Direction Fédérale de la Régie des Chemins de
de l'AOF André Laurraint, "La situation des Chemins de
de l'AOF en 1955," extract from "Bulletin Bimestriel de la
Société Belge d'Etudes et d'Expansion," n°167
(Aug-Oct 1955), pages 644-648
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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(p644) The increase in rail traffic from 1947 to 1951 was largely due to "la mise en oeuvre du plan de développement des territoires de la France d'Outre-Mer" (the application of development plans for the territoriees of Oversdeas France). During this period, the railroad was profitable, but in 1952 and 1953, it showed a loss, largely due to increased social charges caused by legislation such as the loi Lamine Guèye, the Code de Travail, and so on. New equipment, plus good peanut, cocoa and coffee harvests, restored an operating surplus in 1954.
(p645) Between 1947 and 1954, the railroad accumulated a deficit of 957 million francs while paying off 5,525 million francs in interest on its construction debts. In other words, the railroad paid for 83% of its accumulated debt.
Between 1950-1951, the average length of each passenger trip dropped because the railroad greatly increased its suburban service around Dakar, Abidjan, Conakry and Cotonou. In the same period, freight tonnage dropped due to increased road competition.
Railroad rates were raised in 1952, but overall, traffic dropped 5.2% during 1951-1954.
(p646) Degressive freight rates were used in 1954 to compete with trucks for existing freight traffic.
The railroad functioned as a private corporation under a public Conseil d'Administration, but received no financial help from the government.
Due to excess credit, it was easy to buy a truck, but there were too many trucks for the amount of existing freight. Truck owners competed among themselves, but united to protest government aid to the railroad.
(p647) In 1954, diesel locomotives covered 3,400,000 kilomters, steam locomotives covered 4,300,000, and autorails (self- propelled railcars) covered 3,100,000 kilometers. Note that these figures for the use of diesel locomotives contradict those in the article by P. Protat, "L'équipment du Dakar-Niger" in Industrie et Travail d'Outremer, n°82 (September 1960), 591-595. Perhaps Protat's figures were for the Chemin de Fer Dakar-Niger, while these figures are for all of the railroads of the Chemins de Fer de l'AOF.
(p648) Recently, the Chemins de Fer de l'AOF became a one-third partner in the Société de Transports Auxiliaires du Chemin de Fer. This group provided specialized railcars (such as tank cars) to coordinate rail traffic with growing needs.