Hidden stories of the Khyber Railway-4

Concluding the series with an attempt to answer the question “Where did the Khyber Railway end?”

Anyone familiar with this line would know that

The line up to Landi Kotal was opened on 3 Nov 1925,

and was extended up to Landi Khana on 3 Apr 1926

and the section from Landi Kotal to Landi Khana was closed on 15 Feb 1932.

There is no mention in the Annual Reports of IR of that period (up to 1931) about any further line being opened beyond Landi Khana

Now see this map (presumably prepared by Bayley and Hearn) which is part of the papers they read at the Institution of Engineers.

Khyber map

Beyond Landi Kotal there is the reversing station of Tora Tigga, and finally the “terminus” at Landi Khana. This too is a reversing station from where a line appears to proceed to a point on the Afghan border.

However, there does not seem to be any explicit mention of the tracks being laid beyond Landi Khana. In their paper it is mentioned that Landi Khana is a reversing station from where there is a short distance to the border.

Richard Wallace, who has studied this line in detail, says that tunnels were built beyond Landi Khana but rails were not laid.

Probably this brief writeup by Andrew Grantham sums it up:

http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/afghanistan/railways/khyber-pass-railway/

In particular: “An alignment was cleared for a extension of the line from Landi Khana to the Afghan border post, although it is uncertain whether any tracks were ever laid on this final section of the route.”

One interesting thing I found was in this map which was part of the 1930 NWR timetable:

NWR-1930 map

This shows “Torra Tigga Nala” beyond Landi Khana. Perhaps this is where the tracks were supposed to end. I have not come across this name anywhere else. It may well be an error connected with Tora Tigga, or the place where the rails were expected to end.

This extract from the 1930 NWR timetable shows the trains running to Landi Khana.

Landi Khana 1Landi Khana 2

It is a little hard to read the footnotes. But they mention that the trains ran 7 days a week (both ways) up to Landi Kotal and continued beyond to Landi Khana on 2 days. In the last days of the Khyber Railway there was one pair of trains a week to Landi Kotal.

Finally-it may not be too difficult to locate the mythical tracks beyond Landi Khana. See this video from 2017 where the visitors walk down to the station from the highway:

 

Even the water column still works!

Closing with old pictures of the station, which must be from before 1932:

Landi Khana campLandi Khana camp-2Landi Khana station

 

Hidden stories of the Khyber Railway-3

Here we look at the abortive line which was started in the 1900s to link Peshawar to Afghanistan, which even had some train service for a short while before it was suspended. The actual line through the Khyber Pass came later.

This gets rather complicated, so I will be giving details of the references for those who are interested in more details.

A quick summary from Andy Grantham here:

http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/afghanistan/railways/kabul-river-and-khyber-pass/

Here is a station list from Fergusson, which covers the Peshawar-Landi Khana section:

Khyber line station lists

The line was completed up to Jamrud in 1901. There was an intermediate station at Kacha Garhi which soon vanished from the timetables. (Islamia College was there until the 1930s).

Main references:

  1. Gun-running and the Indian North-West Frontier by Arnold Keppel (1911), can be found in pahar.in and archive.org   Cheap reprints also available on Amazon etc. It has useful insights on the NWFP in those days. The latter part deals more with the places around the Persian Gulf.
  2. NWFP Administration under British Rule (1901-1919) by Lal Baha, 1978. Found in pahar.in. Chapter 4 deals with railways and roads.

Kacha Garhi is where the new line started. The line to Warsak was completed by 1907 and, according to Keppel’s book, had one pair of trains a day from Peshawar to Warsak. There were also trains from Peshawar to Jamrud, end of the line until 1925.

Here we see the junction at Kacha Garhi, from the Baedeker guide of 1914 (which had become outdated by then):

txu-pclmaps-khyber_pass_1914

This extract from the official railway map of 1906 may be more useful:

Peshawar area 1906

You should be able to just make out the line going north from Kacha Garhi to Warsak and a little beyond.

This extract from 1911 is a little better:

Peshawar area 1911

Here we see the line going north of Kacha Garhi and then turning west. The experts in the government were still divided between going directly west through the Loi Shilman valley into Afghanistan, or by going by a more roundabout route along the banks of the Kabul river. The construction was sanctioned up to a point where the two alternative routes would diverge. But the construction seems to have halted a little beyond the westward turn.

Also there seems to be a wrong place-name here as Skhakot (Flag) is actually the name of a station on the Nowshera-Durgai line (near the latter).

One more map from Keppel’s book:

Peshawar map from Keppel's book

If you look carefully, you will see the line going north from a point between Peshawar and Jamrud, and turning west after reaching the river. That point is Warsak, which can be found on current Pakistan maps on Google Maps etc. The end point of the line is similar to the 1911 map above.

Also note the “other” Warsak further west near the Afghan border, and the projected terminus at Dakka across the border. Briefly, the Loi Shilman route involved a tunnel from this Warsak going further west towards Dakka. The river route can also be imagined here, continuing from the end-point here, up to Palosi and down to some point near Dakka.

Finally, see this from a report on Lord Minto’s time as Viceroy:

Minto note on Loi Shilman route

Coming next-where exactly did the Khyber Railway end?

 

 

 

Rankings in Women’s T20I cricket

Now that the world T20I championship is over, we look at the ICC rankings which take these results into account:

Womens T20I top

Here we see India is 4th, after Australia, England and New Zealand and above semi-finalist South Africa.

An interesting point is that Thailand is ranked 11th, which is creditable as the country has little cricketing tradition. Their men’s team is ranked 66th !

Looking at the bottom of the same table:

Womens T20I top

Four teams (ranked 56 to 59) have zero points. However, Fiji really deserves the bottom position as their team has played 12 matches for zero points. Norway and Mali played 6 matches each and Lesotho 3, so they can be said to be marginally better 🙂

Looking at ODI rankings, India’s women fare a little better:

Womens ODI rank

Here they are ranked second, after Australia but ahead of England and New Zealand.

We also look at individual rankings in T20I as on March 10:

https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/womens/overview

Batting: In the top 10 there are:

3. Shafali Verma

7. Smriti Mandhana

9. Jemimah Rodrigues

Bowling:

6. Deepti Sharma

7. Radha Yadav

8. Poonam Yadav

All-round:

5. Deepti Sharma

 

 

 

 

 

Most sixes, fours and boundary runs in Test innings and matches

We have looked at the highest Test scores without sixes and fours. Now we look at the counterpart-scores with the most sixes, fours and boundary runs in Tests.

A basic reference would be the highest Test innings scores:

Highest innings scores

which most fans are generally aware of, including Sehwag’s 319 in 2008 which is the highest for India

We also look at the lesser-known

Highest Test match scores (adding scores of both innings):

Highest match scores

While everyone knows about Lara’s record of 400* and earlier record-holders such as Hayden, Sobers and Hutton the record scores in a match are not so well known. The record is held by Gooch (456) followed by Mark Taylor (426) and Sangakkara (424). Gooch and Sangakkara are the only ones to score a triple century and century in the same Test. The highest for India is the relatively old 344 (124 and 220) by Gavaskar in 1971.

We now look more closely at fours and sixes:

For Test innings:

Most sixes:

Most sixes in innings

Akram’s 12 6s has been the record since 1996. He took the record from Hammond (10) made back in 1933.

Sidhu and Agarwal also appear from India.

Holder, Stokes and Agarwal all scored 8 6s in an innings in 2019.

It is interesting to compare the record for most sixes in a Test match:

Most sixes in match

The record recently passed to Rohit Sharma with 13 6s in his two centuries against South Africa. Before that, Akram’s 12 (in one innings!) was the match record standing since 1996.

Now we look at the most fours in a Test innings:

Most fours in innings

This record was made over a half-century ago with Edrich’s 52 (plus 5 sixes) against New Zealand in 1965. Next are Sehwag (47 in a score of 293) and Bradman (46 in 334)

The most fours in a Test match:

Most fours in match

Edrich is in third place with 52, after Gooch and VVS Laxman (56 in two innings).

The next question one may ask is regarding the most runs in boundaries in an innings and match. This requires putting the Statsguru results into a spreadsheet for further work. This is what we get:

Most runs in an innings in boundaries:

Most runs in boundaries-innings

Here we see that the most is 238 (out of 310) by Edrich, being (52*4)+(5*6) = 238. Next come Hayden (218/380) and Inzamam (206/329) before two by Sehwag (202/293 and 198/319). Sehwag indeed has 4 of the top 10 entries here!

