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rigidly. You know what the result of that would be on a fairly good road-you would have lots of derailments. And these cars there, something over three thousand of them, were of very small capacity, carrying from 6 to 6 or 7 yards of material. They looked like an exaggerated scoop shovel set up on top of a train, higher than a man's head. They were supposed to be side dump cars.
Those were the cars and that was the kind of equipment they were using. They had, and have yet, which I am using now in my preliminary work down there, four or five engines which were built in the United States by the old Cook and the old Rogers people, of Paterson; but they were very small engines. They were infinitely better, however, than the Belgian engines, because they could keep them on the track.
As to the tracks there, the French laid there we do not know how many miles of track. Every time I make an expedition out into the jungle I find a new railroad. I presume it is fair to say that they had from 200 to 250 miles of tracks laid there. They used an old antiquated rail which is 5 meters (about 18 feet) long, and it is a very poorly designed rail, weighing, I should say, about 62 pounds to the yard. It is about three-quarters of an inch higher than it is wide on the base. The consequence was, particularly on tracks with no ballast, with no tie plates, and with soft ties, that those rails are continually turning over, not only on the curves, but on straight lines, on a tangent; and the net result was that I do not think over 15 per cent of the effective value of the steam shovels was being realized.
Senator Kyox. Let me ask you a question here. Are you speaking now, when you speak of the railroad and of this type of equipment and of this weight of rail, of the railroad proper ?
Mr. STEVENS. Not of the Panama Railroad.
Senator Kxox. The railroad incidental to the construction of the canal ?
Mr. STEVENS. I am talking about the canal tracks.
Senator Kyox. The canal tracks; not those of the Panama Railroad?
Mr. STEVENS. Not the tracks of the Panama Railroad at all. That is a different proposition.
Senator Krox. Yes; that is what I wanted to get clear in my mind.
Mr. STEVENS. This work which is going on, it seemed to me, was not being done with any view of a definite plan for work hereafter. It was simply wherever they could put a track that led to a fairly easy place to move material, to put a steam shovel in there and dump some of that material and haul it up hill to these waste banks on the side.
Senator Morgan. Mr. Stevens, allow me to ask you right there this question: Was the condition you are now speaking of, in regard to the tracks and cars and all other matters of equipment, transportation of material out of the cut and dumps, the situation in which the French left the work, or the situation in which it was left after we had been in charge for some months?
Mr. STEVENS. It was the situation as I found it on, say, the 1st of August last. Of course. I do not know anything about the condition previous to that time, Senator.
Senator MORGAN. You do not know how that situation was brought abont-whether it was by the French or the American engineers?
Mr. STEVENS. No, sir: I do not.
Senator MORGAX. That is all.
Senator HOPKINS. But you know that what track you found there was laid by the French Company, rather than the Americans after we got control, do you not?
Mr. STEVENS. That is what I assume: I assume that the French laid them. They were called the French tracks. That is all I know about it.
Senator HOPKINS. Yes.
Mr. STEVENS. As I said, I could see no definite plan that these shovels were working on, excepting getting out a little material at very heavy expense; and after taking a few days—ten days or two weeks (I do not recollect exactly what)--to look over the general situation, I made up my mind that we were throwing money away. The thing to do was first to stop that waste of money in that work, and try and direct it along channels that would be effective at some time in the future toward some well-defined plan of taking out the cut.
Senator MORGAN. Mr. Stevens, let me ask you right there whether what was taken out before you got there was carried to the same dumps that the French used
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. Did our engineers continue to use those dumps afterwards?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. After you were placed in charge, did you continue to use those dumps ?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; to a certain extent I did.
Senator MORGAX. Will any of them have to be removed a second time in the construction of this canal?
Mr. STEVENS. I think to a slight extent; nothing that we have been doing lately, however. Since the Americans have been there they have been hauling the earth away back; but I think some of the old French dumps, probably going back to the time of De Lesseps, will have to be removed--depending entirely, of course. Senator, on the type of canal that is adopted.
