The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 9 (January 1, 1929)
As a holiday ground, few corners of Europe have sprung into greater favour in recent times than sun-steeped Algeria (writes our Special London Correspondent). Although situated on the continent of Africa, Algeria includes three Departments of France, viz.: Oran, Algiers and Constantine. Its 2,742 miles of railway track include some 672 miles of line owned and operated by the P.L.M. Company of France, and, wherever one journeys in this picturesque holiday territory, French influence is clearly apparent.
The headquarters of both the P.L.M. railway system serving Algiers, and the Algerian State Railways, are situated at Algiers, the capital of the country. The majority of the routes are single-track, and one terminal in the capital serves both railway undertakings of the land. Flat-bottomed rails, spiked to the sleepers, are utilised. Stations are few and far between, and platforms are as often as not, non-existent. The P.L.M. main line runs from Algiers to Oran, a distance of 264 miles. The State Railways main line goes from Algiers to Constantine and the Tunisian frontier, where connection is afforded with the Tunisian railway system. The locomotive stocks are of extremely varied character. Six-coupled engines with small driving wheels are employed for both passenger and freight train working, and generally coal bricks are employed as engine fuel in place of ordinary coal. Most of the passenger carriages are four or six-wheeled, and three classes of travel are provided, while sleeping cars and restaurant carriages of the International Sleeping Car Company are also employed on the trunk routes. A feature of the passenger carriages is the introduction of a platform at either end of the car, these platforms being exceptionally popular in the hot season. On the narrow-gauge lines of the interior the stations are many miles apart, and, whenever necessary, take the form of blockhouses for military use. At the same time, ambitious plans are under review for the linking up of the Algerian railways with the West Coast of Africa by way of the Sahara Desert. This would be a most difficult engineering task, but such a connection would prove of inestimable value in opening up the fruitful territory of West Africa, and bringing within speedy reach of the European markets the agricultural produce for which this corner of the globe is far-famed.