And finally, the most runs in a match in boundaries:

Most runs in boundaries-match

Edrich’s 238 in one innings is surpassed only by Gooch’s 266 (56*4 + 7*6) in his two centuries . Sangakkara is third with 232 (from 319+105) and VVS Laxman fourth with 224 (from 59+281).

To sum up:

Highest innings: 400* by Lara in 2004

Highest total runs in a match: 456 by Gooch in 1990

Most sixes in an innings (12 in 257*) by Wasim Akram vs Zimbabwe in 1996

Most fours in an innings (52 in 310*) by JH Edrich vs New Zealand in 1965

Most sixes in a match (13 in 176+127) by RG Sharma vs South Africa in 2019

Most fours in a match (56 in 333+123, 56 in 59+281) by GA Gooch (1990) and VVS Laxman (2001) respectively

Most runs in boundaries in an innings (238 = 52*4 +5*6) by JH Edrich in 1965.

Most runs in boundaries in a match (266 = 56*4+7*6) by GA Gooch in 1990

Remember that Gooch’s 456 runs in this match is the most in any Test or indeed any first-class match.

Highest Test scores without fours and sixes

The highest Test scores without any six:

Highest innings without 6

This includes some of the record scores of the past, such as 375, 365*, 364.

The highest for India is 281 by VVS Laxman.

But it is clear that it is not difficult to score 300+ without hitting any sixes.

Now for the highest scores without any four:

Highest innings without 4

The highest is 67 by EAB Rowan, who was a fairly prominent SA batsman of his time.

Next there is 59 by FM Engineer, normally a fast scorer. This was in the first innings of India’s victory at the Oval in 1971.

Others from India include 52 by CPS Chauhan, 42 by Kapil Dev and 40 by Tendulkar.

And finally, the highest scores without any fours or sixes:

Highest innings without 4 or 6

The first three entries are the same as the “no-four” category. After Engineer, others from India include Chauhan (52) and Kapil (42). It is difficult to explain how Kapil restrained himself, as the West Indies bowling in that series was quite poor. Chauhan’s 52 was also in the same Test.

 

 

Most sixes (but no fours) in an innings

While following WI batting against SL in a T20I on Mar 6, one wondered if Russell’s 6 sixes and no fours was a record. It isn’t, but we can see the records here:

T20I most sixes

The devaluation of T20I match records is well under way. However, among “serious” matches the record would be Morgan’s 7 against SA. The next among serious matches would be Russell’s 6.

Let us look at the corresponding records for ODIs:

ODIs-most sixes

Here the record is 6 (less than the T20I record!) by Collingwood and Neesham. Raina is one with 5 sixes. Another  was AD Mascarenhas, who scored 30 of his runs in 5 6s off an over from Yuvraj Singh.

And in Tests, the record is held by one of the rising tailend sloggers from India:

Test-most sixes

Umesh Yadav took over the record jointly held by Nixon Mclean, Flintoff and de Grandhomme. Further down, Keith Miller hit 3 sixes and no fours against India back in 1948. More recently, Southee and Bairstow also did this against India.

CA Walsh’s 18* included three 6s as the only scoring strokes in his 18-ball innings.

From India, others such as Kuruvilla, Shami and Sir Ravindra Jadeja have also tried their hand at this.

Footnote: NAM McLean was better known for his illustrious names (Nixon Alexei McNamara) than for his relatively modest performances.

India had a similar player named Napoleon Einstein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon_Einstein

Hidden stories of the Khyber Railway-2

Another look at the neighborhood, this time from Wikimapia. Can’t say how reliable it is, though it does show the elusive places such as Kacha Garhi and Dakka.

https://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=34.010621&lon=71.511898&z=14&m=w&show=/38342473/ur/%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%82%DB%81-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A6-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%84%DB%8C-%D9%BE%DB%8C-%DA%A9%DB%92-75&search=Peshawar

Start from Peshawar Cantt and move west. The route of the Khyber Railway is shown quite clearly here, unlike in Google Maps.

https://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=34.029616&lon=71.272945&z=14&m=w&show=/38342473/ur/%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%82%DB%81-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A6-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%84%DB%8C-%D9%BE%DB%8C-%DA%A9%DB%92-75&search=Peshawar

Note the two pairs of reversing stations. The one between Landi Kotal and Landi Khana has not seen trains since the 1930s, and saw regular services only from 1926 to 1932.

