« PreviousContinue »
of (l43+ 33 +l2+ 153) 341 hours. The direct line of China steamers touching at Singapore would probably delay, ordinarily 6 hours at Penang and 12 at Singapore,—-this added to the steam distance gives 360 hours, makinga difierence in point of time in favour of the Krau route, via Akyab, of 19 hours, while the latter picks up all the trade. The valuable goods (opium especially) and the mail from England might be sent by a single steamer running twice a month to and from Calcutta to Krau. The cost of this steamer is shown in Table IV. and_the capital for construction of railroad would be reduced to £700,000, much more than sufficient, however. This arrangement of running a steamer direct to Krau from Calcutta would beat the direct line to China via Singapore, by 93 hours as follows :-— From Calcutta to Krau, 102 hours. From Krau to Tayoung, 12 ,, ,, Tayoung to Hong-kong, ... ... 153
Hong-kong, 163 ,,
Diiference, 93 hours, ... ... T0tal—36O ,,
and would give a regular weekly communication with Calcutta as shown in last para. while the line running via Akyab gives to the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal all the advantages of early communication with home, .which its western coast enjoys viii Madras. But the steamers viii Akyab, should not have to go up the Rangoon and Maulmein rivers, by which means other ]2 hours would be saved, making a total saving, even after touching at all the four posts (for Mergui would probably be moved to the Pakchan) of (19 + 3 + 12) 34 hours over the Singapore line. Elephant Point and Amherst Point should be the respective posts of call, for Rangoon and Maulmein, with telegraphic communication between those places and the capitals of Pegu, and the Martaban and Tenasserim provinces.
9th. All the trade between Maulmein and the Straits, for which there is no better mode of carriage than junks and kattoos, and all the tin found on both sides of the Pakchan, in the Lenya river, and indeed all along the coast up to Yeh, and which only requires capital and labour to develop to any extent, would be picked up at Krau, while the labour for the tin mines of the Pakohan, and possibly for the coal mines of Mergui, could be imported direct from China.
All the 1% millions of the Bankok trade and that of the Malayan .
Peninsula, on the eastern and western side, would be intercepted at Tayoung and Krau, also all adjuncts, which none of the present lines of steamers obtain, but which would go far to make them pay. Between Maulmein and Krau, where the coast is profusely wooded, wood-fuel might be used to increase profits, or decrease expenses, should it take any time to develop the trade carried on between Maulmein and Singapore. The cost of burning wood on this coast, as compared with that of coal, is as 1 to 10, taking the wood as 10 Rs. per 1000 billets, and coal at 25 Rs. 4 ans. per ton, and assuming that 250 billets 41 feet long, by 41 inches diameter, equal one hour’s steam, or one ton of coal.
18. It would answer no useful purpose, to go into all the figures necessary to establish even an approximate idea of the greater profit that would be assured to commerce and to Steam Companies, by adopting the new lines herein proposed instead of the present lines. It was only necessary to take three items, fuel, establishment, and time of actual running steamers, to prove our position, and if we can show, that by the saving of the two first of these items, we can establish communication across the Isthmus of Krau, which shall also beat all present lines in point of the third, and most valuable item, time, we think it unnecessary to examine into the contingent saving which, to any one who will give intelligent consideration to them, will manifestly appear enormous.
19. In the 3rd clause of the 17th para. we have shown the saving in fuel and establishment, of running steamers, to be 5 lakhs
per annum, representing a capital of one million sterling. Can the
communication by Krau be established within this sum ? If so, all
the contingent savings and gain in time, go to the profit of trade,
as well as any difference between the cost of the said communication,
and the keeping of it up. Our consideration of the subject of the
communication across the Isthmus of Krau has brought us to the following conclusions.
1st. That there should be two or three tug steamers with long flat-bottomed boats to carry goods and passengers from the fivefathom anchorage of the large steamers, 26 miles up the river Pakchan, as shown in the sketch map of the Isthmus, by the dotted green line, in which distance the river is nowhere less than one fathom at dead low water spring tides. There is a rise and fall of 8 feet. Time three hours’ towing.
2nd. At this point (see plan) opposite Namoy river, a railway terminus and hotel, whence a railway will proceed, (leaving Krau to the north) by Tasan, to Tsoompeon on the shore of the gulf of Siam, distance fifty miles. Time three hours.
3rd. Allow other six hours for discharging in the Pakchan, and loading at Tayoung on the Siam side, (where there should be another railway terminus and hotel) total time twelve hours, which is more than that required by the P. & 0. Co. at Suez, on whose arrangements we will suggest further improvements. 9
4th. There need be only one station in the centre of the line where the rail should be double on either side, for the distance of about one mile, to allow of trains passing, the remainder of the line may be single as the Suez line.
