The Yunnan Vietnam Railway (滇越铁路) is one of the most spectacular railway projects of the past century. On its 855 km from Haiphong (Vietnam) to Kunming (China) the train crosses 173 bridges and 158 tunnels. There were over 60 000 Chinese and 80 European workers involved in the project. Many thousands of them died on site, mostly of malaria.
One of the 80 European workers was an engineer from Zurich called Otto Meister. He was born 1873 in Horgen and studied engineering at ETH. He worked at the Yunnan section of the railway from 1903 to 1909. He later transferred to Shanghai where he inaugurated the new representative of the Sulzer company. You can find his official reports and private correspondence combined with many pictures in the book «In den wilden Bergschluchten widerhallt ihr Pfeifen» published by the Limmatverlag. The book is an unique insight into the everyday life in Southern China at the beginning of the 20th century. The book is currently being translated into Chinese.
Get the book at Limmatverlag: http://www.limmatverlag.ch/programm/titel/87-in-den-wilden-bergschluchten-widerhallt-ihr-pfeifen.html