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after considering the matter thoroughly I made up my mind that during the wet season, the only car that could be used, the only car that wet material could be unloaded from, was a flat car with a plow; and I ordered 800 of them. I also ordered 120 first-class modern
I engines, none of which have been delivered; and none of the cars have been delivered. I also ordered plows, steam unloaders, and minor equipment of that description. Senator TALIAFERRO. You ordered 120 engines, did you say?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; and the delivery was all arranged by contract. I
I say I ordered these-you understand, of course, that I request Mr. Shonts and the Commission to purchase them, which they do. As to those 120 engines, the purchasing agent told
me yesterday that he expected a few of them to be delivered in January, and that the delivery would close in June. That is about according to contract; but you understand that when an engine is delivered on the Isthmus it is delivered in pieces. We have to take it in our little shops and put it together, which means that it will probably be February before I will have the use of one of those engines. As to the 800 flat cars, we expect the delivery to commence in February and to be closed in June.
Senator HOPKINS. Where do you get these engines and cars?
Mr. STEVENS. The engines are being built at the works of the American Locomotive Company, some at Schnectady, some at Paterson, and, I presume, some at Richmond. I do not know about the cars—I think they are being built in St. Louis, by the American Car and Foundry Company. Meanwhile the balance of the first order of 500 flat cars is going forward, and a shipload of them (I think 135 or 145) is now being unloaded at Colon, which is the northern terminus of the line. Of course then we will have to have them set up.
Senator TALIAFERRO. How many locomotives were ordered by Mr. Wallace, Mr. Stevens?
Mr. STEVENS. Twenty-four.
Mr. STEVENS. Twelve of them have been delivered, and the balance are between—I think they were built at Schenectady; between there and New York, on the road.
Senator TALIAFERRO. How many did I understand you to say the Panama Company had ordered?
Mr. STEVENS. Those are the ones I mean; 24 were ordered previous to my connection with the road.
Senator TALIAFERRO. And you have ordered 120?
Mr. STEVENS. One hundred and twenty; yes, sir. The balance, as I say, of the 500 flats are now going forward. Probably by the middle of February we will have them all set up and have the use of them.
Senator Simmons. How did you say you unloaded those flat cars?
Mr. STEVENS. With a plow. We have a big plow, you know, with side stakes on the flats, stakes about 3 feet high, and then we have a great big plow on the plow car. A cable is fastened to that and runs through to the forward end of the train, where there is what we call an unloader, which is simply a hoisting engine, a steam engine, with a drum that this cable runs on. The engineer stops his train at the point where it is to be unloaded, throws the steam on, simply pull
his plow right through the train of flat cars, and unloads the whole of it.
Senator HOPKINS. That is for the wet season. Would it work in the dry season just as well ?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes; it will work better than that in the dry season, but it can be absolutely depended upon when it is wet too. Now, that is one thing that I have been criticised for, and I will be still more, I presume; but that is a plan that will take care of that material. It is an open question yet among construction men-men who handle heavy construction, whether the flat car or the dump car is the more economical. But I do know this, that no dump car that I have yet ever seen would handle that material while it was wet.
It was absolutely necessary, therefore, to adopt some such plan as that, unless we were to subject ourselves to nine months a year more delay. I knew that the flat cars could be used. I knew that they could be used economically-probably as much so as any other car. I knew that it was a grave question whether the other cars could be or not. Therefore I took the chance of getting the flat cars, knowing that they could be relied on.
Senator MORGAN. Mr. Stevens, I want to ask you a question. In regard to the remaining work to be done through Culebra and Emperador, for instance, nine or ten or twelve miles, do you rely upon The steam shovel as being the most efficient of the agencies at your command?
Mr. STEVENS. I think so, for dry work.
Mr. STEVENS. Oh, the steam shovel will handle that all right.
Mr. STEVENS. That is all right. I have handled pieces measuring as high as 5 yards with those shovels; I have picked them up with the teeth and laid them on the cars.
