The contract for building the railway was put in the hands of Thomas Brassey; English navvies were largely employed on the work, and a number of English engine-drivers were employed when traffic was begun in 1843.
6d., stone-masons 1 is 6d., plasterers 12s., painters 11s., blacksmiths ros., and navvies and general labourers 8s., and work was very plentiful.
In soft material the excavation may be performed by mechanical excavators or " steam navvies," while in hard it may be necessary to resort to blasting.
The line was designed, surveyed and constructed by Turkish engineers - employing Ottoman navvies and labourers - in a highly efficient and economical manner, the average cost per mile having been £3230, although considerable engineering difficulties had to be overcome, especially in the construction of the Haifa branch.
The Italian colony now numbers about 2500 (chiefly navvies and masons), in addition to some 1400 Austrian subjects of that nationality.
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