The Dervish dominion was born of war, existed by war, and fell by war.
It began on the night of the sack of Khartoum. It ended abruptly thirteen
years later in the battle of Omdurman.

Die Bahnlinie drang rasch nach Süden vor, und sowie sie an Länge gewann, wurden die Lasten von den Kamelrücken und aus den Segelbooten auf die Güterwaggons verschoben. … An dem Tag, als der erste Zug … einrollte, war das Schicksal der Derwische besiegelt. … Die Schlacht war noch nicht geschlagen, aber der Sieg bereits errungen.

On the 3rd of July the whole railway from Wady Halfato the Atbara was 
finished, and the southern terminus was established in the great 
entrenched camp at the confluence of the rivers. The question of 
supply was then settled once and for all.
In less than a week stores sufficient for three months were poured along 
the line, and the exhausting labours of the commissariat officers ended.
Their relief and achievement were merged in the greater triumph of the 
Railway Staff. The director and his subalterns had laboured long, and 
their efforts were crowned with complete success.
On the day that the first troop train steamed into the fortified camp at the 
confluence of the Nile and the Atbara rivers the doom of the Dervishes 
was sealed. It had now become possible with convenience and speed 
to send into the heart of the Soudan great armies independent of the 
season of the year and of the resources of the country; to supply them 
not only with abundant food and ammunition, but with all the varied
paraphernalia of scientific war; and to support their action on land by 
a powerful flotilla of gunboats, which could dominate the river and 
command the banks, and could at any moment make their way past 
Khartoum even to Sennar, Fashoda, or Sobat.
Though the battle was not yet fought, the victory was won.
The Khalifa, his capital, and his army were now withinthe Sirdar's reach. 
It remained only to pluck the fruit in the most convenient hour, with the 
least trouble and at the smallest cost.
(Churchill: River War. Chapter VIII: The Desert Railway)

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