Also reposting the basic map:

Khyber map

Next, we come to the planned narrow gauge line from Jamrud to Dakka across the border.

It is covered in this earlier post:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/book-on-industrial-locomotives-of-south-asia/

Whatever was done here, no traces of this narrow gauge line have been mentioned by any visitor. The construction of the actual BG line started soon after the 1919 war.

Then there was another abortive project to reach Afghanistan in the 1900s, which actually did see some BG track rapidly constructed and shut down equally rapidly in 1905-1907. That will be in the next post.

 

Cricketer-politicians at various levels

We are generally aware of international cricketers who have been in Parliament. In recent years, there have been Kirti Azad, M Azharuddin, CPS Chauhan and now Gautam Gambhir. For non-international cricketers there are:

Ashwini Minna (FC player for Punjab), who was a potential Test player in the mid-70s and was tried out against various touring teams.

Ultimately he became a journalist, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who had fallen to assassin’s bullets:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/31556.html

He did play some role in the struggle against terrorism in Punjab. And later became a BJP MP from  Karnal (Haryana) in 2014-19. He died earlier this year.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashwini_Kumar_Chopra

Then there is the slightly better-known Laxmi Rattan Shukla, who played in a handful of ODIs in the late 1990s:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/34019.html

He became a TMC MLA in 2016 and is currently West Bengal’s Minister of state  for youth services and sports: http://wbcmo.gov.in/ministers.aspx

(Look around the middle of the list of Ministers of State.)

The last example may be somewhat unexpected. See this clipping from a Hyderabad paper of around 1990:

Asad Owaisi final

Asad Owaisi took 6-79 against Bangalore U.

Look more closely at this clipping:

Asad Owaisi and Prasad

You can see that Venkatesh Prasad, opening bowler of the opposing team, did not do well in this match. Anyway he was to play for India later in the 90s.

Further details of Asad Owaisi’s cricket career are not readily available as he did not play in first-class and List A matches. Some details are mentioned here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asaduddin_Owaisi

(Thanks to Abhijit Sen Gupta for the Hyderabad material).

Finally, there are a few guest appearances.

Anurag Thakur, currently a Minister of State:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/842245.html

Tejashwi Yadav, opposition leader in Bihar:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/344286.html

 

Hidden stories of the Khyber Railway-1

The Khyber Railway may not see trains again. While its basic history is known well enough, there are a couple of planned extensions which may have changed the history of the route if they had been implemented.

We start with the basics, from this “official” map used by Victor Bayley and Gordon Hearn  in a paper presented at the Institution of Engineers in the late 1920s. It can be found in “Couplings to the Khyber” by PSA Berridge:

Khyber map

Not all of these stations appeared in timetables.

The Khyber Railway actually starts from Jamrud, which was the railhead beyond Peshawar Cantt since 1901. Work on the present line started in the 1920s, and the section up to Landi Kotal was opened in 1925 and up to Landi Khana in 1926. While an embankment may have been built up to the border, probably rails were not laid. These are points which are yet unclear and can be established only by visits to the area-if it is safe enough.

The stations listed in timetables are given in the Fergusson lists:

Khyber line station lists

Note Kacha Garhi, we will meet it again soon. It seems to have been in the timetables only around 1910.

As most readers know, passenger trains did run up to Landi Khana up to 1932. Then the ruler of Afghanistan “requested” that this be stopped, and the trains then ran only up to Landi Kotal.

It is unclear how useful the line was for freight. Typically there was a passenger train from Peshawar Cantt to Landi Kotal on one or two days of the week from the 1940s onward. Regular services stopped in 1984, though tourist specials ran on and off until rainstorms washed away large parts of the line in 2006.

Even so, it is still possible to see see remnants of the line and stations (yes, even Landi Khana) if you travel by the road which now sees plenty of goods traffic into Afghanistan.

Next we come to the lesser-known stories connected with the line’s construction.

To begin with:

The official date of opening from Jamrud to Landi Kotal was 3 Nov 1925. and to Landi Khana 3 Apr 1926. Nothing is said about the line beyond Landi Khana.

But Richard Wallace has found evidence that work on the tunnels was continuing even after these dates. Not so surprising, as it is possible to run trains through tunnels where all work has not been completed as long as there is nothing to block the rails.

