Long quiz-Sep 2020

  1. What is special about this station?

2. What is special about the BG siding here?

3. What is unusual about these two station signs? Explain.

4. What additional language is on this sign?

5. This is often labelled as “Nawab Station”, although no such name is in the timetable. Which station is this?

6. With luck, you may be able to get tuna at Tuni station. But there was another station called Tuna in the past. In which present-day state is it?

7. Bengali travelers can try to get fish at this station restaurant. Which state or province is it in?

8. Many clocks at stations and other public places were supplied by P. Orr & Sons of Madras. This small station is far from Madras. In which state?

9. Consider these two pairs of stations:

9A

and 9B:

What do the pair in 9A have in common with the pair in 9B?

10. What is unusual about this station which is not in India?

11. This shows the abandoned station which used to be a ferry terminal as well as being adjacent to a zonal headquarters until the mid-60s. Name it.

12. The fate of Dhanushkodi is well known. But you can still see the remains of it. A small terminus in the North-East was less fortunate as it fell into the Brahmaputra after an earthquake in the 1950s. Which was it?

ANSWERS:

The best response was by Biswarup Basu. Honourable mention to Ganesh Iyer and Bharat Parashar:

  1. Kot Kapura is the northern most point of metre gauge in India. It was connected by MG to Bathinda and Fazilka, which are to its south.
  2. The Tirap siding is beyond Ledo, and is the eastern most point of IR in India. BG goods trains run there. Further east there is the abandoned MG line to Lekhapani. There are also non-IR industrial lines nearby.
  3. The normal practice is to have the state’s official language on top. In Nagaland (Dimapur) and Mendipathar (Meghalaya), English script is used for official purposes so it is on top.
  4. Dogri language, which is one of the 22 official languages.
  5. This is a part of Rampur station (between Bareilly and Moradabad in UP). This platform had been used for the royal train of the Nawab of Rampur. The dilapidated platform and coaches are probably still there.
  6. In Gujarat, on an abandoned portion of the Cutch State Railway.

7. Balochistan, at the foot of the Bolan Pass going to Quetta. This station, like Karjat, is the base for banking locomotives for uphill trains.

8. Madhya Pradesh, on the Kota-Bina section.

9. These are connected with unusual gauges which were not used anywhere else on IR. The Arconum-Conjeevaram line was initially constructed with 3’6″ and was soon converted to metre gauge, and finally to broad gauge more recently. The Azimganj-Nalhati section was initially constructed with 4’0″ and was soon converted to broad gauge. This loco was converted at the same time and can still be seen at the National Rail Museum.

10. Quasba (Kamalasagar until the late 40s) is in Bangladesh on the main line from Akhaura to Chattogram. It is practically on the border with India and trains can easily be observed from the Indian side.

11. Pandu, on the south bank of the Brahmaputra. A ferry service from Aminigaon ran there until the mid-1960s. The NF zone headquarters was initially here and later moved to Maligaon.

12. Saikhowa Ghat, on a branch from Makum. This branch now terminates at Dangari.

 

If at first you don’t succeed……

 

You may aspire to winning a Nobel Prize. But you may have to be satisfied with an Ig-Nobel Prize.

And there is at least one person who won an Ig-Nobel Prize before getting a Nobel Prize a decade later:

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

especially this bit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Geim#Ig_Nobel

Similarly, if you cannot reach Singapore during the lockdown you can go to:

This place in Odisha was once listed as Singapore Road. Later it became Singapuram Road before settling on its present name.

If you cannot reach Kuala Lumpur, there is

This is in the hills of southern Assam.

If you want to visit the capital of New Zealand, there is

in the Nilgiris. Both are named after the same person.

Riga is the capital of Latvia in Europe. For this we have one in Bihar:

This Riga was of some interest to steam enthusiasts, as you can see above.

If you wish to venture further to Dundee in Scotland, there is

near Jabalpur in MP.

Not sure if you really want to go to Accra in Ghana. For that, we have this place near Kolkata:

A smaller country in Africa is called Guinea-Bissau. For that we have Bissau in Rajasthan:

However, you have to draw the line somewhere. If you are going to Jakarta and you are sent to this place instead, you should not accept it.

This is in one of the more remote parts of Uttarakhand, where the Special Frontier Force roams. Even the elite troops of the Mukti Bahini trained here in 1971.

