Rapport de l'Ingenieur des Travaux Publics Lacheze,
Directeur p.i. du Chemin de Fer de Kayes au Niger au sujet de
l'Exploitation de la ligne de Kayes au Niger et de la ligne de
Kayes à Ambidédi et des travaux executés pendant
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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This 24-page report provides a history of the Chemin de Fer Kayes-Niger and describes its operation just before the outbreak of World War I.
(p1) Faidherbe had the original idea to extend French commerce eastward by connecting the Senegal River to the Niger River. His successors let it drop, but in 1879, de Freycinet, the Ministre de Travaux Publics, revived the idea. He dispatched two missions, the Flatters expedition which was destroyed by Tuaregs, and the Soleillet mission which was pillaged en route and had to turn back. Nevertheless, on February 5, 1880, the Ministre de Marine proposed the construction of the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Saint Louis, a line from the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Saint Louis to ...
(p2) ... Médine, and a third line from Médine to the Niger via Bafoulabé and Kita.
On February 24, 1881, the French parliment voted the first credit of 8,552,751 francs for railroad construction. From 1881 to 1884, a total of 23,987,000 francs were appropriated and 54 kilometers of railroad were constructed to a point seven kilometers short of Diamou. Gallieni pushed construction as far as Bafoulabé by 1888 using material already delivered to the Soudan. In 1888, the Artillerie de la Marine took charge of railroad construction.
From 1891-1898, the railroad project entered a period of "Études et Réfections." The Administration des Colonies launched two study missions under Marmier and Joffre.
(p3) Marmier covered the region between Bafoulabé and Kita while Joffre covered the region from Kita to Toulimandio. Both missions took place in 1892-1893.
Also in 1892, railroad construction was assigned to the 5e Genie (5th military engineers). The Arrêté du 19 Novembre 1893 opened the railroad to commercial operation on January 1, 1894.
In 1898, the Departement des Colonies approved a project to complete the railroad by 1906 in yearly installments of 40-50 kilometers, at an estimated cost of 24,919,000 francs. Progress was rapid in 1899 and at a rate of 80 kilomters per year, the railroad was complete to Koulikoro by December 10, 1904, on which day it opened for business.
The total cost of railroad construction was 49,570,177 francs, or 86,500 francs per kilometer over 573 kilometers. This is a breakdown of the costs by region:
|Section||Distance||Cost per kilometer|
(p4) By 1912, three different studies were made for a railroad bridge over the the Niger River to complete the Bamako-Bougouni line. New rail had been laid to the Dinguira chalk ovens and grading for new rail to the Toukoto chalk oven was complete. A third "voie fluviale" was complete at Koulikoro. The station at Kayes-Ville was refurbished, as was the "batiment Pandevoine" at Toukoto.
(p5) A wall was built to enclose the station at Kayes-Plateau. There were new chalk ovens at Toukoto and Dinguira. An average of 384 men were employed on line maintainance. Their salaries cost an average of 16.62 francs per kilometer per month. An average of 5 workers were involved in new construction and track improvements.
During the year, the railroad produced 1,356 tons of chalk, of which 482 tons went to other services of the government. The railroad also produced large amounts of stone, gravel and sand, plus 425,773 bricks, of which 118,680 went to other services.
(p7) There were no accidents or incidents on the Kayes- Médine line to report in 1912. On the Kayes-Niger line, trains were derailed by animals on February 24, March 6, April 15 and May 12. On September 16, train n°3bis ran into train n°3 at kilometer 185 when the first lost steam pressure and came to a halt without the engineer remembering to place warning markers.
(p8) The Arrêté n°321 du 20 Fevrier 1912 allowed passengers to carry "colis non postaux" (non-postal packages) up to 5 kilograms on trains de grande vitesse (long distance trains). Other arrêtés reduced the freight rates for kapok and karité.
Arrêté n°332 du 9 September 1912 allowed 4th class passengers to ride in covered boxcars (NOTE: instead of open flat cars) if they paid an extra 0.02 francs per kilometer. The minimum surcharge was 0.10 francs. This went into effect on November 5, 1912.
Arrêté n°1665 du 11 Novembre 1912 authorized full-price passengers to carry 30 kilograms of baggage and half-price passengers (children) to carry 20 kilograms, an increase from 20 kilograms and 10 kilograms respectively. It went into effect on February 18, 1913. On the same day, Arrêté n°1667 required that passengers who boarded the train at stops without scales had to have their baggage weighed when they got off.
(p11) "Resultants du traffic - ligne de Medine"
|Year||Passengers||Tons of Baggage and parcels (Grande Vitesse)||Tons of freight and parcels (Petite Vitesse)||Total receipts (francs)|
(p11-12) "Resultants du traffic - Ligne de Niger"
|Year||Direction||Passengers||Tons of baggage and parcels (Grande Vitesse)||Tons carried for the government||Tons commercial freight||Total receipts (francs)|
|1910||towards the Niger||74,452||370,000||5,516,000||9,717,000||15,233,000|
|1911||towards the Niger||118,365||544,300||3,988,400||14,258,500||18,246,900|
|1912||towards the Niger||121,273||499,921||2,129,245||15,305,975||17,435,220|
|Year||Total tons carried||Total receipts (francs)|
|Types of freight||1910 (tons)||1911 (tons)||1912 (tons)|
|Food (includes wine)||1,079||1,434.5||1,335.205|
| Construction materials |
| Miscellaneous |
(p13) Shipments of exports increased. Local products like rice, peanuts, karité, gum arabic and wool made up the bulk of the increase, despite the decline in rubber and millet exports.
|Item||1909 (tons)||1910 (tons)||1911 (tons)||1912 (tons)|
(p14) "Trafic direct" - This refers to goods and people who traveled on the rail-river connection. River service ended in January when the Niger got too low, and resumed in July.
|Month||Navigation receipts (francs)||Railroad receipts (francs)|
The railroad also carried mail and transmitted telegrams.
(p15) There were a total of 31 locomotives and one automotrice (self-propelled rail car) in service. The largest were the two 27-ton "Type Mangins" and eleven 26-ton "Type Ballay." An average of 6.08 locomotives were out of service at any given time.
(p19) The Chemin de Fer Kayes-Ambidédi was covered in a separate section of the report. The Chemin de Fer Kayes- Ambidédi began service on July 15, 1909 even though it wasn't completed until February 1912. It was constructed for 3,200,000 francs (69,000 francs per kilometer). The quay and cranes at Ambidédi cost an additional 150,000 francs. There were only two stations, at Kayes-Plateau and at Ambidédi.
(p20) 13-meter wells were dug at Samé and Ambidédi. The line employed an average of 13 maintenance workers whose salaries averaged 7.14 francs per kilometer per month.
(p22) Receipts in 1912 totaled 29,383.83, roughly 10,000 francs less than 1911 because of rate reductions and higher water levels on the Senegal River, which permitted ships to unload at Kayes for a longer period of the year.