The long and short of it

The first of a series of posts devoted to the railway stations of India (mainly) and other countries. Today we look at stations with long names. There are estimated to be over 7000 railway stations in India where passenger trains stop, and a fair number of others which are only for goods trains. There will be some with long names and some with short names. As we see later, there are others with peculiar names. As most people with some acquaintance with the railways know, the longest station name is this one in Andhra Pradesh between Arakkonam and Renigunta. It is adjacent to the border of Tamil Nadu and is on one of the “Golden Quadrilateral” routes linking Mumbai and Chennai. A few slow passenger trains stop there.

Venkat

This is now sufficiently well known to appear on jokes like this:

Venkat-2

Or this one, though you need to be familiar with the film “300” to appreciate it:

This is Venkat

However, it pales into insignificance before this example from Wales in the UK.

Llanfair

This station is on the main line to the port of Holyhead (for Ireland) and several trains stop there. The name originated as a sort of local joke but the people there thought that the place would become a tourist attraction-as it is indeed the longest station name in the world. Many tourists have their picture taken there. The timetables lists it as Llanfair PG. Incidentally it is close to an air force base where Prince William flew helicopters for a while.

There are a few multi-word stations in India which are quite long, such as this one near Hyderabad:

NPA

The timetables usually list it as NPA Shivarampally, which will send bankers into a panic. It is actually the National Police Academy where IPS officers are trained. Another unlikely-looking candidate is in the suburbs of Chennai:

VOC

This started off as “Tondiarpet Marshalling Yard”, itself quite a mouthful. Later it was named after a well-known freedom fighter. His full name was Valliappan Olaganathan Chidambaram Pillai (1872–1936), popularly known by his initials, V.O.C. (spelt Vaa. Oo.Ce in Tamil), also known as Kappalottiya Tamilan “The Tamil Helmsman”. Of course, the local people are quite happy to call it VOC Nagar. Most of the long names are in Southern India, though the North has a few such as Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj Junction near Indore. I could not get a picture of this, so I have to manage with a clip of the timetable. It  would be the longest-named junction in India.

FTD

North India has some multi-word examples such as Giani Zail Singh Sandhwan. Many of the two-word station names seem to have appeared because the station serves two villages of similar importance and both have to be mentioned. The region around Jaisalmer has many of these:

Jaisalmer

One station near Kharagpur goes a step better with Narayan Pakuria Murail (Flag), the flag indicating that the train stops only when flagged down by the station staff or if a passenger tells the train staff. These seem to occur only in timetables of eastern India. In this particular case the station seemed to be equidistant from three equally important places, so all had to be included.

NPM

Some more examples are seen here, on the Khammam-Vijayawada section of the Golden Diagonal from Delhi to Chennai.

Tondala

Here we see Tondala Gopavaram, which may be the longest two-word station name in Telangana while there is another fairly long one Cheruvumadhavaram across the border in Andhra Pradesh. A little to the north on the same line is Gundratimadugu, maybe the longest one-word name in Telangana. In British times it was Gundrati Margoo.

Earlier the longest one-word station name from Tamil Nadu was Tannirpandalpalayam between Salem and Erode, but it was closed some years ago. The longest name of this kind in Tamil Nadu may be Periyanaikanpalaiyam north of Coimbatore.  Another point of interest in the Chennai region is Senji-Panambakkam. This is not that long but would be of interest to internet users as its code is SPAM.

A few other long ones which need to be expanded are BEML Nagar in Karnataka which relates to Bharat Earth Movers Ltd and JK Puram in Andhra Pradesh which is not connected to the JK industrial group but is Jaggambhotla Kamalapuram. Telangana hits back with Sri Bala Brahmareshwara Jogulamba Halt near Kurnool. I had intended to take up the shortest named stations, but this is already too long and so they go into the next post.

(All pictures used here are copyright of the original owners.)

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2 thoughts on “The long and short of it

  1. There is Wikepedia for Gen Y, and for the others, there’s none other than you Sir…!!!

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