Newspaper Page Text
FROM CAPE TO
7,000-Mile Railway Is Being Built in
Spite of Lions, Elephants, Ants
and Natural Obstacles
DURING the last few years much
progress has !cen made In that
romantic and daring under
taking Hie Cape to Cairo Hall
way. Indeed railway trips from the
Nile right through the centre of the
Dark Continent should be possible with
in the next few years. The enterprise
has been brought to public notice
through the Belgian Government hav
ing ceded to Great Britain a strip of
land in the Congo so that Africa's tlrst
transcontinental line will run on British
soil throughout from Cape Town In the
extreme south of the continent to Alex
andra In the far north, a distance of
It was Cecil Ithodes's ambition that
the railway should traverse British ter
ritory throughout Its entire length, but
when the Germans annexed the whole
if the east bank of I-ake Tanganyika
this plan was apparently rendered In
capable of fulfilment. Mr. Rhodes tried
hard to wrest a portion of this terri
tory from the Germans and personally
Freak Claims Against the City
NO corporation In tho world Is
obliged to defend so many
or so varied claims for dam
ages as New York city. Every
conceivable excuse for collecting money
from the city treasury Is resorted to.
The city Is of course very vulnerable
to such attacks. Any accident, Ciowcver
trivial, which may occur at any hour
of the day or night on any of Its
endless streets may serve as an excuse.
In the course of u year these claims
aggregate millions of dollars.
Many of the claims are fantastic. One
day last summer a prisoner was brought
to n downtown police station his
offence toad nothing to do with the
case and taken before the desk. Tho
window chanced to be wide open, and
the prisoner shook himself free from the
policeman and made a leap fur liberty.
The movement wns so sudden that the
getaway was successful.
At this moment n luckless man hap
pened to be passing beneath the window
and the prisoner came down directly on
top of him. The pus.-erby served to
break the prisoner's fall, but unfor
tunately his leg was broken. A suit
wns quickly brought against the city
In the past year 550 cases Involving
damage claims against the city have
been brought to trial. These cases are
defended ly Assistant Corporation
Counsel George Milton Curtis, Jr. In
1912 suits were brought against the city
for the sum of lt.381.S65.97. TUe casts
were fought so energetically, however,
that only $65,000 wns actually recovered,
and this amount was reduced by gome
120,000 on appeal. Less than l'.i per
cent, of the amount claimed was actually
paid out, which Is the lowest record of
its kind In the history of the city.
In previous years as much us 10 per
cent, of the total amount claimed has
An immense amount of work Is In
volved In running down fake claims.
The wlty of the claimants and their
lawyers must be matched by the city's
lawyers. Mr. Curtis bus had long ex
perience in defending claims brought
against a large railroad corporation,
and there are very few tricks In the
trade that he Is not famillur with.
An unusual case came up recently In
which the claimant sued with some
show of success for Injuries Incurred on
Bluckwell's Island. The claimant wns
'enjoying the city's hospitality when one
day nt dinner, tiring of the menu, he
suddenly reached out und grabbed the
dinners of the guests on either side of
him. There, was an Instant protest and
a free light ensued.
When the diners had been quieted the
offender was placed in the "cooler" to
calm down. The weather chunced to be
cold nnd the ''cooler" was really very
cold. After a day or no of Imprison
ment the guest was released and dis
charged. Shortly aftcrvvurd a suit for
damages was brought on the ground
that tho man's feet had been frozen
while In the "cooler" nnd that the Injury
Interfered with him carrying on his
In preparing the case the lawyers for
the city first Investigated the record of
the claimant and found thut he had re
cently served a term of xlx months as a
vagrant. In other words he was n
tramp and his profession wuh actually
Interfered with by the accident.
Many of the claimants In bringing a
ult against the city are of course look
ing for troube. They cheerfully put
themselves In the way of danger In thi
hope that some accident will enable
them to collect from tho city treasury.
on the Cape to Cairo Railroad.
approached tho Kaiser on the matter,
but In vain. The Belgians, however,
evidently awake to the value of the rail
way, have now agreed to transfer a
strip of the Congo to the British flag,
thus making the Cape to Cairo project
an all llrltlsh route.
