1921-22 – “AFRICAN GUIDEBOOKS -PART 3 – RAILWAY REGULATIONS ”
Jade del Cameron and her companions have all ridden on the Uganda Railway from Mombasa to Nairobi and points north, (Mark of the Lion) as well as taken the side line for Moshi and Mt. Kilimanjaro (Treasure of the Golden Cheetah). The construction of this rail line is famous primarily for the problems faced around Tsavo: man-eating lions. Lt. Col. J. H. Patterson documented these horrific killings in The Man Eaters of Tsavo, a book that was fictionalized in the motion picture: The Ghost and the Darkness. Constructing the line was crucial in Great Britain’s bid for East Africa. Other nations, most especially Germany, France, and Italy, were also striving to gain control over this portion of the continent.
By 1922, the rail line ran up to Lake Victoria and riding the railway was ‘old hat.’ The dangers were gone, replaced by the annoyance of a sleeping rhino or herd of grazing antelope blocking the track. Fares and regulations were found in many guidebooks, including The South and East African Yearbook & Guide with Atlas and diagrams published annually for the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company, Ltd.
Page 604 lists the first class fare as 18 cents per mile. Second class was half that rate. Intermediate class was 6 cents/mile, third class from 1 ½ to 2 ½ cent per mile plus 25 cent increase according to distance. There was no discussion as to what constituted first, second or third class although it was understood that first class was for whites only and the black Africans rode third class. Entire carriages and saloon carriages with kitchens could be reserved.
First class customers could bring up to 120 pounds of luggage free, while second class were allotted 80 pounds, intermediate-50 pounds and 30 pounds for third class. Commercial travelers were allowed more weight.
Passengers needed to bring their own bedding for sleeping on the train. If they wished to get off the train and reboard the following day, there were “dak bungalows” (government run traveler’s rest houses) available, free for the first 24 hours and 2 rupees for each 24 hours (or part of) afterwards. “Furniture, bedstead, batch, toilet set, lamp etc.” were provided but “no mattress, blankets, sheets, or towels.” Passengers were advised that they might have to share a room with a stranger.
Next week: More from the African manuals: Other Means of Travel
NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. THE CROCODILE’S LAST EMBRACE will be released Sept. 7, 2010. An excerpt and information on ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda