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from the franchise, were about seventy miles of track, thirty-five locomotives, thirty passenger coaches, nearly one hundred freight cars, and a quantity of other rolling stock. In addition, there were a number of repair shops, wharves, and other buildings at Panama and Colon, the greater part of the Island of Manzanillo, a considerable amount of real estate along the line, a half interest in the islands of Naos, Perico, Culebra and Flamenco, and three steamships running between New York and Panama.
The road has been improved in every respect since it came into the hands of the United States. It is now a double-track line which was re-located last year to conform with the plans for the Canal. It handles an enormous amount of traffic in connection with the construction work and is, considering its mileage, by far the busiest railroad in the world. The engineering department of the Isthmian Canal Commission operates about three hundred miles of construction trackage and the Panama Railroad acts as a clearing-house for its traffic. It receives the loaded dirt cars and returns them empty. As soon as the trains come upon the Company's tracks they fall under their jurisdiction and responsibility. From seven hundred to eight hundred of these dirt cars are operated daily with unfailing regularity. The material handled in this manner last year by the road brought its freight movement up to the enormous figure of 280,000,000 tons, with which the traffic of no fifty miles of railroad elsewhere can compare.
The contrast is all the more marked when it is considered that the movement of the Panama Railroad is restricted to nine hours of the day, whereas an ordinary road operates during the entire twenty-four. In addition to the spoil referred to above, the road carries a large quantity of supplies for the Commission and handles a considerable volume of commercial freight.
The passenger traffic of the Panama Railroad is also extraordinarily great. Four passenger trains are run in each direction daily and their coaches are always crowded with laborers and gold employes, who get on and off at the twentyfour stations strung along the line. During last year, 1,385,645 passengers were carried, and the earnings from that source alone exceeded half a million dollars.
The new, or re-located line of the Panama Railroad is 46.2 miles long, or about one mile shorter than the old road. From Colon to Mindi, 4.17 miles, and from Corozal to Panama, 2.83 miles, the old location is used, but the remaining 36 miles are entirely new. From Mindi, the Atlantic terminus of the Canal, to Gatun, the railroad runs in general parallel to the Canal, and the maximum grade of the line, 114 per cent, is in this stretch, where the ascent from nearly mean sea level to 95 feet above is made. At Gatun, the road leaves the vicinity of the Canal and runs east along the valley of the Gatun River to a point about 412 miles from the centre line of the Canal, where it turns southward again and skirts the east shore of Gatun Lake to the beginning of Culebra Cut, at Bas Obispo. In this section there are several large fills, and the maximum elevation of the line is reached, 210 feet above mean sea level. Through Culebra Cut the road runs on a berm on the east side, ten feet above the surface of the Canal. From the south end of Culebra Cut, at Paraiso, it will run practically parallel with the Canal to Panama. The maximum grade between Gatun and Panama is 0.45 per cent, and the maximum curvature is six degrees. Where the road crosses the Gatun River, a bascule steel bridge is to be erected, and a steel
girder bridge one-quarter mile long, with a 200foot truss channel span, is in use across the Chagres River at Gamboa. Smaller streams are crossed on concrete culverts. Near Miraflores a tunnel 736 feet long has been built through a hill. The cost of the new line is estimated at $7,225,000.