Benguela Railway - The Great West Gate to Central Africa - Lobito BayThe Benguela Railway - Caminho De Ferro De Benguela
Booklet undated, but a reference in the text to 1929 probably dates the booklet to early 1930's (certainly pre WW2). 32 page booklet - c.15cm by 23cm (S8020WSO)
The Beguela Railway is in Angola, and was built in several stages in the early years of the last century to connect the Angolan port of Lobito to the eastern border town of Luau (and from their to neighbouring countries). The railway proved to be hugely important to the economy and trade of the country, and this booklet is a type of brochure advertising the railway and its services and operations.
There are sections on tickets and fares, the types of carriages and rolling stock available, luggage rules, transport regulations, descriptions of the principal stations on the railway, shipping lines calling at Lobito, freight, passenger agents, information on Angola, and even rules governing natives travelling in anything other than third class!
From the first inside page: The Benguela Railway line is 1,347 kilometres long (837 miles). It is of the Standard African gauge of 3 ft. 6 in. (I,067 mm.), and runs from Lobito Bay on the Atlantic to the eastern frontier of Angola, which is crossed near Dilolo on the international bridge over the River Luau, where Angola adjoins the Belgian Congo.
The conception of this new route to South and Central Africa which led up to the development of the port of Lobito Bay emanated from a Scotsman, Robert Williams, on whom a Baronetcy was conferred in 1928 for his work during the last half-century in the development of Africa, and who died suddenly on April 25th, 1938.
The line is the latest addition to the existing feeders of the maintrunk line from the Cape to Cairo, and provides Northern Rhodesia, the Katanga District of the Belgian Congo, and in fact all districts in Southern Central Africa, with an economic outlet to the sea and to the world's markets via Lobito Bay.
The advantages of this new route over all others may be summarised as follows: It connects the above territories to their natural sea port. Compared with other routes it reduces the distance from Europe and North America by up to 3,000 sea miles and 1,000 rail miles. (See comparative table of distances on page 4.) For European shippers and manufacturers it is unquestionably the quickest and most economical route to the territories served, the saving in time and transport charges representing a considerable reduction in the landed cost of goods in Central African markets. Climatic conditions are healthier and more congenial. After eight hours' rail travel from Lobito an altitude of 4,000 feet is reached, where the climate is cool and exhilarating andvery similar to that of Europe.
The condition of the booklet is generally poor, but is perfect as a reading copy or reference for study. The cover has several scuffs, blemishes and creases, and nibbling and wear along the edges and corners. There is rusting in and around the staple binding, and the middle 4 pages of the booklet have become detached from the binding. There is also light yellowing along the inside page edges throughout