 

Quick quiz-Place names with initials.

Try to find the full forms of these place names. Google may help in some cases:

  1. An easy one to start with. What is Wimco?
?????????????

2. Which station? And what important railway facilities are there?

3. What is DMW?

4. What does DAV stand for?

5. What is WRS? and which city is nearby?

6. This is not in West Bengal, but in another state where Bengali is the main language. What does S.K. stand for?

ANSWERS BELOW:

  1. WIMCO stands for the Western India Match Company, a long-standing MNC which was taken over by ITC in the 2000s. The main factories were in Ambernath and Chennai (which had this station which remains after the factory was closed).
  2. NKJ= New Katni Jn. A major electric loco shed is nearby (with locos marked NKJ). There is also a diesel loco shed nearby with locos marked “Katni”.
  3. Diesel Loco Modernization Works at Patiala. It was earlier known as Diesel Component Works, which had the initials DCW. https://dmw.indianrailways.gov.in/
  4. There are DAV colleges and schools in many towns in northern India. This stands for Dayanand Anglo Vedic. There is also a halt station for DAV College Jalalabad, a smaller town in Punjab.
  5. The Wagon Repair Shop colony in Raipur.
  6. Sindhu Kumar Para in Tripura. It is not clear why a relatively short name like this needs initials.

The quickest good responses were from Ganesh Iyer and Pavel Ghosh.

Place names with initials

We have now covered places whose commonly used names include initials. The initials may not always be obvious.

A Maharashtrian passing BG Nagar may think it was named after Bal Gangadhar Tilak. JK Puram in Andhra Pradesh has nothing to do with the JK Singhania group, but is Jaggambhotla Kamalapuram. There are numerous TTs in Mumbai which refer not to table tennis but Tram Terminuses. (Not termini, though only some words ending with -us end in i)

Let us look at some station names which include initials:

Most of you should be clear as to what the initials stand for.

In some cases the initials are spelt out:

But there are some which are more difficult to decipher. We shall see more of these.

More mysteries in Karnataka

After solving the mystery of T-Sakibanda , the Special Investigative Team turned its attention to mysterious names in Karnataka. They are relatively new, as they came up in the last decade on the Bengaluru-Hassan line via Shravanabelagola. We first take up B.G. Nagar station:

All the languages mention only the initials B.G. Looking in the map of the surroundings, there is no immediate clue to the full form of B.G. Nagar.

There is however the BGSIT or BGS Institute of Technology nearby:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/BGS+INSTITUTE+OF+TECHNOLOGY/@12.9651433,76.7262857,16z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x3bafeed69801ae53:0xa9dd86aab57869ad!8m2!3d12.9651433!4d76.7284744

The institute’s website http://www.bgsit.ac.in/ indicates that its name is in commemoration of a person named

Sri Sri Sri Dr.Balagangadharanatha Maha Swamiji

Founder President, Sri Adichunchanagiri Matt

So now you know what the B.G. stands for. You could not expect the full name to come on the station sign. Case closed.

Our next visit is to D. Samudhravalli, further west after Shravanabelagola.

Here you can see that D is followed by a full stop. What does D stand for?

The station is at a place called Samudravalli while D Samudravalli is another place which is not on the railway.

That still does not help us.

By googling for Samudravalli, we identify a nearby place called B Samudravalli.

It looks like there are different places called A, B, C and D Samudravalli as it needs to be administered in four parts.

Case closed.

The Special Investigative Team is looking for more such cases to study. So far they could find BEML Nagar and VOC Nagar which are easy to expand. So some more place names with odd initials will have to be identified.

The mystery of T-Sakibanda

The station of T-Sakibanda lies between Guntakal and Ballari. It is in Anantapur district of Rayalseema region of Andhra Pradesh and close to the Karnataka border.

https://indiarailinfo.com/station/map/t-sakibanda-tkbn/5177

Note the peculiar spelling of T-Sakibanda. Not like the better known Tsunduru elsewhere in Andhra Pradesh. The hyphen after the T is clearly shown in this sign for all three languages.