Northward the line has crossed Into
the Congo from northwestern Ilhodeshi
to a place called Kllzabethvllle, 3,320
miles from Cape Town, to which point
trains are now running regularly. Then
from Cairo the rails have been pushed
southward for u distance of 1,400 miles
from Khartun. right Into the heart of
the Sudan. If advantage Is taken of
the upper reaches of tho Nile and the
great lakes here, tho Albert Nyanza and
the Victoria Nyanza, by placing steam
ers upon them und running them in
conjunction with tho railway less than
nine hundred miles of rail will need to
be laid to complete a through com
munication. Although the Cape to Cairo Hallway
will now be British throughout It must
not be forgotten that its object is purely
When one of these professionals has
the good luck to be knocked ocr by a
city vehicle or to be Jostled by a rut In
the city streets he loses no time In pre
paring his case.
Jt would surprise the average layman
to hear that an astonishing number of
claims are made to regain stolen goods.
There Is a burgl ir now -ervlng a twenty
year sentence in Sing Slug who has en
gaged lawyers to mover the loot for
stealing which he was sent to prison.
Tho collection In this case was a very
large one, running from silk stockings
to diamond rings. An Ingenious way
has been found for defeating these
claims. The plaintiff Is told that In
most prove his icmneetlon vvitlj the
property and lis this would of course
CAIRO ON STRIP
commercial. Starting as It does from
the east end of the Mediterranean it
will never bo able to compete with the
direct sea route from England to the
Cape in point of speed. But, like a
gigantic b ckbone, It will carry the
nerves of commercial life along the
continent, promote local traffic and by
means of branches to the oceans on
east and west furnish outlets for the
great future trade of Africa's wealthiest
region the central.
The work has been stupendous and
the difficulties Immense. There has
been the unfriendly attitude of tho
natives to contind with and overcome,
there have been encounters with Hons,
elephants and other wild beasts In the
northwestern parts of Hhodesla; and
then as tho Congo was approached the
ravages of the white ant and other ter
mites had to be reckoned with. It was
here also that the line entered the area
where sleeping sickness was rife.
It was on May 29, 1003, that the rail
way reached the awe inspiring Victoria
Falls, some 1,650 miles from Cape Town.
Then It pushed northward to Broken
Hill, n district very rich In all kinds of
Along this section of the route na
tives turned out In thousands to Inspect
this "wonderful animal belonging to the
white man that ran on rails and fed on
tire and took medicine oil to keel
away the fever." Mens and other wild
beasts gave trouble here. There was
a standup encounter once between a
Involve him In the theft no more Is
heard of the claim.
A similar problem comes up with re
gard to gambling equipment of nil
kinds. The gambler who has been
raided often has the nerve to make a
formal claim on the city for the rou
lette wheels and other furniture carried
away from the gambling house. Un
der the law the city has no right to
keep such material, but an ingenious
way has been found to answer such
claims. The claimant is told politely
that his material will be returned to ,
him if he desires it, but it has been ,
tieeessar.v to mark it for Identification, ;
The Identifying is dune wit li an ac. i
ami so thorotighl.v that the material is '
pnn tteall.v ruined,
,,fTHE Sflflfr ftUffpAY,., DECEMBER
Ant Hill used by railroad surveyors as a lookout station.
lion and a lioness and four native work
men armed only with crowbars and
pickaxes. Though all the mm were
badly mauled, they managed to keep
the brutes at bay until a party armed
with rifles arrived and despatched the
On another occasion a construction
train was puffing along with a heavy
load of material near Owelo when a
fullgrown lion was sighted stretched
right across the line and basking peace
fully in the sun. In reply to the whistle
of the engine the brute looked up lazily,
but did not move. The efforts of the
driver and stoker to drive him off the
line by pelting him with billets of wood
were no lietter rewarded.
The train was on the point of coming
to a standstill when the lion lost his
temper. He took a sudden spring at
the engine, seeking In vain for some
thing on Its smooth surface Into which
he could drive his claws and thus se
cure a foothold.
Again and again the beast sprang,
falling clear of the engine every time.
