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The Kuaeian ra lrond syatom m Asia is .attracting a good deal of attention now. The completion of the lines to Samarcand on the south, and to Tyutnea m Western Siberia, gives promise of th-* eventual gridironing of Northern Asia The latest reIport is that an American syndicate is to receive a subsidy from the Russian Govornment for building lines rraohng Boross the country to the moulh < f the Ainoor, Amerioins have done n great deal of railroad building m Russia and American locomotives have found favor there, and it is likoly enough that American engineering skill ani enterprise may be called to tbe work of opening o Jiumu ication across Biberia, but that ihe government will lot the ownership and control out of its hands is not probable The object of building the road is largely military and political. The Amoor and Pacifio Coast Provinces are now pr ctioally isolated from Western Siberia and Kuseia m Europe. They border China, and there is i o natural boundary of mountains and desert aeparating them from the Chinese Province of Manchuria, as is the case farther west. Rutsian colonisation, conquest, and defence call for closer comum ication. The value of tho port and naval station of Vladivcstock, at the mouth of the Amoor, is also bolitrled by its remoteness and inaccessibility from the main empire.

The commercial importance of the proposed road is also great. biberia, except m its northern portion, is naturally a productive country. It has large tracts of good grain land, bound! si pavures, and its mineral and timber resources aie i iraraenee. At present this natural wealth ia inaccessible except by fne slow and costly process of team transportation, and by river communication daring a, part of the year. Tho great livers Obi, Yenosoi, and Lena* with their tributaries, flow northward to the Arctio Ocean, and even m summer steam communication from Europe alona the northern coast to their mouths is difficult and often impossible on account of ioa. Plnns have been form-d for improving the river navigation and for a canal system, but theae works can only m part compensate for the Japk of rail communication.

The manufacturing industries of the provinces of Tobolsk and Tomsk, m Western and Ot-ntral Siberia, are already considerable. There are, according to official reports, 2,800 factories, which employ 12,690 men and produce goods hnnudliy to the value of about $11,000,000. Tanneries and tallow factories account for about half of this product, (he remainder being worked up from raw vegetable inateri-.1. The miner! resources are almost untouched. These industries are the growth of the last fifteen years, during which time modern machinery has been introduced, and the completion of rajl communication to Tyumen, has stimulated business.

The) completion of the road to the Pacifio will largely develop the Chinese trade. The over'and traffic In tea and other Ohinsae goods (a now great, but the oost cf transportation Is onormoui. It la oar ( led on almost exclusively by camel trains across Mongolia, and its dlfficaltv and expense have led Russian merohants to project a portable tramway aoroaa the plajos, (he motive power to be oaraels, but enabling }O,PPQ to do the work which now reqnlre 60,000. With the railroad completed, steamers would oonvey tea from Hankow to Vladivostok, and thence it would go by rail to all parts of the empire,

From an engineering point of view there few »r3 cbataclea to the proposed system, except the bridging of the great riven and the pwnge of the vast swamps of Wentern Siberia, whtoh will render that part of the line expeneive. There are no step grades to be surmounted. The (Jlatanco fjoqa Tyumen to Valdlvo* atock is 3950 miles by tbe proposed route, and the Co3t of the oonstruatlon li estimated at from $375,000,000 to £525,000,000. 'Hiese are large figures, bnt aosjlent to appeal raodernj enterprise, eaptolally when they stand for 'he opening of a vast region rloh m reeonroea. The result of railroad extension m oar Western Territories In building ap tbe oountry is an earnest of what may follow like enter* prise In Siberia. AUhoagh Baula In Europe is usually spoken of as a thinly sett'ai onuniry. the density of its population to tbe eqaare nvle »ver#gea more than twice that of the United States, and the Russian peasant Is given to pushing eastward for fresh fields.

These considerations give California and the United States a living interest In this proposed opening of Siberia, Whether the talked-of road op the West Coast, to connect with a Siberian system by a ferry at Behrlng Straits ever materialises or cot, the ease and rapidity of steam oommuufoatlon between San Franolsoo and the mouth of the A moor lend Importance to tbe gathering there and beyond of a numerous population who will beoome onr customers m the future. — " 'Frisco Bulletin."

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Bibliographic details

OPENING SIBERIA., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2054, 4 February 1889

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OPENING SIBERIA. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2054, 4 February 1889

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