To be continued.

 

Preview of India-SA ODI series-Mar 2020

India does not have any Tests planned for the rest of the year until their tour of Australia starting in Nov 2020. The caravan now moves on to a 3-match series of ODIs later in March:

Mar 12: Dharmasala

Mar 15: Lucknow

Mar 18: Kolkata

All matches start at 1330 IST.

So far, there have been 84 ODIS between these teams.

India trails 35-46 with 3 no-results.

At home, India leads 15-13 (28 matches)

In South Africa: SA leads 22-10 with 2 NR (34 matches)

At neutral venues: SA leads 11-10 with 1 NR (22 matches)

See the results of ODIs between these teams since 2015:

Ind-SA ODIs

While India’s squad had not been announced by March 4, you can see details of SA’s squad here:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/28819635/maiden-odi-call-george-linde-south-africa-travel-india

 

Long live gerontocracy!

Some basic facts:

Ronald Reagan was born on Feb 6, 1911.

He was sworn in as President on Jan 20, 1981 (69 years 349 days of age) and again on Jan 20, 1985 (73/349). The second occasion was a record for the oldest person to be sworn in as President, though it was for his second term.

Now, it appears that the next President (who will be sworn in on Jan 20, 2021) will be ONE OF the following:

Donald Trump (Jun 14, 1946)

Joseph Biden (Nov 20, 1942)

Bernard Sanders (Sep 8, 1941)-even before Pearl Harbour!

Trump was 70/220 when he was sworn in on Jan 20, 2017. That makes him the oldest to be sworn in as President for the FIRST time (unlike Reagan in 1985). And if he wins this time, he will be sworn in on Jan 20, 2021 at a record of 74/220, several months older than Reagan’s 73/349 in 1985.

And Biden will be still older on that day if he is elected: 78/61.

Sanders will be even older: 79/134.

Long live gerontocracy! as Mahathir Mohamad, Robert Mugabe and others such as Morarji Desai would have said.

So youngsters such as Pete Buttegieg and Tulsi Gabbard would need to be about 40 years older if they are to be taken seriously.

Meanwhile Jimmy Carter (Oct 1, 1924 and President in 1977-81) looks on in his 95th year.

Also see: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2018/05/23/more-about-long-lived-leaders/

Review of NZ-India Test series-2

Hope that you have read Part 1: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2020/03/02/review-of-nz-india-test-series-1/

Continuing with individual performances in

Bowling:

Most wickets (25 and above):

Bowling-25 wkts

Hadlee and Bedi have the highest tally here, with Ashwin having the highest among current players. Southee, Boult and Ishant follow.

Best innings bowling (includes all cases of 7wi and above):

Innins bowl-7wi

None from the current series, though Ashwin and Southee are there from earlier series.

Venkataraghavan’s only 10-for came in his debut series.

Best match bowling (includes all cases of 9wm and above):

Match bowling 9wm

Southee’s 9-wicket haul from this series is there. However the two best performances are by Ashwin in earlier series.

Bowling averages (Min 2000 balls, all instances):

Bowling average

No current player has bowled enough.

Bedi and Gupte have the best averages (though the latter played in only one series).

Nadkarni and Bedi have the best economy rates.

Hadlee and Prasanna have the best strike rates.

Fielding:

Most dismissals (15 and above):

Most dismissals-8

Here we have Watling just ahead of Dhoni. There is also Taylor among non-keepers.

Most innings dismissals (5 and above):

Innings dismissals-5

Watling represents the current players. Incidentally Kirmani’s 6 dismissals was a share in the world record at that time.

Most match dismissals (6 and above):

Match dismissals-6

Here we have Watling’s 7 in the current series. But no non-keeper has taken 6 or more in a match.

Best dismissal rate (Min 20 innings, 0.600):

Dis rate 0.6

Engineer has the top average here, mainly because he was the only keeper who played long enough. The highest averages among non-keepers here are by Fleming and Taylor.

All-round performance (overall, see criteria below):

AR overall

Only Vettori appears here.

All-round match performances (50 and 5wi):

AR match

BR Taylor’s century and 5wi came on his Test debut. No other player from any country has achieved this double. Some, like Southee, have scored a 50 along with 5wi on debut.

However, Congdon and Bracewell have good figures as well.