Coordinates: 38°28′55″N 22°30′02″E / 38.48204°N 22.50062°E / 38.48204; 22.50062 (Archeological site)
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Company for the exploitation of colonial products, (formerly Établiss­ements G. Lachmann), Abidjan: Logging, sawmilling, coffee, cocoa

In 1923, he had completed a 6400 kilometre flight from Dakar via Bamako, Ouagadougou, Bamako, Bouakié, Bamako to Dakar, with a single plane and a single mechanic and without "breaking wood".

He founded the Établissements G. Lachmann & Cie in Abidjan, which later changed its name to Société d'Exploitation de Produits Coloniaux (S.E.P.C.) and was involved in forest exploitation by logging and sawmilling as well as the agricultural exploitation by cultivating coffee and cocoa.

His erseverance, tenacity and constant energy in the endeavour as a pilot were reflected in the management style of Lachmann's sawmill in Abidjan on the shores of Banco Bay, which was described as a model. Until his forestry operations were fully utilised, Lachmann aimed to saw tropical timber for the ever-increasing local demand in the French colony, which would also be easy to export if necessary.

The sawmill and the boilers were set up in two large halls. The equipment consisted of:

The hand-operated Decauville railway of G. Lachmann sawmill
  • A Clark double circular saw with a capacity of 1.25 m × 8.50 m, with 4-claw carriage and automatic retraction, which enabled a high cutting speed
  • A Tower triple circular saw that cut the large panels of the previous saw into planks and rafters (automatic feed)
  • A circular saw with automatic carriage especially for boards and battens from banana boxes
  • A chainsaw with pendulum.

The timber and finished products were transported from one machine to another by automatic conveyors with controlled rollers. An 8-tonne steam boiler with a heating surface of 140 square metres, of a design similar to that of steam locomotives, supplied the steam for an 85 hp steam engine with a very powerful flywheel and underground transmission shafts to the various machines.

The plant in which the modern machines were housed allowed a throughput of 20 cubic metres of finished products per ten-hour day. Even if this had been halved, the yield would still have been considerable and sufficient to be profitable and to provide all possible uses for the various and numerous types of timber and to supply the export market, as many ships favoured sawn timber over logs as cargo. The sawmill was connected to the Ébrié lagoon by a hand-operated, narrow gauge Decauville railway.[1][2]


Decauville railway in use during the excavations of Delphi, 1892–1903

Decauville V skip waggons similar to those used during the construction of the Panama Canal

Topographic route map by the French engineer Henry Convert
Line length3 km (1.9 mi)
Track gauge500 mm (19+34 in)
Route map

Archeological excavations
Several zig-zags
Wooden slide to the dump

The Decauville railway in Delphi was a 3 km (1.9 mi) long 500 mm (19+34 in) gauge light railway used from 1892 to 1903 on the archaeological excavation site of the ancient temple complex of Delphi in Greece.


The Great Excavation of Delphi (French: La Grande Fouille de Delphes) began in 1892 under the auspices of the French School of Athens (École française d'Athènes). To facilitate the transport of spoil from the excavation sites to the dumps, a narrow-gauge railway network with a total length of 1.8 km (1.1 mi) and a track width of 500 mm (19+34 in) was built between July and September 1892. A further 1.2 km (0.75 mi) of track was gradually built by 1897, bringing the total length of the network to 3 km (1.9 mi). The zig-zag route was necessary as the tracks were laid on terrain with large differences in height. The Decauville railway of Delphi and its extensions are shown on the sophisticated topographical plan by French engineer Henry Convert, as highlighted in red. After the end of the excavations in 1903, the portable track was dismantled and transported to the island of Delos, where it was used in combination with the V tip waggons for the excavations that had just begun.[3][4][5]

The Decauville railway in Delphi during the excavations, 1892-1903

The excavation of the sanctuary of Apollo was only possible after the expropriation and relocation of the village of Kastri. It is one of the most important sites of Greek cultural heritage and has gained its place at the top of the list of ancient sites. The excavation brought to light many astonishing remains, including around three thousand important inscriptions describing public life in ancient Greece. Today, the Greek Archaeological Service, in collaboration with the French School of Athens, continues to explore, excavate and preserve the Delphic sanctuaries.[3]


38°28′55″N 22°30′02″E / 38.48204°N 22.50062°E / 38.48204; 22.50062 (Archeological site)

Category:500 mm gauge railways in Greece Category:Delphi