- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
316

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
Chitå from the Amiir when the water is high, and rafts
can descend the river, so that there is a connexion
with the Pacific by way of the mighty Amiir.
We followed the course of the Ingodå for some
distance. Here again it struck me that the right bank
of the river, in part at any rate, has higher ridges and
steeper slopes than the left. There is some cultivation
in places, but it seems to be little compared with what
might be done.
After passing Karimskaya station, about sixty miles
east of Chitå, the line divides into two branches ; one
goes on to the eastward along the river to the Amiir line
which is now being laid, and to Sryétensk on the Shilka
(connecting with the steamers down the Amur), while
the other branch, which we followed, crosses the Ingodå
by an iron bridge and goes to the south-east into Man
churia, forming the Eastern Chinese line. Beyond
the Ingodå the line rises sharply to the watershed
between that river and the Agå, which falls into the
Onon. The gradient is here 16 feet in 1000, which
is twice as steep as any other on the Siberian railway.
We therefore had to have an auxiliary engine to take us
up to the top, and the speed was slow. There were
fir-trees everywhere, except where birches had tåken
their place ; but signs of forest-fires were to be seen
on every hand. The stumps were left, black and
sometimes broken off, and the birch had been the first
to grow again. In spring and early summer it is very
dry here, so that a forest-fire easily spreads ; when
once it begins, it may burn for weeks in these parts.
But this is of no great consequence, as even here timber is
of no value, except as fuel on the railway, but for that
birch-wood is chiefly used.
Mr. Wourtzel worked without stopping the whole
way. At the stations his engineers appeared and
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