National Geographic : 1964 Sep
KODACHROME(C NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY Memorial to railroad heroes, a candlelit shrine at Chi Hoa treasures names and pic tures of 75 who gave their lives. On the wall, a painted train skirts the South China Sea. The picture he painted for me was that of an elegant but fickle woman, seldom happy with herself or those around her. She rebuilt the front entrance door eight times before be ing satisfied, and a corner window ten times before it pleased her. Railroad Costs Mount Alarmingly Back in Saigon after a safe return trip over the same route, I dropped in to see Nguyen Ngoc Lam, chief of operations and mainte nance. He told me of the increasing number of incidents; how in one month of this year 18 engines had been immobilized; in another, 12. He said that the Communist problem and sabotage were far worse than during the fight ing with the French. And, in spite of more than $25,000,000 in American aid to the railroad since 1955, it re mains in serious financial difficulty. The cost of repairing sabotaged equipment runs 11/2 million dollars annually; already this year the Viet Cong have done more than a million dollars' worth of damage to U. S. locomotives. In 1963 the budget for the railroad was $5,800,000. Its revenues amounted to only $4,600,000. The railroad loses about $100,000 monthly. This is little compared to the human loss. At the Chi Hoa repair shops in a suburb of Saigon, on the occasion of the 2,508th anni versary of Buddha's birth, I visited the shrine that was recently built in memory of the 75 Vietnamese railroad employees who have been killed since 1946 (above). At a memorial ceremony I attended that day, 218 children of the deceased workers joined in the Buddhist rites (page 428). They had formed the Chanh Phuoc (Real Happi ness) youth group. In the final prayer the youth leader in toned: "We pray for the peace of their souls. Let us follow the example of their sacrifice for the salvation of our country." SIX-MONTH INDEX AVAILABLE As one of the privileges of membership in the National Geographic Society, members who bind their GEOGRAPHICS as works of reference will receive upon request an index for 444 each six-month volume. The index to Volume 125 (January-June, 1964) is now ready.