The driver then realized that the best
thing to do was to go full speed ahead
and trust to the weight of the trucks
behind him to keep the train on Its line
and clear the Hon from its path. This
was done, with the result that the Hon
a mngnlllcent specimen was cut to
pieces by the engine wheels.
A number of natives have lost their
lives by lclng carried off by Hons while
asleep In their camps. For this reason
strong palisades arc built around them,
and the cattle are kept In specially con
One engineer, tired of antelope and
other venison from the bush, longed for
sumo fresh lamb and mutton and ac
cordingly brought up a Mock of some
sixteen sheep and placed them In what
was thought to be a Hon proof corral.
The same night following their arrival
two lions got Into the corral and killed
the sheep, their growls being heard In
the still night air for miles.
A Scotchman working on the line
was surprised one day to receive a let
ter from his wife in Scotland saying
that she hail made up her mind to come
out ami Join him. as he must be very
lonely living among the blacks and
having no one to cook for him. In due
course she arrived.
rnfnrtim.itcly the house vvlileb the
engineer had iiistriieti d to be built was
incomplete when liW wife arrived.
Blankets were accordingly placed over
MAKING A ROAD FOR THE RAILWAY.
OF BRITISH TERRITORY
tho doorless entrance and over the
window openings and the engineer und
his wife retired to rest. In the dead
of night they were awakened by the
growls of Hons und it was clear that tho
brutes were prowling round the house
in search of prey.
The two sut up in bed by the light of
a candle, the man holding a loaded rille
ready und the woman sobbing with fear.
The man would havo gone, out and
driven the beasts off, but hu had only
two cartridges left and had perforce to
remain Inactive. Hut It was too much
for the wife's nerves and tho next
morning she took a train down the line
to Hulavvayo and sought a cottage with
strong doors and windows.
Elephants have given trouble by tear
ing up the roadbed nd pulling down
telegraph wires und upsetting the posts.
At a point north of the Victoria Fulls
u herd of elephants regularly crossed
the railroad night and i.iornlng to anil
from their watering grounds. This went
on for months until one d.iy the herd
were In the net of making the passage
when nn express trai l came ulong.
Seeing the elephants in front of him
the driver endeavored to frighten tlietn
off by opening nil the valves, making
us much noise as possible. It failed to
have the desired effect, and after eyeing
the locomotive suspiciously for a few
minutes a bull elephant decided to
charge It. He came at full bpeed down
the road, head lowered, trumpeting
viciously, looking the very picture of
Canadian Silhouettes "The
C HANOI: is busy In western Can
ada. All classes back East and
In the old country are contrib
uting to the setting up of Its
expanses. But Instead of the adven
turers and the restless from various
walks of life coming uui here (with
their love of roving for a quality in
common), there come now shiploads
of one class, promenade dcckfuls of
another, each bunih before It starts
with a tlxed Idea of where It Is going
With the wind that frlowcth where
it hsteth the immigrants of to-day have!
much less In mmmoti than had those I
who llmkid bnln-r in the nod of
Train on the bridge over Zambesi.
Cecil Rhodes's Dream of Railway From
Southern Tip of Africa to Mediter
ranean Is Being Realized
brute force. The driver at once re
versed tho engine, but the collision
came, and the shock was such that the
engine was derailed, though not over
turned, and the elephant securely
pinned by one of his legs under the
weight of the engine. He was then
1'asslng over the Kafu River by
means of a bridge 1,900 feet In length
the line runs to Broken Hill Mine. Un
this section of the road the engineers
carried out a smart piece of Work,
which Is chiefly remarkable In view of
the fact that nutlvu labor Is being ex
A French railroad engineer who had
been engaged in constructing railroads
In French West Africa visited the
rail head and refused to believe that
the lulls could be laid at the rate of
a mile n day, which Is the average
speed of construction, remarking that
half a mile was tl.e maximum. In
order to demonstrate to the French
man the methods adopted upon the
transcontinental railway the natives
set to work und laid a quarter of a
mile of track In twenty minutes, fol
for a goml example Morley Hoberts's
"Western Avernus." They are "going
out tae get a Juab vvhnur Turn went
last year ye ken aye. at Canadl," or
they are going "to take a place, doncher.
know, near Col. Higglnbottom, doncher
know, awfully Jolly, any amount of
sport, rlppln' place."
