- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
423

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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FROM THE BURÉYA TO TRANSBAIKALIA
423
The accident had happened in this way : the workmen
were engaged in laying new, broader sleepers on the
bridge, and to do this had tåken up two of the rails.
They had put up a red danger signal at the end of the
bridge, but at the same time a trolley was standing on
the line, and the rule is that trolleys must always carry
a red signal ; so the engine driver, on seeing a red flag,
thought it was on the trolley. He nevertheless reduced
speed as a precaution ; but when the workmen on the
bridge and on the line saw that he was not stopping,
they began to call out and wave their arms. Then he
tried putting on the brakes as hard as he could, but it
was too late ; the tram was already on the bridge,
moving at a very slow speed to the fatal spot, and it
stopped altogether on coming to the place where the
rails had been removed. But at that moment the
engine lost its balance and fell over, dragging eight
carriages with it. Fortunately these carriages were, for
the most part, empty and only two men were killed ;
one of them the guard, as I have said, and the other
a fireman, who fell under the engine. Both the
engine driver and his assistant escaped with only scalded
hands and faces from the steam. When the driver
came to himself, he was lying half in the water of the
river. He got up, began to wring the water out of the
tails of his coat, and then ran away ; and his assistant
did the same, so dazed were they. The last carriage
kept the rails ; luckily the couplings snapped when the
other carriages fell, and the ten people inside it did not
even know what had happened ; they only felt a slight
jerk, but when they looked out, the whole tram in front
of them was gone.
It is still the same low hill country, with the same
thin forest, mostly larch and with great bogs at intervals,
and then flat valleys and rivers. There is gneiss, or a

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