5th. The boats of eight or ten tons for the river service, should form the bodies of the carriages for the railroad service, patent slips being formed at the Krau terminus and if necessary also on the gulf of Siam shore, up which the loaded boats may be dragged on their own wheels, which could form the slip cradles, and the boats could be tacked on to the engine and proceed to the other side without any delay. The arrangement of the boats for goods and passengers is a matter of detail easily managed. There is no reason why a carriage should not be in the form of a boat, especially when time is saved in loading and expense in rolling stock. These boats would be at the anchorage, ready for the steamers as they come in from the mouth, when loaded, would be towed up to the railway terminus, dragged up the slips, and taken off at once per rail to Tayoung, where there should be a wharf for the China steamers, to lie along side, if there be water enough, if not, the carriage should be launched at once on to the sea, and sent to the steamers.
6th. We would here observe again, that our survey was rough, that we merely passed along the native line (which is well defined, but in many places in the beds of rivers) with perambulal or, compass and aneroid, that our aneroid showed no height above the sea of more than seventy-five feet, and that our route presented no obstacle of engineering difliculty,ibeyond dips to nullahs, ordinarily twenty or thirty feet wide, with some three or four rivers from one to two hundred feet wide. A careful survey would be necessary.
7th. We would, however, recommend very little masonry, though lime and fuel for bricks are in abundance, but the vast and inexhaustible forests, through which the line passes, are full of timber suitable for sleepers, for bridges, for stations and wharfs and for fuel for the locomotives, all that would be required from England would be plant, permanent-way, and rolling stock, the labour for the work being procurable from China to any amount.
8th. We will double, what in our own, somewhat experienced minds, would be the cost of such a railroad across the Isthmus, and put down the amount at £5000 per mile, including stations, wharfs, hotels, coal-sheds, &c., &c. and rolling stock for fifty miles of rail £250,000. For the river service three tug steamers with all the advantages of disconnecting engines, towing with a single hawser &c. which the Thames tugs possess, ati£l5,000 each equal to, . 45,000 12 Coal Barges @ £800, .......... .. 9,600 Rolling Stock 50 miles, ... 250,000 Contingencies at 50 per cent. including Buoying
or say 1-3rd of a million sterling. But there is the interest on a capital Qf one million of money, saved every year in fuel, and establishment qf'1'unn1§n_q steamers alone; surely it must be worth while the expending such a capital, in establishing this communication.
20. 'W e therefore think, that without reference to the dangerous navigation, the Straits line should be abandoned as a communication between India and Europe, and China; as the old Cape of Good Hope line was abandoned for the Suez line. Considering, however, the
difiiculties of the Straits navigation, and peculiarity of the China Sea, the steamers would probably do all the work, and beat sailing vessels off the field, which they cannot do now, because the present charges upon steamers are so heavy; this will be modified by adopting the Krau route.
21. The extra service required to give at weekly mail to Calcutta, by a single extra steamer running twice a month between Aden and Point de Galle, might be well undertaken by the P. and 0. Company, as well as the whole service (by a lower class of steamers however on the China side than is at present employed)-between Ceylon and Krau, and gulf of Siam and Hong-kong. The Companies running the direct lines steamer, between Calcutta and Hong-kong via Singapore, and the‘ line between Calcutta via Akyab, &c., and Maulmein, might advantageously to themselves and to the public amalgamate, and run one steamer twice a month direct to Krau, to meet the China and Europe steamers returning direct to Calcutta; two from Calcutta via Akyab, Rangoon, and Maulmein to Krau, returning via those posts. The railway should be a separate Company, and there should be a condition in their contract which would scarcely require a guarantee to that effect.
22. WVith these arrangements carried out, we may incidentally mention, that the telegraph, instead of being submarine from Rangoon should be carried along the coast from Maulmein, with a junction with the railway telegraph at Krau, and also a junction with the Rangoon and Tongoo telegraph at Sittang, thus giving another line of telegraph communication with Calcutta, by which English news, and China news, may be transmitted from Krau.
23. The arrangement which might be made with the Government of Siam, for the grant of land &c. has not formed a subject for our discussion, as with the present liberal-minded, and far-seeing monarch on the throne of Bankok, to whom the advantages which must result to himself and his people, by carrying out this project, will be at once obvious, we see no diflieulty on this point.
2-1. We have thus laboured to prove, and we think have done so satisfactorily that as a mere speculation, the construction of a railway across the Isthmus of Krau, will be profitable; that the communication may be established for a third of the capital, the
interest of which is now being expended yearly on more fuel and