African gauges

Sir - May I venture some observations on the letter from John Gilbert concerning rail connections in Sudan (RG 3.06 p124)?

There would be no through link from Egypt, as there is no line south from Aswan to Atbara. A fast, modern, standard gauge line from Cairo to Khartoum would seem attractive. Such a line would generate business for Egyptian National Railways, but Sudan would need to extend a co-operative hand to Egypt south of Aswan.

A connection from Wau via Juba to Uganda would be easier, and is probably a wiser starting point. Cape gauge is preferable to metre gauge if cross-border movements are to develop; having three gauges is a mistake. The line from Juba south to Uganda might be built to 1067mm gauge and gradually the metre gauge lines in Uganda might be converted. This will not be cheap, but the cost can be eased with gradual changes and planning.

These moves would set the scene for a subsequent progressive conversion from west to east of the Kenyan metre gauge.

Roger Lascelles

Christchurch, New Zealand