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/

Where passenger trains do not stop (2019)

Earlier we looked at stations where train services no longer exist:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/where-trains-do-not-run-any-more/

Here are some apparently full-fledged and manned stations where no passenger service exists in the timetables. There are various reasons why this could happen.

The examples in this post are certainly not an exhaustive list.

We start with this station in the middle of Jaipur:

Bais Godam.jpg

This lies south of Jaipur Jn on the way to Sawai Madhopur. It was in the timetables up to the early 90s. Now it is an active station which has the main yard for storing rakes of long distance trains based in Jaipur. But it is not in the timetable.

Near Hyderabad we have:

Pagidipalli

Pagidapalli looks like a real station. And it is a junction where the line to Nalgonda and Nadikude branches off from the Hyderabad-Kazipet line. But no passenger service has ever existed since it was opened around 1990.

Closer to Hyderabad there is:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hussain Sagar was a small junction mentioned in the timetables of the 1970s. Now the outlines of the platforms can be seen, but only the cabin still functions.

In Goa:

Dudhsagar was once in the timetable when it the Londa-Vasco section was MG. After conversion to BG a new platform was built as a viewing point. No passenger services are scheduled to stop at either, though unscheduled stops are common. Tourists make good use of these stops, even though leopards and other animals are known to roam the area.

No passenger train has scheduled stops at any point between Kulem and Castle Rock. Other stations on this section include this pair:

However, they have long sidings to cater to crossings of goods trains.

Sonaulim has somehow become Sonalium, which sounds like an exotic metal.

On the way from Kalyan to Igatpuri, the semi-stations of Thansit and Oombermali/Umbarmali have existed for decades but never appeared in timetables. Many trains (including EMUs going to Kasara) did stop there for technical purposes. Finally in 2018 they have become full stations:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/umbarmali-thansit-are-now-official-stoppages-for-trains-on-kalyan-kasara-line/story-VUuNtbJMc6Wt1mijYEEBDP.html

The stations have been improved, including new signboards which greet the EMUs between CSTM and Kasara which now have scheduled stops.

 

Umbarmali

Another station which had passenger services up to the 2000s was Singareni Collieries. It still has goods traffic. It is locally known as Yellandu station and is marked thus on Google Maps, although railway documents still mention the former station with code SYI. (These are screenshots from videos of news reports on Telugu channels).

Singareni2Singareni3

One more is Hubballi South:

Hubballi South

As you can see, the sign has recently been repainted as the name was changed from Hubli South. But no passenger train has been scheduled there for years.

Chakrakhwal is between Udhampur and Katra. Most trains stop there for crossing purposes in the middle of a single line section of 25 km. But these stoppages are not listed in the timetable.

This is in an unpopulated area. The station was located here as it was in the only flat area of a suitable length between the two stations.

Chakrakhwal

Finally, a near miss. This oddly-named cabin serves as an important junction near Salem, where the line to Bengaluru (besides Mettur Dam) takes off from the Coimbatore-Chennai route.

Magnesite

For a short period in 2017-18 one passenger train stopped at Magnesite Jn in one direction. Now that has vanished from the timetable.

Our last stop is at Kanpur, with a tangled web of stations:

Kanpur stations

We know Kanpur Central and perhaps Kanpur Anwarganj. But many residents of Kanpur have never seen the original Cawnpore which was built in the 1850s and served as the main station until around 1930, when Kanpur Central was built on the way to Lucknow. A loop line then connected Kanpur Central to the old line. The old Kanpur station (at the bottom of the map) saw no more passenger traffic, although goods trains continued to pass it:

Kanpur (old)

It can be easily visited, but you will have to approach by road.

More odd station signs around India

(Copyright of the pictures rest with the respective photographers)

If one looks at the use of words in English, Hindi and other languages on station signs then many inconsistencies can be found. Here are samples from different parts of the country.

North Lakhimpur

We start with this place in a somewhat remote part of Assam. North is transcribed into Hindi, but one can make out that it is “Uttor” in Assamese.

It is a normal practice to use the Hindi word “Chhavni” for Cantonment. Not everywhere. Here are two examples from Karnataka, where both Chhavni and Hindi Cantonment are used:

Our next stop is the station formerly known as Chakki Bank and now Pathankot Cantt. See the Hindi and Punjabi signs at the same station:

Hope the concerned persons have made up their mind now.

Similarly at Nellore South where both Dakshin and Hindi South are/were used:

(Can someone clarify what is written in Telugu?)

Elsewhere in South India, a standard pattern for Hindi words is not followed:

bengaluru eastkannur southernakulam townernakulam jncoimbatore north

Note that South and Town have been transcribed (not translated) into Malayalam. (Can someone clarify what is written in Kannada for Bengaluru East?)

Various forts:

ankai killachennai fortbekal fort

In Chennai, the Tamil word has been transcribed into Hindi. In Ankai Killa, the suffix is in Hindi unlike in the other places.

Now to some well-known stations in Assam which are now closed:

Lower Haflong closedHaflong Hill

The words Lower and Hill have been transcribed into Hindi and Assamese.

There are many “New” stations on the NF zone, but only one “Old”:New Cooch BeharNew TinsukiaOld Malda

Here the words New and Old have been transcribed into Hindi, Bengali and Assamese.

But for variety we have:

New Amravati is in Maharashtra, hence the top line is supposed to be in Marathi.

Our last stop is at Agra, which has Cantt, Fort and City:

Agra FortAgra CityAgra Cantt

Here at least a consistent pattern has been followed.

But you can see that the usage of English words in Hindi and other languages is quite arbitrary all over the country.