aof document

Various documents concerning passengers and industries created by the Chemin de Fer Kayes-Bafoulabé (1896-1899)
in AOF Series O 58

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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Compte d'Administration: Exercice 1896 (Kayes, 1896)

This is an eleven-page report that recapitulates all the statistics like revenue receipts, average number of kilometers travelled by each locomotive, etc. It is divided into two parts: "Situation des comptes budgetaires," and "Détails statistiques".


Lt. Gouverneur du Soudan to Ministre des Colonies, letter (Paris, December 4, 1897)

This five-page letter concerns the budget for the colony of French Soudan in 1898.

(p3) Under "Dépenses politiques" there is an amount allotted for "cadeaux, gratifications, secours aux chefs indigenes, etc . . ." The budget originally called for an increase of 20,000 francs over 1897, but this letter proposes an increase of only 15,000 francs. The increase is necessary because the railroad will reach the area around the Niger River Bend (Timbuktu region) which was not yet as well pacified.


L'Inspecteur des Colonies en mission Hoareau Desruisseaux, Fabrication d'huile d'arachide:
Projet d'installation successives de moulins aux différents dépots de la ligne

(Kayes, March 11, 1898)

(p1) The locomobile at Kayes in 1897, despite its terrible state of repair, was able to produce enough peanut shells to power itself, plus 17 tons for locomotives of the railroad. Peanut shells cost 2/3 the price of imported coal. In 1898, the railroad will consume 800 tons of fuel. Fuel consumption will exceed 2,000 tons when the railroad reaches the Niger River.

(p3) The report provides an equivalence between peanut shells and coal as sources of fuel: 370 tons of coal equals 560 tons of peanut shells. There is also a figure of 21,000 francs used to pay laborers during the year, out of a total annual budget of 127,666 francs.

(p4) The peanut oil press will produce 264,000 liters of oil at a cost of 0.484 francs per liter. The railroad will consume 12,000 liters and an additional 12,000 liters will be consumed by other government services in the Soudan. By the time the oil reaches a port in France, the cost will be 0.70 francs per liter.

The author proposes the construction of additional oil presses at Toukoto, Mahina, Bamako and anywhere else where production seems to warant it.


Commandant Rougier, Directeur du Chemin de Fer, "Rapport au sujet de
l'exploitation de la ligne Kayes-Dioubéba et des travaux éxécutés
pendant le 4ième trimestre 1897"
(Kayes, March 14, 1898)

(p6) This report contains some statistics on passenger travel on the railroad. In the last quarter of 1897, the railroad carried 2,021 passengers of whom 857 were employed by the state and 1,164 were commercial travellers. The following table shows their movement:

Towards Kayes Away from Kayes
State Commercial State Commercial
89 557 768 607

Each train headed twoards Kayes from the interior carried an average of 25 passengers. Trains headed towards the interior from Kayes carried an average of 53 passengers. The railroad operated a total of 26 regular trains and one special train.


L'Inspecteur de 1ière classe des Colonies H. Detruisseaux en mission au Soudan Français, à Monsieur le Ministre des Coloniesà Paris (Kayes, March 20, 1898)

This inspection report concerns the entire railroad. On page 12, the author mentions industries created as a result of the railroad at Kayes: "la chaufournerie et la briqueterie du service du chemin de fer" (brick manufacturing), "presse de huile d'arachides et une scierie à débiliter les bois" (vegetable opil press and sawmill), and "extraction du sable et des pierres à bêtir (sand and gravel quarry).


L'Inspecteur de 1ière classe des Colonies H. Desruisseaux en mission au Soudan Français, à Monsieur le Ministre des Coloniesà Paris (Kayes, March 31, 1898)

This report concerns industries created by the railroad in Soudan.

(pp1-4) Fabrication de chaux: Chalk was discovered in 1896 by the French explorer M. Mouflet. It is used in place of chalk imported from France at a cost of 111 francs per ton. Chalk is found along the railroad right-of-way near Dinguiré (near Kayes). The railroad operates a chalk oven to produce chalk for its own use, and eextra chalk for sale. In 1897, the railroad saved 6,854.90 francs using local chalk.

(p5) Fabrication de la brique: In 1897, the railroad made 177,033 bricks of which 155,953 were sold for a price of 55 francs per thousand. Local bricks cost 46 francs per thousand to make. Imported bricks from France cost 123 francs per thousand.

(p5) The railroad also extracts sand and stones, but there is no mention of local sales of either sand or gravel.

(p6) Scierie à bois: The railroad's sawmill was operated by steam power. It began operations on February 19, 1898. The mill uses a circular saw with a diameter of 60 centimeters. There is no mention of local sales of sawn wood.

(pp7-8) Peanut oil: The railroad operates an oil press that produces oil for its own use. The press is operated by steam power. The first press was too weak, but repairs made it pratical to operate. The railroad used peanut shells as fuel for the "locomobile" that powered the oil press.

(p12) "La culture d'arachide est la plus facile et la plus rénumérative de toutes" (Peanut agriculture is the easiest and most profitable of all.)


Note du Commandant Rougier, Directeur du Chemin de Fer,
au sujet de la construction de la voie ferrée du Sénégal à Niger
(Kayes, no date)

This note covers all aspects of railroad construction from Bafoulabé to Bamako.

(p1) During the dry season, it is possible to mobilize 3,000-4,000 workers, but during the five rainy months (the "hivernage"), the workers all return home to plant crops.

(p2) In 1898, there were about 1,000 fewer workers than usual (no explanation) but in 1899, the number rose for several reasons. First, some workers came to work permanently for the railroad. Secondly, as the railroad penetrated new areas, the people of those areas began to work for the railroad. Finally, the end of the military campaign in Sikasso freed many Africans to work for the railroad.

Rougier projects an average of 50 kilometers of new construction per year, and hopes to finish the bridge at Toukoto in 1900.