Rail Quiz-Oct 2019

  1. What is the significance of this pair of stations in the history of IR?
  2. Nowadays all passenger trains have at least a technical halt at Balharshah. But in 1963-64 the Southern Express (then the best train between New Delhi and Madras) ran through Balharshah without stopping. How was this possible?
  3. What is the historical significance of this station in Bangladesh?Dohazari
  4. And of this station in Pakistan? Koh i Taftan (2)
  5. Why was this small station’s name well known to Allied military personnel?Drigh Road
  6. And what was the significance of this station’s name to British soldiers? Devlali
  7. What is unusual about this station in Bangladesh? And what was it called before  Partition?      Quasba
  8. Until recently, what was (wrongly) claimed to be the first station in Arunachal Pradesh?
  9. Identify the time span when this picture was taken.   Rajshahi station-old
  10. Where in India would you have seen steam locos in green livery marked “PAK”?
  11. Name one station in Kerala which had steam sheds for BG and MG.
  12. Name one major rail-connected howler in the film “Julie”.
  13. Which was the only section of IR which had 4-foot gauge?
  14. And 3’6″ gauge?
  15. What was the northern-most MG station on IR? Ignore the short-lived MG lines north of Lahore.
  16. Bonus: Which important station most closely matches the description of the title of the novel “Bhowani Junction”?

Analysis of camel jokes

As we have seen, elephant jokes are worthy of academic study.


Camel jokes are less complicated to explain. The animal’s unusual appearance (particularly its humps) are a ready butt of jokes.

We start with this elephant-and-camel joke:

elephant camel joke

These jokes were probably inspired by the US Vice-President Hubert Humphrey:

Humphrey the camel

Or this one inspired by the Bible:

camel needle saying

Those who follow the Beau Peep strip would remember Sopwith the camel. As German pilots of WW1 would testify, the Sopwith Camel was not a laughing matter:

Sopwith Camel.jpg

If you google for “camel jokes”, you would probably end up with variations of the story involving sex-starved soldiers and nomads with camels. Steering clear of that, we look at the long involvement of camels with the tobacco industry.

One of the complaints involved the “Joe the Camel” advertisements which were said to induce children to start smoking:


And, of course, it was not difficult to find phallic symbols in the ads like this:


The long association of camels with American cigarettes gave rise to this satirical piece:

The desert wilted under the blazing sun.

The camel looked down to see what he had done.

“To think”, he said, “this dirty mess

Will soon be smoked in State Express”

We close this with a genuine camel story, this time involving Winston Churchill when he was on the way up the political ladder:

Churchill camel 1

Churchill camel 2





The Indian tail also wags

Data as of 14 Oct 2019:

Having seen how batsmen of no 8 and below have fared against India, we see how India’s tailend batsmen have done in Tests:

Innings of 90 and above by Indian batsmen at No 8 and below:

Indian tail innings

Dhoni and Ashwin are among the main contributors here. It is often forgotten that Saha has scored centuries (also two more while batting at 7 or higher).

There are relatively few newcomers here. RH Shodhan is the only debutant here, while Ratra, Ashwin and Pandya made their centuries at the start of their career. J Yadav soon dropped out of the Test reckoning. Kumble and Harbhajan made their centuries at a late stage of their careers.

It should be noted that Kapil usually batted at 7 or higher.

We now look at averages of those batting at 8 and below, subject to a minimum of 10 innings:

India tail averages

Dhoni expectedly has the highest average, while Saha is surprisingly second and Prabhakar third. Prabhakar also played many of his matches higher in the order.

Sandhu seems to have been better as a batsman than a bowler during his brief career. He still holds the record of the highest score by a debutant (71) at no 9.

Dhoni, Kapil, Ashwin and Harbhajan all have two centuries here. The most 50+ scores are by Kapil (15), Harbhajan (11) and Jadeja (10). Harbhajan did make rapid progress as a batsman since his debut.

Kumble has over 2000 runs here, while Kapil and several others have over a thousand. Saha, Ashwin and Jadeja are among the current players here.

Finally we look at centuries for the 8th to 10th wicket:

Indian tail partnerships

There are some large partnerships here, some of which were in a losing cause (such as the one between Azhar and Kumble). One which was significant was the 122 by Prasanna and Sardesai, which helped India to impose the follow-on on the West Indies and gain a psychological advantage which lasted till the end of the series.

The partnership between Tendulkar (248*) and Zaheer Khan (75) was then the record for the 10th wicket, until Root and Anderson overtook it against India. Both Tendulkar and Zaheer made their highest scores here. Another useful 10th-wicket partnership was the one between B Kumar and Shami, in which both scored fifties.

When the tail wagged against India

Indian bowlers have often been frustrated by lower-order batsmen. This happened in the first Test of this series as well as the first innings of the second Test.

Here we list all scores in Tests of 70 and above from No 8-11 (sorry, 12) against India:

Highest tailend scores against India

This includes several debut scores (including 137* by Neesham, 105 by BR Taylor, 103* by Samaraweera to begin with) as well as career-best scores of 173 by IDS Smith, 137* by Neesham, 107 by Christiani and numerous others such as MA Starc, MD Marshall, TT Bresnan and even Muralitharan. The most recent entry is KA Maharaj with 72.

