South Asian maps of 1910

Anyone dabbling in the geography of the past should be aware of the legendary Perry-Castaneda collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Unlike other institutions of this type, they have made an effort to put up much of their material online for anyone to see without a fee.

The general introduction: https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/

The Asian section: http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/asia.html

There is a lot of material of interest to those who are interested in seeing what South Asia was like in the past. For the moment, we take up the maps taken from the Baedeker guide to India and the neighborhood published in 1914:

http://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/baedeker_indien_1914.html

Baedeker largely concentrated on Europe, but did bring out this guide in 1914 (just before the Great War). The Murray handbooks were more specialized works concentrating on India, Burma and Ceylon in greater detail.

Though this guidebook is dated 1914, it does show some things which had ceased to exist by 1910 and thus it may be a little out of date. But it can be taken as accurate for approximately 1905-1910. I am concentrating on the railway-related material showing how some lines and stations in undivided India have changed from c.1910 to today.

While clicking on the above link, you get a list of maps. Click on the one you are interested in. I have added comments wherever I could:

Aden: Included as it was governed from India from 1839 to 1937. Today it is part of Yemen. Also, most passenger and cargo ships going from Europe to South Asia stopped there. This continued well into the 1960s. There was even a small railway system there under the NWR which functioned from 1916 to 1929, so it does not appear here.

Many South Asians worked there even after it was detached from India. For instance, Dhirubhai Ambani spent most of the 1950s working at a petrol station there. Mukesh was born there, though Anil was not.

Agra: this had the most complicated layout for any South Asian city of its size, particularly as several railway companies were involved. “Jail station” seems to be the present Billochpura. And one wonders if it was then possible to see the Taj Mahal on the north-south route. You still get a good view while approaching Agra Fort from the east, which most trains from eastern India do.

Ahmedabad: Note Ellisbridge station which was in the timetable up to the 1940s. It is now known as Gandhigram, which briefly served as a metre gauge terminus in recent years.

Bangalore: Much simpler than the present.

Bei Dakka: The Peshawar-Kabul route as of then. The railway ended at Jamrud which was reached in 1901. The Nowshera-Dargai narrow gauge line is complete. The road to Landi Kotal and thence to Dakka (then an important Afghan fort) and Jalalabad can be seen, though the India-Afghanistan border does not seem to be marked. We will return to another map of the Peshawar area shortly.

Benares: the present Varanasi Jn was Benares Cantt Jn until the 1940s, if not longer. Locals still refer it to Cantt station. Varanasi City was an insignificant station on the metre gauge, and has not gained much today even after gauge conversion. Manduadih has now become the main secondary terminus.

Bombay: Note the terminus at Colaba. All long-distance and local trains of the BBCI used to start from there. It was even electrified for the local trains in the 1920s. By 1930 Bombay Central was opened for long-distance services, locals started from Churchgate and the Railways gained some valuable real estate. Housing for railway officers now stands on the area where Colaba station stood.

The harbour branch had not started from the VT end, and Mazagon station was replaced by Sandhurst Road station a little south of it a few years after the map was created. The high-level station and the harbour branch came up along with electrification in the 1920s.

Part of the Bombay Port lines can be seen.

Calcutta: Howrah and Shalimar are seen on the west bank of the Hooghly. We also see the Calcutta Port lines which are now part of the Circular line.

These lines run along the east bank to Chitpur and Sealdah as well, but were not used for regular passenger services until the end of the 20th century.

Environs of Delhi: No New Delhi station, as New Delhi did not exist then. Nizamuddin station is there, as well as Kilokri station between Nizamuddin and Okhla which vanished from the timetables long ago. It used to be the border betwen the GIPR and NWR. Much later Tuglakhabad became the border between NR and CR, while today Palwal is the border betwen NR and NCR.

The alignment between Ajmeri Gate (near New Delhi) and Tuglakhabad has changed considerably. In the old map the line ran west of Purana Qila and Humayun’s Tomb. Now it runs to the east of these landmarks. Probably the present Nizamuddin station corresponds to Kilokri while the old Nizamuddin lies somewhere in Nizamuddin West.

(Thanks to Jishnu Mukerji for filling in some of these details about Delhi).

