The first direct rail link between South Africa and Rhodesia looks almost certain to become Rhodesia's only outlet to the coast, following the expected closures of links with Mozambique and Botswana.
SV PAN Train arriving from Johannesburg at Messina railway station
SV People leaving train (3 shots)
GV Passengers carrying goods and suitcases walking to second train
SV Sign "change here for Beit-bridge"
SV Passengers load luggage from border train and board second train
CU Sign "Passport Control"
GV PAN FROM Train at border TO signs "Transvaal border"
CU Beitbridge sign
TRAVEL SHOT ABOARD TRAIN crossing Beitbridge (3 shots)
SV PAN ALONG Bridge TO Train passing into Rhodesia (2 shots)
Initials BB/0140 FC/AW/BB/0205
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Background: The first direct rail link between South Africa and Rhodesia looks almost certain to become Rhodesia's only outlet to the coast, following the expected closures of links with Mozambique and Botswana.
Mozambique is to close its railways and its ports -- Beira and Lourenco Marques which are Rhodesia's traditional ports -- when the Frelimo officially assume power in the former Portuguese territory on June 25. The two ports reportedly handle up to 80 per cent of Rhodesia's foreign imports.
Rhodesia's other link with the world is through Botswana which may also close outlets under the present political moves to force the Smith regime into handing over power to the country's black majority.
However, political commentators believe that the blockades are less likely to hurt Rhodesia which can channel its export-import traffic to the new rail link with South Africa. The line, opened in October last year, connects Rutenga in southeast Rhodesia to Beitbridge on the frontier and thence to Johannesburg.
Rhodesia's African neighbours are expected to suffer for joining in tighter sanctions, decided by the Heads of Commonwealth countries at a summit meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, earlier this month.
The leaders agreed at the meeting to set up a compensation fund to help African countries affected by the decision because of their close reliance on Rhodesia economically.
But commentators believe that the sacrifices are going to be far greater than the compensations.