having nearly the same amount of railway mileage. In Mexico the national government is carrying out a consistent policy of developing its railway lines. It has succeeded in restoring the credit of these enterprises, and is proceeding with care and skill to form the lines into an efficient transportation system. In Argentina about 15% of the railways are owned and operated by the government, the balance being in the hands of private companies, largely controlled in England. Development of these lines has been primarily an extension from the large cities in the East to the agricultural districts in the West, but a change of great importance was brought about in 1910 by the completion of the last tunnel on the Argentine Transandine Railway, which serves to connect Santiago, Valparaiso and the other great cities of the west coast with Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and the other great cities of the east coast. Naturally the company named does not reach all of these points, but its line across the Andes supplies the indispensable link of communication, in the absence of which the east coast towns and the west coast towns have hitherto been as widely separated as if they had been located on different continents—indeed, far more widely separated in point of time and of freight charges than Great Britain and the United States.
Table IV. shows as closely as possible the railway route mileage open in Asia at the close of 1907.
|Table IV.—Railways of Asia in 1907|
|Central Russia in Asia||2,808|
|Siberia and Manchuria||5,565|
|Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia and Cyprus||2,930|
|Portuguese East Indies||51|
|Dutch East Indies||1,509|
Although more than half of the total mileage of Asia is in British India, it is probable that the greatest proportionate gains in the near future will be in China, Siberia and Manchuria, and Central Russia in Asia. In proportion to its population China has the least railway development of any of the great countries of the world; the probability that its present commercial awakening will extend seems large, and in that case it will need a vast increase in its interior communications.
In Africa, it will be seen by Table V. that the railway mileage in the British possessions amounts to almost five-sixths of the total.
|Table V.—Railways of Africa in 1907|
|Algiers and Tunis||3,049|
|British South Africa||7,028|
|British Provinces, except South Africa||1,235|
The so-called Cape-to-Cairo route shows occasional extensions, particularly in the opening up of new country in Central Africa by the Rhodesian railway system. The Rhodesian railway system in 1910 had penetrated north of Broken Hill, which is just above the fifteenth parallel of south latitude, while the Egyptian railway system had reached Gondokoro, located close to the fifth parallel of north latitude. The intervening distance, through country exceedingly unhealthy for white men, and therefore promising no traffic except raw materials, does not seem a likely field for rapid railway extension.
In Australia the increase in railway mileage in the five years ending December 31st, 1907 was about 7%—a small proportion as compared with America, Asia or Africa. The greatest increase, both relative and absolute, was in Queensland; the smallest in South Australia, which added only 24 m. during the five years. Yet the mileage open per 10,000 inhabitants in Australia, as a whole, far surpasses that in any other of the broad geographical divisions.
|Table VI.—Railways of Australia in 1907|
|New South Wales||3,471|
Table VII. illustrates the mileage open to the end of 1907 per 100 sq. m. of territory and per 10,000 inhabitants. It will be observed that Belgium leads all the countries of the world in what may be called its railway density, with the United Kingdom a far-distant second in the list, and Persia last. In railway mileage per 10,000 inhabitants, however, Queensland, in the Australian group, reports a figure much greater than any other country; While at the other end of the list Persia holds the record for isolation.
Table VII.—Miles open at the End of 1907
|Russia in Europe, including Finland||1·8||3·4|
|Turkey in Europe, Bulgaria, Rumelia||1·9||2·0|
|Malta, Jersey, Man||16·1||1·9|
|Central Russia in Asia||1·3||3·6|
|Siberia and Manchuria||0·11||9·8|
|Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia, Cyprus||0·5||1·5|
|Algiers and Tunis||0·8||4·5|
Complete estimates for the balance of Africa not available.
- No accurate returns for Central America, Greater and Lesser Antilles and Dutch Guiana.
- Estimates of area and population incomplete for Cochin China, Cambodia, Annam, Tonkin, Pondicherry, Malacca and Philippines.