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Chroniques politiques et culturelles (CP) - 05 JAN 1944 - Anglais
     [CP-1944-00-05-EN]


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Aperçu rapide de l'OCR:
The World's Oldest Democracy Galling the World's Biggest
One Century of Railways in Switzerland by P.Ladame
The city of Basel, Switzerlnad's advanced post on the Rhine "between Germany
and the French AlsatÄ has recently celebrated a great day: one
hundred years ago, the first railway was established in Switzerland,
a line which formed also the first railway connection between two countries
This event took place very exactly on the 16th of June 1844. But as is
always the case when humanity is to make another step forward, the final
achievement had been preceeded by many a hard fight and disagreeable
Today, Switzerland is proud to possess the most comfortable electric
railways of the world, but at that time she did not want to hear of this
devilish invention of the Scotchman George Stephenson which transported
people from Manchester to Liverpool at a speed of 24 km per hour.
The opponents of this project categorically declared that travelling at
such a terrific speed would be certain suiâide, for the human organism
would never be able to stand such strains. Other enemies of the plan
pointed out the strategic dangers of such an enterprise and stated that
to build a station would mean to break a hole into the city walls to let
the rails x pass through, another deadly thing for it would undoubtedly
invite some bloodthirsty aggressor eoMBÈÈNP to invade the city.
But finallyy progress was not to be stopped in its vietormous course
and astation was builift. The first train, two open carriages drawn by a i
coughing locomotive, made its triumphant entry into Switzerland, to the
great delight of fair ladies in crinolines who threw flowers to the engineers
and blew kisses to the passengers. These hardy travellers, as
a contemporary witness describes the scene, had tears sreaming down thei:
faces, not from emotion, but because they had nothing to protect themselves
ffrom-lihe biting smoke of the locomotive.
That was the good old times, the 16th of June 1844, just one hundred
years ago. Switzerand had opened her gates to progress which nothing
can stop in its march.
Afew years later, Swiss railway engineers and constructors were among
the most smdaeiouo in the United Staes.
Thus for instance, John J. BBrnet, who entered the States poor as a
church mouse, and first SBsxkieitxssxa found a job as a work-hand in the
construction of the railway line on the shores of Lake Erie. He worked
well and was intelligent and enterprising. ftnJwr several years, x fcsx
climbing higher, step by stepson the ladder of success, he rose right
R, $ro'al8 8c5Mt)n)$ om ° i;iie *op Posi; 0:f a president of the Lake Erie
Railroad Company. And not enough, after a few years, he even became
president of the Cheltpeake, Ohio and Père Marquette Railroad Trust,
the socalled Ramified Chesapeake, Ohio and Père Marquette Railroad
Combine. Quite a success for rfcios John J. Bernet, the little
immigrant from Switzerland, U-U ws*»«* jjUwA» *- *
v.1.09