Even the local map does not throw light on this:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/T+Sakibanda/@15.162225,77.1762175,17z/data=!4m12!1m6!3m5!1s0x3bb6e59021aaaaab:0xfbacafc56bc15ed7!2sGuntakal+Railway+Junction!8m2!3d15.1755264!4d77.3667171!3m4!1s0x3bb71d91288ded59:0xd9664510b32d1c8f!8m2!3d15.1632802!4d77.1779197

Could it be a word like Tehsil or Taluk? Such words would normally be spelt out in a place name (e.g. Tahsil Bhadran, Kasur Tahsil). Anyway, in AP we have divisions and mandals.

From Google we get another T Sakibanda in faraway YSR (Kadapa) district. This has an alternative spelling of Chaki Banda (just like Chunduru for Tsunduru). Perhaps that is the explanation. But why the hyphen? Was someone fond of T-series cassettes or perhaps T-bone steaks?

Partly inspired by this book: https://www.amazon.in/Bermuda-Triangle-Mystery-Solved/dp/0879759712

200 or more in last first-class match

These are the players who scored 200 or more in their last first-class match in the 2017 season or earlier.

# = Test player

Arranged in order of scores.

313* SS Agarwal 2013

241* AH Bakewell # 1936

220 NF Mitchell 1926-27

217 RC Fredericks # 1982-83

207 NF Callaway 1914-15 (Only f-c match and innings)

207 IJ Siedle # 1936-37

206 PA de Silva # 2002 (In a Test).

203* ND McKenzie # 2014-15

200* AC MacLaren # 1922-23

200* Moin Khan # 2005-06

Main reference: https://stats.acscricket.com/Records/First_Class/Overall/Batting/Hundred_in_Last_Match.html

More about SS Agarwal:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/player/454685.html

and the match in which he scored his farewell century:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/18121/scorecard/601764/cambridge-university-vs-oxford-university-varsity-match-university-match-2013

While he played all his first-class cricket in England, he had earlier studied at the Doon School in Dehradun (the class of 2009).

Smaller cities with multiple stations

We know there are many station names which include the names of cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru etc. Also the next level of cities like Agra, Kanpur and Prayagraj. Moving down the scale:

Hathras, UP:

Chennai’s suburb of Perambur:

Still in Chennai-the lesser known suburb of Pattabiram:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ernakulam, part of Kochi:

And this semi-ghost station which you can still visit:

Kalyani near Kolkata:

Katni in MP:

This is supposed to be illustrative and not comprehensive. Other not-so-large cities with 3 or more stations can be thought of, such as Salem, Bareilly etc

Common names in India and Pakistan

The two Hyderabads are well known:

Older timetables mention these as Hyderabad (Deccan) and Hyderabad (Sind). I could not find pictures of these older signs.

Then there is Gujarat state in India and this place in Pakistan’s Punjab:

Sheikhpura in Bihar and in Pakistan’s Punjab:

Here the one in Pakistan is more important, as it has held Test matches.

You should also know that this is where Shakepeare is from. Do not believe the Tamilians who say he was Seshappa Iyer.

Kartarpur in India’s Punjab and Pakistan’s Punjab:

The latter one is the one which is more famous now.

Kutch district in India and Babar Kachh in Baluchistan:

Now the outskirts of Delhi and the outskirts of Lahore:

At the end, we have Ziro in Arunachal and Zero Point in Sind. The latter has been renamed Marvi more recently.

Afterthought: Gadra Road station on the way to Munabao used to serve Gadra town in Sind about 15 km away across the border.

The Inter-Railway junctions of 1963

The Indian Railways had 17 zones at last count. Life was simpler in the past. In 1963 there were only 8 zones as the SCR was yet to come.

The All-India timetables of those days used to carry a list of Inter-Railway junctions. It was quite a long list, but it was swollen by the 9 Non-Government light railways which had their space at the end of the timetable. In the timetable of October 1963 they were:

  Dehri Rohtas Light Railway (DR)

Arrah Sasaram Light Railway (AS)

Futwah Islampur Light Railway (FI)

Howrah Amta Light Railway (HA)

Howrah Sheakhala Light Railway (HS)

Shahdara Saharanpur Light Railway (SS)

Ahmadpur Katwa Light Railway (AK)

Burdwan Katwa Light Railway (BK)

Bankura Damodar River Railway (BD)

For more about them you can see these earlier blogposts:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/the-non-government-railways-of-india-in-1964-and-what-happened-to-them/

and

 https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/11/19/the-non-government-railways-of-the-1940s/

Here you can see the list of junctions given in the All-India Timetable

Note that the ones in bold type are the ones between regular zones. Some comments are given on the right.