The first thing I ran foul of in the way of trouble or difficulty was to determine what I could do in view of the fact that I did not I.now what was wanted. In other words, it was as though I had been told to build a house without being informed whether it was a tollhouse or a capitol. So it was very largely a matter of guesswork or judgment as to what to do, what banks to put in, how to endeavor to arrange a system of tracks for handling the cut, etc., in view of the fact that I did not know what sort of a canal was going to be built.
Senator MORGAN. Let me ask you right there whether that was because you did not know upon what plan the canal was to be builtwhether it was to be a sea-level or a lock canal ?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; yes, sir.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; it makes a material difference, although it has been said (and very truly, too) that you can do a certain amount of work which will be applicable to either type. That is true to an extent, but only to an extent. The question looms up in almost every direction.
As soon as I could determine on a general plan, which was very quickly, I started selecting the French tracks which, in my opinion, could be used in the further construction of the canal, the final construction, taking out these old rails and ties, taking the tracks out of the mud, laying new rails, putting in new ties, and ballasting the road; and I started grading other tracks and laying them with heavier rails—70-pound rails, new rails and building new tracks. That work has continued up to this day, and the only steam-shovel work which we have done since that time, which was about the time of stopping the 11 shovels, is that I presume we have averaged from 4 to 5 and possibly 6 shovels during that time, simply doing the grading necessary to put in these new tracks and to shape up the cut, which was left in very bad shape. It is gouged here and there.
There was no continuous work being done; that is, you could not find half or three-quarters of a mile where you could lay a continuous track and have a straight face to work on. There, was a little dug here and a little there. All of those irregularities will have to be smoothed out and your tracks laid, and that is the work that has been going on since the middle of August. We have made no effort to make what we call yardage to make a showing, but simply to get these tracks ready.
In regard to the method of doing the work and the amount of work, I found that the only equipment which had been bought was the steam shovels, with the exception of 300 so-called western steel scraper dump cars-a car made. I think, near Chicago somewhere, having a capacity of about 14 yards. They have standard trucks, and they are splendidly built cars. But they are what is known as side-dump cars; that is, you load the material on the top and drop the body over, and it is supposed to dump, and in wet weather we found some trouble with the twenty-four new cars that had been delivered with the wet material. We found the same trouble that we found with the French dump cars, that they would not clear. The clay will stick to those cars.
Senator Knox. Are they steel or'wooden cars?
Mr. STEVENS. They are steel cars; well-built cars that were ordered by the former chief engineer to the amount of three hundred. At the present time there have been delivered on the Isthmus 150 of those, cars knocked down—that is parts of them. I think that up to date we have succeeded in erecting about CO or 70 of them.
In addition to those the Commission bought or contracted for 500 flat cars, with steel underframes and with wooden floors. Of these there were being delivered, about the time that I arrived there, 250. These were all immediately placed in the service of the Panama Railroad.
The only use that the Commission has had of them has been simply through the Panama Railroad handling its supplies. Not one of them has been used in any way in the work around the canal proper. So that in effect all of the equipment which I had for transportation was simply what I found there, and it is either a question of shutting down everything and preparing no trackage for the future or using those cars.
The double-tracking of the Panama Railroad, which I will explain later, over which the great bulk of this material must go, had been commenced, and a few of the lighter cuts had been taken out, but
none of the fills had been made, on the theory-which is correctthat the fills should be made from the waste from Culebra cut. But the difficulty came here, that we had no equipment that we could run over the Panama Railroad without blocking the entire railroad. These engines, and particularly the small cars—I made several very sorrowful experiments with them—are not capable of being run over four or five miles an hour with safety on account of these rigid trucks.
They will not keep on the tracks, so that I had very largely, as brought out a few moments ago, to dispose of this material, which I was absolutely obliged to take out; and then, to get these tracks in, I had to take it out the shortest haul I could and dump it in these old French dumps. There was nothing else to do with it. In fact, we got so hard up for equipment on the Panama Railroad during what is called the congestion that I made the experiment of using some of these old French dumpcars. I was desperate; I had nothing else too do—to haul coal from Colon to Panama. The result was that I laid out every passenger train that I had on the road, and practically blocked the road all up for 47 miles.
