Return from the dead: the Alnavar-Dandeli line

There are many small branch lines which have closed over the years. A few have been reopened, often after conversion. One such line was the former MG branch from Alanavar to Dandeli, both in north-western Karnataka on the SWR.

It was opened in 1919 by the M&SMR. Passenger traffic was low and it also handled freight from the West Coast Paper mills, served by a siding which took off a little before Dandeli.

The line does not appear in the Bradshaws of 1935 and 1943. Perhaps services were temporarily closed.

This is what we see from the US Army map of 1955:

Alnavar Dandeli map 1955

Here we can see the branch heading to the SW from Alnavar, which is east of Londa.  The stations of Shirgur and Dandeli are seen.

And this is the same area through today’s Google Maps:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Alnavar+Junction/@15.356553,74.6864282,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x3bbf2528c10858ed:0x3ac02d80bdee31fd!8m2!3d15.42441!4d74.73827

Here you can see Shingatgeri and Ambewadi stations, and the line heading to the West Coast Paper mills from the latter. Expand the map if needed.

In timetables of the 1960s, we see

Alnavar; 14 km to Shingatgeri, 22 km to Shirgur Siding Halt and finally Dandeli (32 km). No Ambewadi station.

At this time there are two pairs of passenger trains between Alnavar and Dandeli.

By February 1994, this is what Bradshaw said:

Alnavar Dandeli 1994 001

Services had shrunk to a bare minimum. By then, BG conversion of Miraj to Bangalore had started in earnest and it was not thought worthwhile to convert this MG branch. Freight traffic must have dried up by then. Services were suspended some time in 1994 and nothing was heard from there until recently.

The line was converted to BG up to Ambewadi as well as the paper mills siding. According to a friend who was posted in that area in the mid-2000s, goods trains were running but there were no passenger services on the BG.

Public demand had grown in recent years, with the growth of tourism around Dandeli.

Dandeli toursm

Finally it was decided to convert the line to BG, but only up to a new station called Ambewadi 26 km from Alnavar:

AlnavarAmbewadiambewadi-2

A few days ago, a new passenger train was started between nearby Dharwad and Ambewadi. Here is its timetable:

https://indiarailinfo.com/train/timetable/all/107350/1424/7683

https://indiarailinfo.com/train/timetable/all/107351/7683/1424

The RBS table for this branch:

Alnavar Dandeli distance map

There are not many short branches which have been revived after being in a coma for 25 years.