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Discussion of the Question of Railways or Waterways for India (Classic Reprint)

Discussion of the Question of Railways or Waterways for India (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Discussion of the Question of Railways or Waterways for India

In the Papers now reprinted almost all the common notions about Railways in India are brought forward by a Correspondent of the Madras Times, signing himself P. They have been carefully examined and replied to in a series of Articles in the same journal.

In this controversy the object of P. is to keep the attention of readers immoveably fixed upon Railways, and prevent if he possibly can a comparison between them and Waterways. The great object of his opponent is to put in a strong light the comparative effects of the two kinds of works in India.

The latter argues that what is in vain attempted to be effected by Railways costing from 1 to 2 Lacs a mile, can. really be effected by Waterways, which in reality cost nothing as Communications, the Interest, &c. being paid over, and over again by their operation in Irrigating the land; so that all that the Railways pretend to accomplish at so enormous an outlay of Capital, is actually thrown into the bargain as a trifle in Hydraulic Works, which in providing for cheap produce have already made enormous returns for the outlay.

The vulgar idea is that we have no alternative, that we must either have common roads or high-speed Railways. The object of the advocates for the latter is to keep up this notion as long as possible, by keeping Waterways entirely out of sight.

The object of P.'s opponent is to show that Railways - 1st. Cannot carry either Passengers or goods at the cost absolutely essential to the progress of the country.

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