It took from 7 o'clock in the morning to 4.30 in the afternoon to haul 16 cars across the Isthmus and keep them on the track. In fact, I did not keep them on the track; they went off the track nearly all the time. I have told you that to illustrate the impossibility of going on with the double tracking where we have to use the Panama road and get out of the way of regular trains.'
What I want to emphasize is this: If I had had all the steam shovels in the world, all the money in the world, and all the men in the world, or anybody else there, they could not have gone on with the excavation of Culebra cut without the plant to haul the material away, because that is a transportation proposition.
Senator TALIAFERRO. What is the present condition of that railroad construction for canal purposes?
Vír. STEVENS. It is going on in very good shape. We have beeii short of force for the last thirty or forty days to a certain extent; but it is going on all the time, steadily, looking to a definite plan for taking out the cut.
Senator GORMAN. How have you progressed in the delivery of this new equipment of cars?
Mr. STEVENS. There have been ordered for the Panama Railroad 24 engines; Mr. Wallace ordered them. I have not the exact figures as to the amount of business—the comparative business, the tonnage-that the Panama Railroad is handling, excluding the Commission's supplies and material, and equipment. But they are handling a great deal more than they did ten or fifteen years ago, and they have not 10 cents worth more equipment than they had in those days, when it was all they could do then. That statement is broad, but it is comprehensive, and absolutely correct.
Senator TALIAFERRO. Except these flat cars?
Mr. STEVENS. Except these flat cars, which were delivered along last summer.
Senator Ksox. Mr. Stevens, in order that I may get definitely in my mind what you mean by this reference to the railroad and railroad system, do you contemplate, when your track system is completed, for the purpose of hauling off the spoil of the excavation, that the Panama Railroad itself will be utilized in that connection?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. STEVENS. Oh, no; it can not; it must be handled over the Panama Railroad.
Senator Knox. Then this system of roads which you are building into the Culebra cut is auxiliary to the main road?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Senator Kxox. And that makes the necessity for a perfected equipment all the greater?
Mr. STEVENS. That is it.
Senator Knox. Because the main line must be used to carry this other spoil?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. You may sav, to illustrate, that here is the main line of the Panama Railroad. Now, at different points tracks •come out of the cut. Here is the big cut; tracks come out of that cut-spur tracks, leading this way and that way. Then we have the tracks that the steam shovels work on that we are now putting in.
Senator Krox. The Panama Railroad is the trunk line?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; and the double tracking I refer to is simply making another main line to handle that enormous traffic.
Senator SIMMONS. Clear across the Isthmus?
Mr. STEVENS. I do not know whether we will go clear across the Isthmus or not. We may or may not. That depends, again, on the type of the canal.
Senator Simmons. It is not necessary for that purpose ?
Senator Knox. And may be taken up and moved to other places as the work progresses, as I understand?
Mr. STEVENS. Exactly. The probabilities are, though no mortal man can make an estimate now, that there will have to be 250 or 300 miles of tracks laid during the completion of that cut, particularly if it is a sea-level canal.
Senator Krox. That would not necessarily mean, though, new rails?
Mr. STEVENS. Oh, no.
Senator Kyox. But the substitution, the taking up of old rails in one place and putting them down where they are needed?
Mr. STEVENS. That is it, exactly; what we call, in railroad construction, throwing tracks, moving them from one place to another.
Senator Knox. Yes.
Mr. STEVENS. Another thing that I had to consider immediately was the fact of equipment. As I say, nothing has been ordered except these 300 cars. There had been ordered a couple of dozen of two or three different kinds of dump cars, merely as a matter of experiment; and out of those two or three small orders there have been, up to the present time, twenty-four delivered of certain kinds of dunip cars. I think Mr. Wallace's idea was-in fact I know it was--that he would get these cars there, and then he would experiment over a long period of time before he made up his mind what kind of cars he wanted.
Of course that meant a very long time in getting the cars delivered, and a sull longer time before the experiments could be tried; and