To direct and control the labours of these men of varied race and language, but of equal inexperience, some civilian foremen platelayers were obtained at high rates of pay from Lower Egypt. These, however, with very few exceptions were not satisfactory, and they were gradually replaced by intelligent men of the 'Railway Battalion, who had learned their trade as the line progressed.
It was true that a gang of platelayers was there, and that they had seen nothing, but it was their custom to stand in the middle between the metals, and the open carriage door was upon the far side, so that it was conceivable that someone might have alighted unseen, as the darkness would by that time be drawing in.
Thorndyke nodded rather abstractedly, being engaged at the moment in observing with great attention the objects that were visible from the windows. "I notice," he remarked presently, "a number of chips scattered about between the rails, and some of the chair-wedges look new. Have there been any platelayers at work lately?"
Unless they doubled back into the tunnel, their only way of escape lay in scaling the right side of the cutting, as a short distance down the line a gang of platelayers were at work, who would have intercepted them before they reached the open country.
Another stationmaster, in our own territory, acted as spy to the enemy before the war began by employing enemies as gangers and platelayers along the line with a view to the destruction of bridges and culverts as soon as war was declared. There was also found in his office a code by which the different arms of the service were designated in terms of timber for secretly telegraphing information.
The heavy boots of the platelayers walking to and fro to their work on the permanent way brushed against it, and crushed the venturous fibres of the creeping cinquefoil that stretched into the path. From the yellow standing wheat the sparrows rose in a bevy, and settled upon the hedge, chirping merrily.
A layer of Portland cement of considerable thickness also gives increased stability to the brick lining and other portions of the tunnel, and the whole of the flooring will be bricked. There are about 22 yards of brickwork in every yard forward. At every 45 ft. on alternate sides niches of 18 in. depth are placed for the safety of platelayers.
What would become of a railway that had no surfacemen and platelayers going along the line and noticing whether anything was amiss?
"Our Unique Competition," "Mr. Cecil Rhodes: a Powerful Personality," "What becomes of old Stage Scenery." In the midst of my survey the train began to move forward again, and the boy came back to his seat. "It's only some platelayers on the viaduct," he explained. "They held up their flag against us. I suppose they were just finishing a job."
Rhodes, with his curious shilling-Atlas and round-ruler point of view about a Cape to Cairo Railway. What would happen if, when the railway was completed to the Egyptian frontier, the platelayers found either a hostile Egypt or a foreign power in possession, and determined to prevent a junction of the rails? Mr.