Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/453

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THE MEXICAN RAILWAY MOVEMENT.

branches, are all-sufficient for Mexico and for the extension, southward of the vast systems of the United States. The success of a greater number I consider more than problematical, notwithstanding the promised assistance of subsidies and the support of the Mexican government.

It is true that these subsidies, if paid, will return to them a large proportion of the cost of construction; it is equally true that Mexican commerce—upon which these subventions are dependent—must increase at a rate wholly unprecedented to yield the required revenue. If there ever was an excuse for repeating a hackneyed Mexican phrase, it occurs here; and so I say, though with a reservation, Quien sabe?—Who knows?

Yet the vast and comprehensive railroad system of Mexico was not the child of chance, but was planned by her political leaders. They recognized the necessity of rapid communication between the centre of political power and distant provinces, both for the massing of troops to quell rebellions and the development of latent resources. So they subsidized and encouraged certain lines, even in the face of popular opposition.

With the Sonora Railroad crossing the extreme northwestern province, the Central taking the centre of the great plateau, the Huntington-Pierce combination (the "Sunset Route") the next tier of States, the National the next, and the Oriental the eastern border, we have Old Mexico divided longitudinally into as many portions as would seem advisable. Add to these the various feeders that span her from Gulf to Pacific, and lastly the Tehuantepec line that crosses her narrowest part, and we shall see that our Southern sister will soon be covered with a perfect network of iron rails and telegraph lines.