must be used for the purchase of materials from abroad.  

In the year 1910-11 167,000,000 passengers and 32,000,000 tons of freight were carried on all Japanese lines, gross traffic receipts amounting to 55,000,000 dollars. The net profits of the 4,863 miles of state lines ag- gregated 6,500,000 dollars—not a very satis- factory figure.

Japan's railway activity in Formosa has consisted principally of pushing a solidly- built main line down the fertile and well populated west coast of the big island, from which branches will be thrown into the mountainous interior as fast as the war-like tribes are brought under centrol.

Manchurian Lines Completed and Pro-

jected.

Manchurian railway history is a record of Russian and Japanese rather than Chinese enterprise. By the Treaty of Portsmouth, Japan succeeded to the right to operate the railways which Russia had built in Southern Manchuria, and since the war the trunk line from Dalny to Mukden and beyond has been practically rebuilt, while both strategical and commercial con- siderations have been taken into account in constructing and projecting new exten- sions. Japan had full opportunity to learn of the disadvantage of a narrow gauge road in handling rush traffic in war time, and not only is she broadening all of her main lines at home, but those on the mainland of Asia as well. Beginning at   Fusan, opposite Shimonoseki, the 500-mile line across Korea to Wiju on the Manchu- rian border is being standardised. The 150-mile section to Mukden has already been broadened.

The work which was authorised for the

Trans-Siberian in 1910 is being actively pushed at all points, and when completed will leave that line double-tracked through- out its whole length of 6,844 miles and with double approaches at both the Pacific and European ends. The most important part of the new programme is the building of a line, starting from Koinga, on the Trans- Siberian, and running 1,300 miles down the Amur Valley to Khabarovsk, at the junction of the latter river with the Us- suri, to where another line has already been built from Vladivostock. Russia speaks of it as an "economic" line, but its real purpose is to gain an all-Russian ap-

proach to the Pacific where a new naval

base may be expected to be under way

before long. The cost of this 4,300 miles of line will be over 130,000,000 dollars.

The several military railways which Rus- sia flung out to the borders to Persia, Af- ghanistan, and Chinese Turkestan upward of fifteen years ago, cheaply built in the first place, have been allowed to fall into a bad state of disrepair.  

Gridironing Asia Minor—Pilgrim Traffic

to Mecca

Turkey-in-Asia has a very considerable railway mileage, the most and best of which is in the old and settled provinces of Asia Minor. These latter lines are   mostly German built and are generally well run and fairly prosperous. Nearly every line has one or more extensions in band, and another decade will find Asia Minor well covered with a network of rails. The curtailment of Turkey-in-Eu -

rope will undoubtedly greatly stimulate the development of the Ottoman Empire in  

Asia.  

From Beirut in Syria, a finely-built French narrow gauge line runs north, through the Lebanon mountains, 250 miles to Aleppo, with an easterly branch to Damascus on the edge of the desert. Da- mascus is the northern terminus of the much-talked of Hedjaz, or Mecca, railway, which was planned to handle the pilgrim traffic. The Turks availed themselves of German help in the construction of this line, but unfortunately, have tried to man- age it themselves. The opposition of the tribesmen made it impossible to build be- yond Medina, and the completed 800 miles

is probably the worst run, and the worst run down, piece of railway in the world. The pilgrim traffic has also been most dis- appointing, fully 80 per cent of the visitors to Mecca, according to statistics, covering the last five years, having gone by the old sea route to Jedda. The short French line from Jaffa to Jerusalem has had a precari- ous existence for many years, principally on account of Jaffa's deficiencies as a port. Should the Turks carry out their project of a line from the harbor of Caifa, a little farther north, it would practically force the French road to suspend.

The Famous Bagdad Railway.

But Turkey's biggest and most important

railway project is the line which, starting   from Konia, the terminus of the Anatolian railway from Stamboul, is being carried 1,250 miles in a south-easterly direction to Bussorah, at the head of the Persian Gulf, touching on the way Aleppo, the metropo- lis of Syria, Mosul, on the site of ancient Nineveh, and Bagdad, the one-time capital of the Kaliphs. The concession for build- ing 900 miles from Konia to Bagdad is in the hands of a German company, the gene- ral manager of which, Meissner Pasha, has an enviable record of twenty-eight years in railway construction in Turkey. The 350 miles from Bagdad to Bussorah, as a con- sequence of political jealousies, will pro- bably be participated in equally by Ger- many, Russia, France, and Great Britain. The Germans have a very liberal kilo- metrage guarantee for their part of tha line, which is being put through as a stan- dard gauge of the most substantial de- scription.

Unless the Balkan war may encourage Arab uprisings through draining this part of the country of troops, it is very likely that the Bosphorus and the Persian Gulf will be in touch by rail by the beginning

of 1917, at which time the completion of   two of the great Mesopotamian irrigation projects will further open the way for this ancient cradle of civilisation to come again to its own.

By Rail from Europe to India.  

To complete our survey of Asia we have

now but to consider briefly the probable - route of the long-clamored-for Europe-to-

India railway. Both on the score of direct- ness and the character of the country tra- versed, the ideal course for such a line would be from Constantinople to Bussorah, by the Bagdad railway as outlined above, and up to Karachi, by an extension down

the west side of the Persian Gulf across Baluchistan.

A number of patriotic Britons are advocating an "All Red" route, cutting across to   Bussorah from Suez, and from there to Karachi or Quetta. There are several ob- jections to this, not the least of which is the fact that the trans-Arabian section, far from being surveyed, has not even been ex- plored. Neither is it certain that Turkey, in the face of German opposition, would grant the desired concession. Finally, a railway from India to Egypt, even if  

finished, would still be on the Oriental side   of the Mediterranean; in short, could not   fulfil the purpose of the desired indo-Euro-

pean line. This leaves only the Trans-Persian line, projected to be built by Russia  

and India in co-operation.      

Russia has been desirous that her regular   5-ft. gauge should be laid all the way to the border of Baluchistan, but will probably acquiesce in the British proposal to end it at Kerman, or wherever the line enters the British sphere. The capital cost of the whole 2,000 miles of line from Aliat to  

Karachi is estimated at 175,000,000 dollars,   and it is figured that it would have to face an annual deficit of at least 2,500,000 dol- lars, to be made up by subsidies from In- dia and Russia.    

No one who has sounded beneath the     surface eddies into the real undercurrents, of Near Eastern politics will deny that there is much food for thought in the words of an old Turkish official whom I met one evening at the camp of some Bagdad rail- way engineers near Babylon.  

"Germany may build railways," he said:   "and England may build railways, and France may build railways; and in the end the Great White Bear will come down to the Persian Gulf and take his drink. If the railways happen to lie in his way he will probably take them also."

It is a long distance from the mouth of the Amur to the head of the Persian Gulf; but one cannot take even a hurried survey of Asiatic railway development without not- ing that the unretreating shadow of the Russian Bear reaches all the way across. The course of the future railway lines of Asia, like the course of the lines demarking the political boundaries, depends less   upon what happens in that continent than on what happens in Europe.

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