Any one who knew the upper Co.
luniblu Valley (that lies between Cran
brook and Golden) ten years ago would
stand amazed If he visited It to-day,
The stage couch diiven by u young
man veai'iig fr. ir-red gauntlets is gone.
They should do n I'lii.nl.i with the
stave eonh befnic it Is too late what
'i v 'i.ivi done i'i London with the
lowing up this achievement by com
pleting five nnd three-quarter miles In
At Broken Hill. 2,017 miles from Cape
Town, the line turn north nnd crosses
the frontier of Hhodesla into the Congo.
So far it has reached Ellzabethville.
2,320 miles from the cape, the furthest
point to which one muy now travel.
In this region the white ont caused
trouble. Ellzabethville stutlon formerly
consisted of a masa of ant heaps rising
from twenty to y feet In height.
These were all cleared uwny nnd o
thriving central African town ha
sprung up there. As these Insects de
stioy ever) thing except Iron nnd steel
the crosstles for the roadbeds lire ot
special pattern nnd made of steel.
The line Is being continued north
ward to Bankela. Thus) Is Cecil,
Hhodcu's great dream of an all British
railway through tho cfntre of the Dark
Continent being realized. To-day you
can travel In up to date trains, pos
seting every modern convenience, right
up from Cape Town to the Victoria
Falls and beyond through the very cen
tre of Africa into the Congo.
hansom secure one for a museum.
The motor car has ousted It, and
though the life of the best car upon
the rough wagon roads of the mountains
is not a long one, there Is always mone.v
to buy another. They take their cars
almost anywhere at top speed; and when
the car "goes bust" they only laugh
Motor cars carry the settler to the
upper Columbia Valley from Golden
south or from Cranbrook north.
The society of this most beautiful of
valleys Is now ns follows: a few old
timers, most of them full of wild tales
of the old days, all of which tin do
not tell: the old hotel keepers; lumber
men coming from or going to camp- In
the hills; men who work on the vv.igm
roads; teamsters from the livery ta' .- s
Kootenai Indians In a mixture of ap
parel store clothes and ileei.-Um
moccasins, cowboy hats and bead neck
laces. On top of this has come the
great Influx of the new type.
A very charming hotel has been built
In the heart of the valley and Is greatly
patronized by the newcomers. It has
baths with hot and cold water. It !.- lit
by acetylene gast Enter and Maml
amazed, hearing the voices with, their
"tie-ah" nnd "they-ah."
The old timers have gone Into their
shells. They feel us If u descent .f
, Martins has taken place in their mld-t
But when the newcomers have all their
bungalows built nnd a few trees stuck
In nnd the polo ground cleared and
nave generally sunken down, doubtl.-s
they of the falsetto voice and thev of
the quiet gruff ones will come to under
stand each other.
Meanwhile the railway follows the
motor car that followed the stage
coach that followed tho pack train.
The House of Progress Is rising quickly.
If a photograph of a speeding bullet
could be taken the print would probably
show u space like n body of water
marked by what looked like Mlteeit ! lie"
water bugs, each leaving a' ripple In it
wake. Photographs of projectiles have
been snapped In time of peace, but It is
, doubtful If the camera ever caught
i one as It sped on Its mi-shm of death.
A bullet speeding at. the rate of 3,nun
f feet n second, which Is more than 2 nan
I miles an hour, makes a great dl-ttirb-.
umv in Ku atmosphere nnd creates
1 air waves, which of course me invisible
i lo the naked eye.
If you draw u stick through the
1 water It causes little eddies and waves
to trail behind It. The faster ou draw
the stick the more wuves and uho
wider the angle will It leave. Tho
slower the stick Is drawn the fewer
waves. Just so tho bullet, If It is
travelling slowly no waves can bo
photographed, us apparently there nro
none, it is only objects travelling ut n
teirillc speed that create any iipprecl
able air waves.
Photographs of a bullet going nt n
rute of speed less than 1,200 feet a
second ahuw no air waves at all. This
Is un Interesting scientific discnv.i.v
But anything cutting through the air
at a greater rate than this disturb- I a
atmosphere to such great eM. ui ' i
air waves tire formed and can be photo-graphed.