Of Smoke and Mirrors

The Times, 11th of February 1855

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Construction started on the Grand Crimean Railway
The Times war-correspondent William H. Russel could today report that the first nail of the Grand Crimean Railway project was struck on February 8th at the port of Balaclava. The project aims to solve the supply problems for the brave men at the front near Sevastopol, an issue on which our correspondent has commented more than once. In particular a shortage of winter gear has seen our lads suffer severely in the harsh Russian winter. Lord Raglan’s headquarter could however assure the Times that with the rail-line in place by an estimated early April the difficulty of transportation and logistics would be solved.
This vital project was proposed by Mr Samuel M. Peto back in November and in an act of commendable patriotism and charity he has funded and outfitted the entire venture together with his partners Mr Edward Betts and Thomas Brassey.
An in depth coverage of the project continues over the next two pages, with a detailed report on the construction process from Mr Russel, as well as a lengthy interview with Mr Peto. The editor ends with a stirring appeal for others to contribute to the war-efforts.

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The Mysterious Footprints Solved?
As was noted on the trivia page in the Time’s issue of the 9th of February a case of mass hysteria seemed to have overtaken the people of Exeter and South Devon. Several series of mysterious footprints, or more precisely hoof-prints, had been observed in the aforementioned area following a heavy snowfall on the 7th. Local reports claimed they continued straight on into the moors, crossing straight over hedges and houses. Local papers were awash with hysterical clerics preaching doom and old villagers raving about the Devil Lucifer stalking the land.
The Times can however now assure its readers that no demon nor devil has been afoot in Exeter. The mystery appears to have been solved by a team from the Institute for the Study of the Aetheric, Magical Artifacts and Mystical Creatures, led by Decanus Eveline Windsor. Though the young lady has not been available for interview a Ebenezer Cecil, resident of Barrowynd Manor, speaking on her behalf could assure the Times that the mystery was due to a disturbance in the local Telluric Lines and nothing more.

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Train Tests underway at Kibblesworth
A short notice discuss the upcoming tests to take place near Kibblesworth where currently a test tunnel for an underground railway is underway. Kibblesworth was chosen because of similar geological properties to London city and once complete the tunnel will be used in the development of an underground train for use in the London Underground. In particular the question of the power source is hotly debated.

A new Prime Minister in Belgium
The recent general election in the Kingdom of Belgium ended as predicted with the clear victory of the Catholic block 31 against 23 seats. According to sources available to the Times the likely candidate for Prime Minister appears to be the young and promising Pierre de Decker (Eldren). Though highly controversial with the Revolution against the Dutch in fresh memory Mr. de Decker is set to promote Flemish interest and their language (Dutch) which has long been neglected.
The note goes on discussing local affairs in Belgium.

Concern regarding the air in London
A group of doctors and professors, led by Luke Howard, has signed a letter to the editor urging action against the “city fog” which they believe unhealthy. Furthermore the heavy smoke damages public buildings, deprives vegetation of sunlight and raise the laundry expenses!

Several other minor notices, advertisement, poems and letters to the editor.

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