Senator MORGAN. The steam shovel, then, is an efficient tool ?
Mr. STEVENS. I think it is the best tool that has ever been built up to date to handle that class of material.
Senator MORGAN. And you rely upon it more than any other agency, or tool, or power?
Mr. STEVENS. Oh, yes; altogether. You understand that the Culebra cut is what we call a blasting cut. It is rock of different degrees of hardness, from very soft rock through all the medium grades to extremely hard rock, with a certain amount of earth. The earth was very largely on top, and has been removed to a great extent by the old French company; and probably ninety per cent of everything that there is left to move—no matter what type of canal is adopted—is rock, and must be blasted before it can be moved by anything.
Senator MORGAN. Down to what level ?
Mr. STEVENS. They have drilled to forty feet below sea level, and the same conditions obtain.
Senator Morgan. Is the rock down to sea level from where you are working now?
Mr. STEVENS. Oh, yes; the same class of material.
Senator MORGAN. Šo that from your present workings down to sea level you would expect to encounter rock?
Mr. STEVENS. With the exception of certain places where we will find a thin skin, 8 or 10 or 15 or 20 feet thick in some places, of red clay, and in some places in the stratification of the rock we will find little seams of clay. But it must be drilled, all of it, excepting possibly a pocket here and there. As I say, over ninety per cent of it is rock.
Senator MORGAN. So that the work from the point you are at now down to sea level is what the engineers class as rock work?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; that is, it must be shot-blasted.
Senator MORGAN. I know, but I am talking about the sea level, because if it is that way to the sea-level, it is that way below, unless you happen to cut through it.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes; we know that, because we have drilled and taken cores out.
Senator MORGAN. It makes it more difficult to handle as you go down from sea-level to the depths.
Mr. STEVENS. There is some other equipment that has been ordered for the Panama Railroad in the shape of box cars and new coaches, caboose cars, but they do not cut any figure as far as Culebra is concerned.
I think I have made plain the situation with regard to equipment.
Senator ANKENY. Before you leave that, what do you do with that spoil—dump it?
Mr. STEVENS. We have been hauling it out to the nearest point we could over the old tracks, and dumping it on the old French dumps alongside of the mountain, until within the last
Senator HOPKINS. How far do you have to go from the canal proper?
JÍr. STEVENS. In a direct line, from the nearest point of the canal, I presume from 500 to 1,500 feet away. We have to go to make our grade, from half to three-quarters of a mile.
Senator ANKENY. Have you ample space there?
Senator MORGAN. Let me ask you one more question about the working of the steam shovel-I never saw one.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. Is its most efficient work done above or below the level of the railway on which it is operated?
Mr. STEVENS. Ordinarily it is done above the elevation of the rails that the car it is filling stands on; although the modern shovel will dig eight or nine feet below the base of the rail and still load into the car, thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen feet above.
Senator Morgan. But not deeper than 8 or 9 feet lower?
Mr. STEVENS. About 9 feet below the rails; that would be about 13 feet below the flat car.
Senator MORGAN. So that in laying your tracks with a view of economy you would have reference to work that could be done above rather than below!
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. That varies with the kind of material. If the material is not inclined to slide, you can get up as high as 40 feet above the base of your shovel. Ordinarily about 30 or 35 feet is about right.
Senator MORGAN. Is the work that is being done there now encumbered or impeded by slides?
Mr. STEVENS. No, sir; not to any great extent.
Senator Morgax. The former work was—you understand that, of course?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes; I understand it was. No; we are not being bothered by slides.
Senator MORGAX. Is this story true that trains and engines used by the French are still to be dug out of the ground there in some places?
Mr. STEVENS. I presume so. There is not a place along the whole Zone there, within any reasonable distance of the canal, but that you can find some French machinery.
Senator MORGAN. That means that there is a creeping or slipping from above that rushes down on the work!
