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Uganda Railway, Circa 1899-1901

 Record Group — Album: 51
Identifier: 51

Scope and Contents

Contains 25 silver prints, each captioned.


  • Circa 1899-1901


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

To inquire about access to this collection, please contact the Herskovits Library at

Historic Notes

The idea of building a railway line from Mombasa to the Victoria Nyanza was first proposed in 1890 by the promoters of the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEA), whose officers carried out the initial survey. However, work on the building of the line, which was to become known as the Permanent Way, did not start in Mombasa until 1896. The line reached Port Florence in 1903 (named after the Chief Engineer’s wife and later renamed Kisumu). From Kisumu in British East Africa, the onward journey to Uganda was completed by steamship across Lake Victoria to Entebbe. The line cost, at the time, approximately £5.5 million to construct. Once the railway had reached the upland areas, it was first necessary to negotiate several escarpments (e.g. the Kikuyu and Mau Escarpments) by erecting either rope inclines or temporary viaducts (these were in use from May 1900 to November 1901). Several of these are depicted by William Young in this album. For the history of the Uganda Railway see, Hill, M.F., Permanent way : the story of the Kenya and Uganda Railway, East African railways and harbours, Nairobi, 1949.


1 album (1 album, 24 p., 25 x 28 cm., and 1 photograph tipped in) : Recent morocco, cloth sides, gilt lettering to spine.


Album of original photographs recording the building of the Uganda Railway. Circa 1899-1901.

Related Material

Hill, M. F. (Mervyn F.)Permanent way : the story of the Kenya and Uganda Railway, East African railways and harbours. Nairobi, 1949

Library Details

Part of the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies Repository

Main Library, 5th Floor, East Tower
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US