Delhi (Modern): A misnomer as not much modernisation had occurred when the map was made, which must have been before the capital moved there in 1911. Note Garstin Bastion which gave its name to the infamous GB Road. That is now officially called Swami Shraddanand Marg.

Fathpur Sikri: No railway here, as the Agra-Bayana section was opened in 1913.

Gwalior: The narrow gauge lines to Shivpuri (Sipri), Sheopur Kalan and Bhind can be seen. They can be distinguished from the main BG line which has a thicker marking.

Hyderabad: The network in this section has hardly changed. The Husain Sagar triangle is in place.

Jaipur: Hardly any railway to be seen. The Delhi-Ahmedabad line is in place. Then, as now, you have to go south from Jaipur station and later turn north to reach Delhi and Agra.

Khaibar Pass: The terminus has been at Jamrud since 1901, so the future Khyber Railway actually started from there. Of more interest is the line going north from the long-forgotten Kachi Garhi Junction between Peshawar Cantt and Jamrud, which was the first attempt to reach the Afghan frontier. It ran up to Warsak on the Kabul river from approximately 1905 to 1907. This is probably the most obscure line which ever existed on the NWR.

While Kachi Garhi is difficult to find on the map now, it was known in recent years as a major camp for refugees from Afghanistan. Several members of Afghanistan’s cricket team have said that they learnt the game at this camp.

From contemporary sources, there was one train a day from Peshawar to Jamrud and another to Warsak. These were nicknamed the “Flying Afridi”. Some construction was in progress beyond Warsak in a western direction, when the project was abandoned and the existing lines pulled up in c.1907. More details about this aborted project can be seen here: http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/afghanistan/railways/kabul-river-and-khyber-pass/

You can also see various points betwen Jamrud and Landi Kotal, where the Khyber line was finally built in the mid-1920s

Lahore: Note Lahore Cantt (West) which is now Lahore Cantt, and Lahore Cantt (East) which is now Moghalpura. Also note the chord line connecting them, which must have been used for locos and rolling stock going to Moghalpura besides goods trains. Apparently this was not used by passenger services under normal circumstances.

The two stations mentioned above were recorded as Meean Meer East and Meean Meer West in older records.

Lucknow: The main station is indeed at Charbagh though the larger station buildings came up in the mid-1920s. The site of Dilkusha cabin is clearly seen.

Madras: Most of the main lines are in place, except the Korukkupet-Veysarpadi link. Note Moore Market which was the site of the suburban terminus much later. Also note the proximity of Park station to the jail. There was at least one instance in recent years where a group of prisoners scaled the wall and made their getaway by local trains. It was only after that that full-time police sentries were posted on the platforms.

Nuwara Eliya (Ceylon): The old narrow gauge line is seen here, though it closed in the 1940s.

Port Said (Egypt): It is here as most ships stopped here before entering the Suez Canal.

Red Sea: Again, it is here since most ships from Europe to South Asia stopped here. The stoppages included Port Said, Port Sudan and Aden. One can see that an enemy could easily disrupt shipping this area, particularly in the choke point of the Bab el-Mandeb.

South Asia: A good overview. If you know a bit of German, the legends in the top right and bottom left corners may be of interest. Not quite sure why they have added Ireland to this map.

The shipping routes to Bombay and Karachi are marked. Gwadar is just out of view here. It is often forgotten that it was an exclave of Oman and became part of Pakistan only in 1957.

Suez Canal: On the route. Look carefully for the railway running almost parallel to the west bank of the canal. Also note Ismailia, which is where airships were to stop on their way from Britain to Karachi. This did not materialize after the R-101 crashed in 1930. The giant airship hangar at Karachi remained in place until the 1960s. A small station called Airship Halt existed there at one time.

 

 

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Food on rails

You may have already read about fruit on rails:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/fruit-on-rails/

Today we explore some more station names associated with food. (This is mainly confined to Hindi and Bengali speaking areas, and there are probably other names which I have missed).

We start with food itself:

Khana

Muri (or murmura in Hindi):

Muri Jn

which rhymes with

Puri

Non-vegetarians would be interested in this:

Bheja

Other items of interest:

Machilipatnam

Non-vegetarians would also keep an eye on this:

Kala Bakra

A station once existed here on the Cutch State Railway:

tuna-kachchh

Cooking utensils are not neglected:

Tandur

 

A variety of sweet items:

The third one is Shakar Nagar, if you missed it.

