HC Deb 15 February 1926 vol 191 cc1505-7
9. Mr. REMER

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been called to the promises which have been made to the steel industry that the proposed loan for the development of East Africa will mean large orders for steel rails; and if he will take steps to ensure that these promises shall be fulfilled by inserting a condition in the loan that all materials for which the loan would be raised must be placed with British manufacturers?


I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Bodmin on the 8th of this month.

17. Sir F. WISE

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can state the profits made by the Uganda Railway in 1923, 1924 and 1925; and what is the total profit since the line was opened?


The net earnings have been as follow:

1923 415,351
1924 756,722
1925 (estimated) 778,623
1903–1925 4,444,286
These figures do not allow for depreciation, for which £489,109 has been set aside in the last three years, nor do they allow for loan charges, which at present amount to £484,812 a year, or for capital improvements met from revenue.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the total mileage of railways laid in British territory in Africa, the gauge of the main lines and the subsidiary lines; has consideration been given to the advisability of securing uniformity of gauge, especially in regard to main lines; and will this policy be kept in view in connection with the construction of new lines that are contemplated by loans under guarantees by the Government, and thus obviate the difficulties that other parts of the Empire are experiencing from differences of gauge?


With my hon. and gallant Friend's permission I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the detailed figures asked for in the first part of his question. As regards gauge, the position broadly speaking, is that the West African and South African railway systems are on the 3 feet 6 inch gauge, which is also the gauge of the Sudan railway. The Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika railways are on the metre gauge which is also the gauge in use on the Belgian and French possessions in Africa. The importance of uniformity of gauge first of all in the same geographical area and later when areas now separate become linked up will be carefully kept in mind but involves difficult problems.


Is it not customary in new railway construction that that fact should be borne in mind, so that provision may be made enabling widening from 3 ft. 3 ins. to 3 ft. 6 ins. to be carried out?


That is a point which will have to be kept in mind.

Following are the figures promised:

Sierra Leone, 338 miles, all 2 ft. 6 ins. gauge.

Gold Coast and Nigeria, 1,659 miles, all 3 ft. 6 ins. gauge except for a 10 mile branch in the Gold Coast which is 2 ft. 6 ins. and a light branch railway of 143 miles on the same gauge in Nigeria.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, 2,117 miles, all metre gauge. Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia 635 miles, all 3 ft. 6 ins. gauge.

The island of Zanzibar, seven miles of 3 ft. gauge. Total mileage, as at 31st December, 1925, 4,756 miles.

Union of South Africa, including the mandated territory of South West Africa, 11,679 miles, 3 ft. 6 ins. gauge; Southern Rhodesia, 1,252 miles, 3 ft. 6 ins. gauge; Bechuanaland Protectorate, 403 miles, 3 ft. 6 ins. gauge.