Vanished routes of the Indian Railways since 1975-Part 1-Former CR

The route maps of the Indian Railways have undergone major changes since 1975.Construction of new lines, large-scale gauge conversion and the upgrading of many hitherto minor routes have all taken place.

Here we start with the All-India Time Table of November 1975 and see which lines have vanished from the passenger timetable.

The timetable was arranged in alphabetical order, so we start with the Central Railway as it then was.

Note that we are here using scans of scans, so some of the old timetables may not be as legible as we would wish.

CR1975-1 001

T 17: Majri-Rajur: The section between Majri and Wani is now part of the longer route from Majri to Pimpalkuti, Adilabad and beyond. Rajur still has goods services but not passenger services.

T19: Tadali-Ghugus: No passenger services, still has goods services.

CR1975-2 001

T22, 22A: Note the local trains between Pune and Dehu Road Depot, which is on a branch from Dehu Road. Passenger trains on this branch stopped long ago.

Note the footnote (for Contractor’s Labour, Military Department’s Workmen and Staff).

The future of some narrow gauge lines such as Murtazapur-Achalpur are uncertain at the moment.

Next comes ER (including suburban services).

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.

 

Bypasses of the Indian Railways

Many important stations of the Indian Railways have bypasses. These are used to reduce congestion, and especially where a reversal is eliminated.

While some are used mainly by goods trains, there is an increasing trend for more large junctions to be bypassed. In most cases a smaller station nearby is used as the “proxy” for long-distance trains to stop. Examples are Perambur for a few trains which skip MAS, Sevagram for Wardha Jn, Uslapur for Bilaspur, Pathankot Cantt (ex Chakki Bank) for Pathankot.

Here is a pdf file for all of the bypassed stations which I could think of. Additions and corrections are welcome.

Let us not consider “area bypasses” such as Vasai Road-Panvel or Gudur-Renigunta-Katpadi or Kharagpur-Asansol.

Bypasses on IR1

Perhaps we can think of a few more places where bypasses would be useful, such as Sawai Madhopur.

Trivia: the first custom-built bypass was probably the one at Shoranur which was commissioned in the early 1940s. Others which came up over the years due to realignments etc would be Allahabad-Chheoki and Podanur, (Yes, I know that the lines around Coimbatore have a complex history).

The Jodhpur State Railway of 1943

Apart from the North Western Railway, the Jodhpur State Railway was split between India and Pakistan after Partition.

From a Bradshaw of 1943, we see that JoSR covered in four pages:

Jodhpur State railway 1943-1

Jodhpur State railway 1943-2

Readers from India will be familiar with the extensions and conversions on the Indian side. The lines which went to Pakistan are highlighted on the first two pages.

The line from Hyderabad to Mirpur Khas was converted in the late 1960s, and further to link with the Indian BG system in 2006. A new station (Zero Point) was built exactly on the Pakistani side of the border, between Khokhropar and Munabao.

The Thar Express covers the stretch from Munabao to Zero Point, with connecting points to Bhagat-ki-Kothi (near Jodhpur) and Karachi plus intermediate stops at Mirpur Khas and Hyderabad.

The other metre gauge lines shown in the first two pages were never converted and appear to be closed. A PR timetable of the early 2000s showed weekly trains on the Pithoro loop and one every 15 days on the Nawabshah branch.

The line to Zahidan has around the same frequency, but it still survives in the hope that it will be useful for Pakistan-Iran trade.

Which name is correct?

In some stations, the signs at different places show different names:

SakleshpurSakaleshpur

Sakleshpur is supposed to the correct spelling.

I have seen signs of Hafizpet and Hafizpeta coexisting.

And in Chennai:

 

Washermanpet is listed in official sites. And the Hindi signs seem to agree.

Chromepet is the official name, which is logical as there is or was the Chrome Leather Factory nearby. But today all signs gave been changed:

Chrompet

More peculiar is the station which is listed as Dalhousi Road (which is wrong as the town and the Governor-General were spelt Dalhousie). And the station sign is more correct than the official listing:

Dalhousie Road

Finally, the official name is Atari, but signs mainly show Attari:

To make things more confusing, the Punjab government has renamed the station Atari Shyam Singh in 2015, though it appears that the Centre has not approved of this .

Similarly, you will still see Allahabad and not Prayagraj. (There are also Prayag Jn and Prayag Ghat which are different). There are numerous photoshopped pictures of the new signs on the net, but no genuine pictures of the new signs where Prayagraj has replaced Allahabad.

(While on this topic, note the continued existence of IIT Madras, IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta).

Tail piece: note the mismatch between Hindi and Bengali here:

Nangi

 

India’s ghost airports

Every now and then (since the 1970s if not earlier) we have been hearing about the upcoming revolution in Indian aviation. After all, India is supposed to be the ultimate aviation market, and to help in that end there are literally hundreds of ghost airports which are practically unused.

Here is a news item from 2015. Not much has changed since then.

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/ludhiana-to-cooch-behar-an-inside-look-at-indias-ghost-airports

This may also be of interest:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/a-slice-of-history-indian-airlines-in-1972-and-the-tripura-hopper/