16 FEBRUARY 1895, Page 25

Railway Policy in India. By Horace Bell. (Rivington and Co.)—We

have found the narrative of the political history of

Indian railways distinctly good reading. Indian railways have been constructed on a different principle and for different purposes from our home railways. At home, railways are con_ structed for the purpose of benefiting aggregations of private interests, on a large scale certainly, but still private, and the great power possessed by the great systems proves this. In India, a line has a political or strategical object connected either with the possibility of an emergency in warfare, a famine, or for the purpose of directly supplying a country with necessary food. A well-known Mysore coffee-planter, by the way, said that a railway actually encouraged a famine by draining the interior of grain. Government has more control in India, besides ownership; hence rates, accommodation gauge, even profits, have to be considered by the authorities. Gauge, indeed, is a more complicated question there than here, for such urgent reasons as expense, engineering difficulties, and the nature of the traffic. The metre, or 51 ft. gauge, is now the compulsory standard, but of course could not always have been so, or the India rail system would scarcely have the dimension it now has. Anglo-Indians will find this volume a valuable guide to their railways.