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Book source: (1)Jungle Gold, Will Degrouchy and William L. Magee, annotated and introduced by F.C. Bubberman. De Walburg Pers, Zutphen, 1985. ISBN 906011.367.5 Reprinted at the request of SURALCO (2) SURALCO Magazine, 1984, vol 16 nr 1. { The cover shows a reproduction of a batik painting of the 'John Lucas' painted by me after having made several trips to the John Lucas and having been a student of the well known Surinamese batik painter Soeki Irodikromo.}

Subject: [History, Tourism] Locomotives In The Jungle

On the Suriname bank of the Marowijne and near the Pakira creek are two locomotives in the jungle. On or about 1899, the Marowijne Company, an American gold exploitation company, was founded. The operations supervisor and adventurer Howard A. Pedrick at age 36 left for Suriname and arrived there on June 16, 1899. (The town Pedricktown, NJ was named for him). Pedrick took with him two locomotives. One was called the 'John Lucas'. The locomotive was built in 1878 as no. 4287 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. It was purchased by the Camden-Atlantic railroad and had 35000 miles on it when it was shipped to Suriname. No data is available about the second locomotive. Each locomotive weighed at least 40 tons. They arrived on 3 Nov 1900 after a trip of 32 days from Philadephia by sailing schooner with other heavy equipment such as tons of coal, 13 mine cars, a steam pump, 60-inch wide rail road tracks for a 5 km track and even a 12 bed hospital. (The ship was lost at sea on its return trip with no survivors.) Unloading the 40 ton locomotives was a difficult job. The locomotives were then dis-assembled to be transported up river to the Pakira creek and there re-assembled. By 1901 some f 500 000 had been invested in the gold venture and by that time they were joined by Dr. W.H. Bradley who was given permission to practise medicine and treat the many patients who suffered from 'swamp fever'. The railway system was little used and was not kept up. The locomotives were primarily used at low speeds and to transport workers. The results of the gold venture were a disappointment. Pedrick returned to the States in 1901. In 1907 the property was sold at a public auction at a loss and all the heavy equipment including the locomotives were left in the jungle. In 1925 the former camp became a military military/police jungle post 'Pakira'. The story of Mr. Pedrick's gold venture and the locomotives appeared in an article of May 4, 1929 in the "Saturday Evening Post'. The two locomotives and heavy equipment are still in the jungle of Suriname slowly being overgrown by plants and trees. The original investors of the Marowijne Company lost over two and a half million dollars in the gold venture. ----------

Met dank aan Albert Buys

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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