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The island of Hongkong, by concession on the part of China, became a British Crown colony in 1843. A perpetual lease for a small area on the mainland at Kowloon was made in 1858 and was confirmed by the Imperial Chinese Government in 1860. In 1898 the agreement for the present leased territory was signed, this lease providing for British jurisdiction over this territory for a term of 99 years. Hongkong has an excellent harbor and is one of the largest transshipping ports of the Far East-in fact, one of the largest in the world.
The preliminary agreement for the Canton-Kowloon Railway was signed in 1898. No progress was made in the construction of this line for several years, until the British interests in Hongkong in 1905, realizing that the prospective completion of the Canton-Hankow Railway and the possible provision of deep-water harbor facilities near Canton might affect very adversely Hongkong's strong shipping position, took vigorous action to force the building of the present line by the British & Chinese Corporation, with the result that in March, 1907, the final agreement was signed for the construction of the Chinese section by loans of £1,500,000, issued at 94, bearing 5 per cent interest, the total life of the loan to be 30 years. Amortization is to begin at the end of 12 years from the date of the loan and to be completed at the end of the 30 years by the payment of equal amounts annually. The loan can be redeemed at 102 from the end of the 12 years to the end of the twenty-fifth year, and for the remainder of the life of the loan at par. In this instance the corporation received a lump sum of £35,000 for handling the purchase of the construction materials and equipment instead of the usual percentage commission.
The line was completed in October, 1911. The agreement provides for a British engineer-in-chief and a British chief accountant. The terms of this agreement represent what British interests have contended should be the form of contract to safeguard loan funds in the building of Chinese railways, and this form of agreement has become known as the “Canton-Kowloon type.”
The cost of this line, according to Mr. Kyle's study, is more than $188,000 per mile, roughly divided as follows: Interest charges during construction, $37,000; general charges, $17,700; land, $
, $19,000; grading, $21,000; bridges, $25,750; track, $30,900; stations and bridges, $9,800; rolling stock, $14,200. The total is about $38,000 higher than that for any other Chinese Government railway.
This line, like the Shanghai-Nanking, competes with water transportation. Neither of these lines has been profitable, and, even with the lowest freight rates in China, they have to depend almost entirely on passenger business for their earnings.
The capital for the Canton-Kowloon Railway was entirely from British sources, and it is under British control at the present time, the terms of the agreement being still in full force.
OPERATING REVENUES AND EXPENSES.
About 90 per cent of the earnings of this line are from passenger traffic, and practically all of the freight traffic is handled with mixed trains.
The operating revenues in 1916 were $794,223 and the operating expenses $829,663, giving an actual operating loss of $35,550, which,
with interest charges of $701,747 and other income charges, made a net deficit of $787,009 for the year. This line has been operated at a loss since it was first opened, and is probably the only line of the present Chinese Government Railways under the actual control of the Ministry of Communications that will not show a profit for a long time, if ever.
ROADWAY AND TRACK MATERIALS-ROLLING STOCK.
The construction of this line, with the exception of the rail, was with British materials, and, as a rule, British practice has prevailed in the case of all maintenance and renewal materials. The rail is 85-pound Chinese standard section from the Han-Yeh-Ping Works. Most of the ties are Australian hardwoods. There are 46 steel bridges and 39 arches on this section.
The rolling stock is of British design and manufacture, except certain of the freight-car bodies, part of which came from the Tangshan shops and part from the Whampoa Dock Co. at Hongkong. The equipment of the line consists of 14 locomotives, 41 passenger cars, and 67 goods wagons.
ORGANIZATION-PURCHASE OF STORES.
There is a managing director (Chinese) in charge of this line, with a small staff. The position of engineer-in-chief is filled by a British engineer, as provided by the agreement. The directory of these officials is given on page 267.
Preference is given to British materials, after those from Chinese
CANTON-KOWLOON RAILWAY (BRITISH SECTION).
The main line of this railway is fully covered in the description of the Chinese section. In addition, there is a line of 2-foot gauge from
. Fanling to Shatowkok and Mirs Bay, a distance of about 8 miles.
This line was constructed by the government of the British colony of Hongkong with the definite object of protecting the large shipping interests of this excellent port. The work was begun in 1905 and completed about the same time that the Chinese section was finished in 1911. This line being entirely in the Kowloon leased territory, no loan agreement was made with the Chinese Government, and the funds were supplied entirely by the government of the colony of Hongkong. The line, running through rough country, was expensive to construct, particularly in view of the high standard of the work. The total capital expenditure to the end of 1916 was about $14,500,000 Hongkong currency, not including about $90,000 Hongkong currency for the construction of the Fanling branch. A considerable amount of reclamation has been done around the Kowloon terminal, and in 1916 a very substantial and ornate passenger station was built at Kowloon—both included in the above expenditure.
The remarks regarding the class of traffic on the Chinese section apply in all particulars to the British section. Through service is maintained between Kowloon and Canton over the two sections.
Operating revenues in 1916 were $366,216 and operating expenses $296,692, leaving a balance to net operating income of $69,624, which would fall far short of paying interest charges on the capital expenditure for this line. The net operating revenue for the year 1915 was $46,500, making a still poorer showing.
ROADWAY AND TRACK MATERIALS-ROLLING STOCK-WORKSHOPS.
The construction of this section was rather difficult. There are fiye tunnels; the longest is 7,256 feet, but the others are short, being 924, 350, 175, and 150 feet in length. All the track materials are from British sources; the rail is 85-pound British standard section and the ties are of Australian hardwoods.
The rolling stock is all of British manufacture except one 2-footgauge locomotive of German manufacture, which was purchased in connection with a number of construction dump cars. The present equipment consists of 11 locomotives, 27 passenger cars, and 50 freight cars for 44-foot gauge, and 3 locomotives, 6 passenger cars, and 3 goods wagons for 2-foot gauge.
The Kowloon workshop is provided with shop facilities adequate for a line of this extent and any amount of equipment that it may be expected to have in the future.
ADMINISTRATION AND PURCHASE OF STORES.
The line is under the administration of a managing director and å small staff, all British.
British materials are naturally given preference, though many of the requirements are bought from the various concerns in Hongkong.
FUKIEN (CHANG-HSIA) RAILWAY; CHANGCHOW-AMOY.
LOCATION AND EXTENT. This line starts at Sungsu, on the mainland, about 3 miles across the bay from the city of Amoy. The line was projected to go to Changchow, a distance of about 33 miles, but construction was stopped at Kiangtungkiao, where the line will cross the Pakkoe River. The length of the completed line is about 20 miles. This line is located in the Province of Fukien, which is claimed by Japan as one of its “spheres of influence”—this claim including the right to finance all railways for which the Chinese can not raise money from native sources.
HISTORICAL SURVEY.! The Merchants Fukien Railway Co. was organized in 1905 by Mr. Chen-Pao-chen, and it was proposed to build lines from Amoy to the Provinces of Kiangsi and Kwangtung. The original capital was $6,000,000, in shares or debentures of $5, but it is understood that even the subscriptions received were not paid in full. Many of the subscribers were said to be Chinese residents of the Straits Settlements.
Surveys were made in 1906 and construction work was started some time later, but in 1909 all the available funds were exhausted
1 Based on Mr. Hsu's “Railway Problems of China".