Visit to the Swindon Works by King Amanullah of Afghanistan

Extract from the Railway Gazette, 23 March 1928

p. 387.

The Great Western Railway works at Swindon were visited, on Wednesday, by the King of Afghanistan, who, with his customary keenness and untiring energy, manifested the liveliest interest in everything he saw. It is fitting that his first purely industrial visit should be paid to a railway works, not only because this country is the original home of railways, but as marking the importance of transportation in the modern state, a fact that is not likely to have escaped the keen intelligence of the Afghan ruler. The Swindon visit is but one of a series which he will pay to the great industrial centres of Britain during the remainder of his stay, and these visits, like those he had already carried out in France, Germany and Italy, are made with a definite purpose. It is his policy to convert Afghanistan into a stable and prosperous kingdom on modern lines, adapting the best of western practice, but cautiously, to Afghan conditions. There are no railways at present in Afghanistan, and it is said that there will not be until Afghanistan herself can build them; but King Amanullah has known how to make use of European advisers in other Departments of State, and we have no doubt that here, too, he will know where to seek the best advice. He has an object lesson in British railway construction on his own frontier in the Khyber railway, and in his visits he will see something of the unexampled resources and skill of this country in the design and manufacture of engineering and transport equipment. May the friendship between Afghanistan and our Indian Empire, which is such an important British and Afghan interest, be cemented in the future with bonds of steel!