A Railway Across the Sahara.
The French “Journal Official ” contains a report addressed to the President of the Republic by the Minister of Public Works on the proposed railway across the Sahara, followed by a decree appointing a coni mission to inquire into the question of opening railway communication between Algeria and Senegal and the interior of Soudan. The commission is to examine into the possibility of constructing such a railway, the best route to be followed, the means of protecting it from raids by natives or animals, and from damage by rain or sand-storms, Ac, and to estimate the probable cost of construction and working and maintenance. M. de Lesseps is said to have warmly approved the project, which is also supported by the Minister of Public Works. Now that official encouragement has been given to the idea, the question will bo thoroughly worked out. Private enterprise has for some time been directed to the scheme, and several reconnoitring expeditions have been sent out to survey the probable route and ascertain correct particulars i.s to the condition of the country. A contemporary states that two explorers, MM. Fousean and Fan, who have lately visited the country south of Algeria, report very favorably of the capabilities of the land “ Leaving Greyville, in the province of Oran, in November, with a caravan comprising over 2000 men and 8000 camels, they started for Gourara, where the caravan was to buy dates and other native produce. Crossing a series of sandhills, they came to the village of fruits and vegetables. A comparatively high range of hills, covered with alfa, had to be crossed, advantage being takpn of two passes or defiles, when the oasis of
P.re/dna was rea lied, situated on the I banks, or rather i n mod by the waters, of the s re m known as O.ied Seggneur, which uly runs after heavy rains, and i* s -on 1 >st in tile sand. Several other 1 o uses, as the ill I Main, El Haoneta and j Taljoronna, were visited en route to Laglionst. The country generally is described as a series of undulating plains—the two words are expressive, though apparently contradictory—interspersed with clumps of tall pistachio-nut trees. During the winter season numerous flocks of sheep, camels and oxen were seen all along the route, with the tents of their owners pitched hero and there in this apparently fertile ‘ desert.’ ”
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, 25 October 1879
A Railway Across the Sahara. Ashburton Guardian, 25 October 1879
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