CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA.
the Irrawaddy, which rises from 30 to 40 feet when in flood. In the Shan States, pack animals were the only means of transport until some few years after the annexation of Upper Burma.
A very great advance was effected by cutting a cart-road from Mandalay to Lashio, and this was followed within the next decade by steam locomotion, whereby jour-
neys which had previously occupied weeks were accomplished in a few hours. It was originally intended to continue the railway to Yunnan for the purpose of developing the trade with Western China, but the work was arrested by Lord Curzon during a visit which he paid to Burma in his capacity as Viceroy of India. For some years past the idea of connecting the railways of Burma
with those of the rest of India has received serious consideration, but lack of funds has so far prevented the Government from carrying it into effect. Three routes have been surveyed. One runs north from Mogaung through the Hukon Valley, and, crossing the mountains at an elevation of 4,000 feet, joins the Indian system in the neighbourhood of Dibrogarh. Another branches off from the
Mu Valley Line at Kyathin, and, traversing the province of Manipur, terminates at Lunding. The third, starting either from the left bank of the Irrawaddy in the Mimbu District or, alternatively, from Prome, crosses over the Arakan range by the An Pass and skirts the shores of the Bay of Bengal to Chittagong. The first two have now been relinquished in favour of the third which,
though necessitating the construction of a longer length of line, would cost less, shorten the journey to the capital, and pass through a more fertile belt of country.
Another ambitious project claiming some attention is that of linking up Burma with the Siamese railways, and thus, eventually, of bringing the whole of India into rapid communication with the Gulf of Siam and the South China Sea. A route has been mapped out showing that the junction could be effected with comparative ease. Finally, there is the hopeait can scarcely be described as more than this at presenta that some day in the future Burma and British Malaya may be brought into closer contact with one another by means of a line through the territory that intervenes between Prye, on the mainland opposite Penang, and Moulmein. As the result of the recent treaty with Siam all this territory now owns the sway of the British Crown.
As already stated, practically a monopoly of the river-borne traffic of the province is held by the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, Ltd., whose fleet, consisting of 350 vessels of various descriptions with an aggregate tonnage of 92,500 tons, plies between Rangoon, Mandalay, and Bhamo, on the Irrawaddy; Rangoon, Pakokku, and Homalin on the Chindwin ; Rangoon and Bassein on an offshoot of the Irrawaddy ; and between Moulmein and other places in the basin of the Salween.
The existence of the Company dates from 1865, in which year the Government made over to the promoters a small fleet of steamers. The modest scale upon which operations were conducted in those early days may be gauged from the fact that in 1868 the Companyas fleet numbered only seven small vessels, which ran principally between Rangoon and Thayetmyo, a garrison town 350 miles away on the frontiers of Upper Burma. The extension of the service to Mandalay, the capital of Upper Burma, and, afterwards, to Bhamo, a town on the borders of Western China, more than 1,000 miles from the sea, was due to the enterprise of Mr. G. J. Swann, C.I.E., under whose regime as manager communication was also established between Rangoon and Bassein, the chief seaport on the western mouth of the Irrawaddy. On the declaration of war against King Thebaw, the Companyas resources were placed unreservedly at the disposal of the Indian military authorities, and an army of about twenty thousand men,
THE NAM KAM GORGE.THE NAM KAM GORGE.