January 30, 2010

A Peek into the past with David (Part II)

There's good news for us, boys. David Edge is back with us again, with more history, and a few more pictures. Now where else will you get to read about Captain Edge, his work in building a railway on Quarantine Island, his return to India to join the North Western Railway, and his subsequent posting as Chief Engineer on the Kalka Simla Railway ? If you have missed reading David's first post on this website, scroll down skipping over just one post below. And now to resume David's narrative about his grandfather, William Edge:
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Prior to his work on the North Western Railway in India, William L Edge was appointed by Major Kitchener to build a railroad from the Red Sea to Khartoum. The line would stretch from Suakin on the Red Sea, passing through the desert all the way to ‘Wadi Halfa’, 300 kilometers away. Black Indian coolies were employed as labour, with camels as the only means of transportation. To the right is a picture of the railway construction crew at Quarantine Island, Suakin, 1885. Construction of the line was entrusted to the Suakin Berber Railway Corps under the control of the 17 Squadron of the 22 Engineer Regiment of the British Army, and consisted of 1240 platelaying coolies, six timekeepers, 12 warrant officers and two captains, of which W.L. Edge was one. The project was abandoned after the first 15 miles of line was constructed upto Otoa, but the two officers received a medal each from the Shah of Egypt for their meritorious service.
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Don't forget to read David's earlier post. Here are a few more pictures from William's album. Outstanding pictures, absorbing history, authentic detail. . . all made possible by David, who's so very kindly let us have his images. Thanks a ton David, and let's hope we get to hear from you shortly again !

William Edge on a Bolan Pass locomotive
Train accident, Saharanpore, 1906

Bolan Pass Railway after being raised.
Pictures Courtesy of David Edge.