We also look at the averages (with a minimum of 10 innings) for those who batted at 8-12 against India:

Tail against India

Vettori, Broad and Starc have scored the most runs here. Starc, JO Holder and Broad have done well in recent years.

Finally, partnerships of 90+ from the 8th wicket onward against India:

Tail partnerships against India

Ironically the highest such partnership is for the last wicket, when Anderson scored his only Test fifty. From the current series we have Maharaj and Philander with 109 for the 9th, and Muthusamy and Piedt with 91 for the 8th.



Test scores of 200+ by Indians and others

Information correct as on Oct 11, 2019.

First we look at those who have made 5 or more scores of 200 or more:

Scores of 200+ 5 times

We can see that Kohli is now equal with Hammond and M Jayawardene in making 7 scores of 200+. The previous record of 6 for India was shared by him, Sehwag and Tendulkar. Kohli is also the only current player above.

The only other player with more than one triple century is CH Gayle, whose 4 scores of 200+ include 2 triples.

A total of 374 scores of 200+ have been made in Tests. This includes one quadruple century, 29 triples and 344 doubles.

All those who have made 200+ for India are tabulated below:

200+ for India

We also look at scores of 200+ in ODIs:

There are only 8 such scores.

RG Sharma has made 3, with a top score of 264 which is the ODI record.

Others who have made 200+ scores in ODIs are Fakhar Zaman, CH Gayle, MJ Guptill, V Sehwag and SR Tendulkar.

And for T20Is:

The highest score is 172 by AJ Finch. There are 2 other scores above 150, by AJ Finch again and H Zazai.


Five wickets in an innings and never again

So far, we have seen that

105 players scored a century on debut.

40 of them never scored a century again.

Of these 40, 19 never even scored a fifty again.

15 players took 10 wickets in a match on debut.

11 of them never took 10wm again.

Of these 11, 7 never even took 5wi again.

Now we look more closely at those who took 5wi on debut.

This seems more easy than scoring a century or taking 10wm on debut, since:

154 players took 5wi on debut. 9 of them took two fivers in the same match, making a total of 163 instances.

69 of them never took 5wi again.

Here is the list:

5wi on debut and never again

These include some (like Ganteaume and Redmond) who played only in one Test. Here we have WH Ashley (only one innings), DW Carr, MF Malone, CS Marriott, CA Smith and A Warren.

CS Marriott remains the only one to take a 10wm in his only Test. And there are several who played only 2 or 3 Tests.

In fact many did not even take 4 wickets in an innings (4wi) again.

There are 50 such players (amounting to 54 instances of 5wi). They are:

5wi on debut and never even 4wi again

Some current players such as L Embuldeniya, Mahmudullah, Nayeem Hasan and L Ngidi may yet take 4wi or 5wi in the future. Mahmudullah is now one of his team’s leading batsmen.



Muthusamy’s record, and the highest averages

At close on the Oct 10, 2019, which was the first day of the second India-SA Test at Pune, South Africa was yet to bat.

So Senuran Muthusamy temporarily holds the record of the most runs in a Test career without ever being dismissed:

Never dismissed in Tests

He is now ahead of the long-standing record of Afaq Hussain who made 66 (HS 35*) in 4 unbeaten innings in 2 Tests in 1961-64.


Azhar Mahmood scored 128* and 50* on debut and thus scored 178 without being dismissed. He added another 19 in his third innings before he was dismissed for the first time.

JA Rudolph scored 222* on debut, and 71 in his next innings in his second Test.

The above table shows those with short careers who finished with no dismissal. SG Law scored 54* in his only innings, while his fellow debutant Ricky Ponting (96) went on to better things.

There are a few there who played in 3 Tests. However, the real achievement was that of Aijaz Cheema:


In 7 Tests in 2011-12, he batted in 5 unbeaten innings for a total of 1 run.

We now move on to the related topic of the highest batting averages. Most statistics sources such as Cricinfo give this with a cutoff of 20 innings, as in this:


Which is headed by Bradman (99.94). followed by SPD Smith (64.56) and AC Voges (61.87). The only others with averages over 60 are Graeme Pollochk, George Headley and Herbert Sutcliffe.

But what if we do not have  a minimum number of innings? After Muthusamy and his unbeaten friends, we get:

(On Oct 10, 2019):

Highest batting averages (with no minimum number of innings):

Highest averages (unfiltered)

This is headed by current players KR Patterson and PP Shaw who are expected to play Tests in the future. Next is AG Ganteaume with his average permanently stuck at 112.00. Only then we have Bradman’s 99.94, followed by a couple of 1-Test players in the 90s.  Further down we have SPD Smith (64.56). AC Voges (61.87).

Soon we can expect Ganteaume to be back on top. And RE Redmond who is stuck on 81.50, followed by other 1-Test players such as JK Moss (60.00) and JA Morkel (58.00).