Many changes occurred over the years, starting with the formation of the South Central Railway in 1966 with two divisions of CR and two of SR. A further adjustment was made between CR and SC in the 1970s. And the great reorganization of 2002-2003 brought the number of zones to 16 (though the Konkan Railway is not a zone) and then 17 when the Kolkata Metro became a zone.

And all the light railways were either closed or incorporated into the main zones.

Balharshah was not an inter-railway junction prior to 1966, but now it is.

Raichur had been an inter-railway junction right from the 1870s, but now it is not.

Waltair/VSKP remains an inter-railway junction since the east coast line was opened in the 1900s.

Kuchaman Road itself is closed when the route was re-aligned to be further away from the Sambhar Lake. Then the WR and NR joined at Phulera. And when the NWR was formed, there was no need for an inter-zone junction there.

One more point is that there were many junctions between the NR and NER in UP. At that time NER was almost entirely metre gauge. In most cases there were separate stations and station codes for the NR (BG) and NER (MG) stations. For example, Bareilly Jn was BE for NR and BRY for NER.

Covid-19: The quest for #1 position

Note: this draws upon the site https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

First we look at the “Total cases” at around 1100 hours on 10 Sep:

Global: 28027 K or 28.0 Million

  1. USA 6549 K or 23.4%

2. India 4466

3. Brazil 4199

4. Russia 1041

5. Peru 703

Next we look at the “Daily new cases” for 09 Sep:

Global: 287 K

  1. India 95 or 33.1%

2. USA 35

3. Brazil 34

4. Argentina 12

5. Spain 9

Now we see that while India is in 2nd place in total cases, it has a daily increase much higher that that of the US and is set to overtake the latter.

By simple linear extrapolation , we see that

India will overtake the US and have the #1 position in total cases on or about 15 October.

At this time, the global total cases will be 38.1 million

India and the USA will have both reached 7.77 million cases, and India will continue to be #1 as its growth rate is much higher than its “competitors”.

Now let us go to the “Number of deaths”:

Global number of deaths is 908 K on the morning of 10 Sep.

  1. USA 195 or 21.5%

2. Brazil 129

3. India 75

4. Mexico 69

5. UK 42

And the number of “Daily new deaths” on 09 Sep:

Global 6227

  1. USA 1209 or 19.4%

2. India 1168

3. Brazil 1136

4. Mexico 703

5. Argentina 253

Here, India will not be able to reach more than its present 3rd place, since its growth rate is just above that of Brazil’s and this cannot overtake Brazil in a short period. And the US has a higher growth rate, and thus cannot be overtaken by India or any other country in a short period.

To sum up: India is:

#2 in total cases, soon going to #1

#1 in daily new cases

#3 in total deaths

#2 in daily death rates (but close to #1 and #3).

So is there any parameter where India is not doing well? Yes, because of India’s larger population. India is likely to have a higher population than China by the end of this decade.

Per Capita cases (per million):

Global: 3600/M

  1. Qatar 43000

2. Bahrain 34000

3. French Guiana 31400

Here India is 86/215 with 3200 cases per million, below the global average.

Per capita deaths (per million):

Global 117/M

  1. San Marino 1240

2. Peru 920

3. Belgium 860

(Note that San Marino has a population well below 1 million)

Here India is 83/215 with 54 deaths per million, again below the global average.

It would be nice to be in pole position for all these parameters, but one cannot have everything.

Places with bad names-3

 

(NOT for those who are easily offended)

This may seem like an innocuous name board, but some will find it amusing:

It would be linked to this place in Pune:

Then there are places like this:

Not sure about the etymology of this place name. However, this is also the name of a tribe in North-east India:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chutia_people#Language

They are a proud people with a long history. You will still see name boards like this:

and

As you may guess, as the usage of Hindi picked up in Assam people tried to avoid using their tribe’s name. For example, the town of Chutiapara near Guwahati was renamed:

 

Finally, we look at names which would amuse Westerners:

This one is in Andhra Pradesh:

There is another one in Tamil Nadu. It is somewhat larger, but does not have a railway station:

Earlier posts on similar topics:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/places-with-bad-names-1/

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/places-with-bad-names-2/