Mr. STEVENS. I only know of two places, and at one of these places that was considered insurmountable Î found there had never been any intelligent investigation made. The walls of rock where the cut had been made by the French and Americans had been taken out to a certain extent, and up above there was a slide coming in like this [indicating).
Here was a stratum of rock, and from here down, where the rock stopped, water was coming down here, trickling down—no great rush of water, but just seepage; and this slide, which ran back into the mountain here, was apparently a terrible thing. But I found that no one, neither the French nor the Americans, had made any scientific or practical investigation to find out the amount of that slide, and I think in September I put some engineers up there with some laborers and drills and commenced drilling to find how deep that slide was and to develop the extent of it. I have received since I liave been in Washington a report from the engineer to the effect that so far as can be determined—and they have taken everything against them, so as to be sure that it is big enough—the “big slide, so called, comprises 225,000 cubic yards.
Senator MORGAN. Is that sliding process, that creeping-clay process, from the heights down into the digging, accounted for by any specific estimate in respect to the cost of the canal, or is it included in the percentage?
Mr. STEVENS. It is included in the percentage.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. As a matter of fact, that is a small moving mass of wet clay. It does not come with a rush. It simply dribbles over the edge; and, in fact, it has not come at all this summer.
Senator MorgaN. I would like to ask a very few questions, if the committee is willing, in regard to this rock. What borings have been made there, either by the French or by the American engineers, along the axis of the canal, through the Culebra and Emperador Heights, as far out as Paraiso, that bluff there to the south, to ascertain what is the actual geological structure down to sea level?
Mr. STEVENS. There has been, over the entire stretch of which you speak, along the axis of the canal, almost constant drilling, I think, ever since Mr. Wallace went there; and I have kept it up until within the last thirty or forty days. I do not think there are any drills working now. Those drillings have gone down to different depths.
Some of them have gone to the sea level, and some below. In addition to that, Mr. Wallace drilled last year at every kilometer (that would be about every 3,500 feet, or something less than threequarters of a mile) from Obispo-ves, he carried them, I think, from Bohio, certainly, through to Miraflores—he drilled down to 40 feet or more below sea level and took out cores. We have carload after carload of them at the office at Culebra, solid rock cores, showing what the material is. I can not give you the number of drillings which have been made.
Senator MORGAX. No.
Mr. STEVENS. Of course they are all matters of record; we have plats and maps that show them.
Senator Morgan. The general proposition is this—and that is all we have got to deal with, I suppose: Has there been a series of borings along the axis of the canal, from, say, the gulch at Bohio out to Miraflores, that would indicate the material through which you have to work in the digging of the canal, whether at sea level or below sea level ?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Senator MORGAN. Do you think that work has been done sufficiently to give us reliable information? Mr. STEVENS. I think so; yes.
Senator Morgan. Do you know whether a map of those borings, or any plat of them, has been made that is available for the use of this committee?
Mr. STEVENS. I have them on the Isthmus. I do not know I think probably they are here. The consulting board, of course, drew very largely for data on us. Whether they have them in this office or not, I do not know. I know that they have them on the Isthmus. I have the old records of the old French borings, which may or may not be correct; I do not depend very much on them.
Senator MORGAN. As to the quality of the rock, basalt is the heaviest rock you have to deal with, is it not-the tough rock, called basalt?
Mr. STEVENS. Basalt; yes, sir.
Mr. STEVENS. The first dike that we call basalt is at San Pablo, from a quarter to half a mile south of where the Panama Railroad crosses the Chagres River, on a long steel bridge.
Senator MORGAN. Now, coming on south?
Mr. STEVENS. Coming on south, the next dike of any consequence at all is at Bas Obispo. There is a very heavy dike there—a very sharp, heavy dike.
Senator MORGAN. What is the nature of the rock at Gamboa!
Mr. STEVENS. It is undoubtedly a volcanic rock, but I would not consider it an extremely hard trap rock.
Senator MORGAN. Not as heavy as the other?
Mr. STEVENS. I should not consider it so. Of course I have simply looked over the ground.