- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
382

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVII. The Amúr district and the Amúr railway

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THROUGH SIBERIA
official report it is stated that 20 per cent. of the
labourers bring their families out, and they form the
advance-guard of the future colonization of these
uninhabited wastes.
Another kind of Russian labour which is also largely
employed on this line is that of convicts, who are
kept in prison colonies at several places along the line.
There have to be three soldiers to every ten labourers,
and with this guard the convicts are tåken out in the
morning and brought back to prison in the evening.
They all receive wages, which accumulate and are paid
to them when they have served their term. They are
therefore glad to get this kind of work.
The only yellow labourers whom it is permitted to
employ in the building of the line are the Koreans, with
the proviso that they must be Russian subjects, that is,
permanently domiciled in the Amiir and Ussuri districts.
There were at least a couple of thousand of them on the
line, and they were said to be very useful in the marshy
tracts, as they stand the damp far better than the
Russians, who are unwilling to work in the marshes,
while the Koreans have no objection to doing so.
The total length of the Amiir line, from Kuengå to
Khabarovsk, is 1830 versts, or 1213 miles. Its cost
has amounted to fully 300,000,000 roubles ; that is,
154,000 roubles a kilometre, or £26,150 a mile.
The line is being constructed in four sections. The
most westerly section of 183 versts, from Kuengå
station on the Transbaikal line to Uryiim station, is
under the engineer Boris Vasilievich Seest. Work on
it was begun in March 1908, and the line is now finished
and has been in use for some time. The second section
is of 597 versts, between Uryiim and Keråk stations.
The engineer in charge of its construction is Yeogéniy
Ulianovich Podrutsky, and it is also about ready. The
382

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