Still more items of interest:

103878452

There was probably an Englishman named Currey, but we let that pass.

Some near misses: You should be able to get dhokla here as it is in Gujarat:

Dholka

(Dholka).

And you might get tuna here as it is near the coast:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And cinnamon (dalchini) here:

Kalchini

When a king ate a lot of rice, this place in Bengal was named

Rajabhat Khawa

Finally, you can proceed to this place

Bar

where you may find drinks sounding similar to

Mahua Milan

and

Margherita

We are not done yet. In Pakistan, you will see this place on the way up the Bolan Pass:

Mach (2)

I wonder if Bengalis going to Quetta were able to find fish at the station restaurant.

In Bangladesh itself, there used to be a station called Raita near the Hardinge Bridge.

http://www.maplandia.com/bangladesh/khulna-div/kushtia-zl/raita/

From Sri Lanka, we have the closest one for honey:

Madhu Road

(Thanks to Vimlesh Chandra for inspiration).

Fruits are left out here, but they are covered in the earlier post referenced at the start.

Views of the Indian Railways in 1944

Some collections on the net include pictures taken by US servicemen serving in India during World War 2. A few samples:

Thadi (very old)

This is between Visakhapatnam (then Waltair) and Rajahmundry. It now looks like this:

Thadi (new)

Like most of the Golden Quad, the route is now double-tracked and electrified. This station was then on the Madras & Southern Mahratta Railway, then Southern Railway and now the South Central Railway.

Another one from the East Coast. Probably this city is more well known because of its cricket connection:

Vizianagaram ( very old)

Note the presence of 5 languages including Urdu and Telugu. It was then part of the Madras Presidency which extended up to Chatrapur in present-day Odisha. This station was then on the Bengal Nagpur Railway, later the Eastern Railway for a short time, then South Eastern and finally the East Coast Railway.

Here is another picture some years later (maybe the 1970s):

Vizianagaram (old)

By now it was part of Andhra Pradesh. Someone seems to think it was on the South Central Railway, but it never was. It still had Odiya due to its closeness to the state border. This is what it looks like today:

Vizianagaram

By now it strictly follows the 3-language format with the local language at the top, followed by Hindi and English. However, a number of stations close to the state borders still have signs in the language of the neighboring state. Examples can be found in Jharkhand (Bengali), Kerala/Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka/Telangana among others.

This one also dates from 1944 and is better known:

Sealdah 1944

This is obviously Sealdah as in those days all destinations to the east of the Hooghly were covered by the Sealdah-based Eastern Bengal Railway. At that time it had been merged with the Assam Bengal Railway to form the Bengal & Assam Railway, which itself ceased to exist at partition. However, East Pakistan used the title of Eastern Bengal Railway for all lines in its territory until 1961. The remnants lying in India essentially became the Sealdah Division of the East Indian Railway and then the Eastern Railway.

Most trains from Calcutta to the East ran via the Ranaghat-Darsana route which is still used by the Maitri Express. The border station of Gede did not exist then.

Trains going to the Jessore and Khulna side went via Bongaon-Benapol. The border station of Petrapol came up later.

I am trying to reconcile these timings with a Bradshaw of 1943 and will write more about the routes of these trains later. For the Darjeeling Mail route, see here

The Khulna route is described here

Rail Quiz No 5

The earlier quizzes can be found in the archives of this blog.

Like the earlier ones, the questions relate to a set of station signs. Copyrights for the pictures rest with the original photographers.

A) What do these stations have in common?

DarjeelingMatheranSheopur Kalan

If you have got the answer to A), that will help you to get the answers to the subsequent questions:

B1):

AmtaBilara

 

B2):

BhindKishanganjShivpuri

What do the stations in B1) and B2) have in common with those in A) ?

What is the difference between the stations in set B1) and B2) ?

This is somewhat more complicated as some changes to stations in B1) and B2) occurred over 60 years ago.

THE ANSWERS: Darjeeling, Matheran and Sheopur Kalan are (the only) terminuses of branch lines on 2’0″ gauge. Amta and Bilara WERE terminuses of branch lines of 2″0″ gauge and are now BG terminuses. Shivpuri, Bhind and Kishanganj WERE terminuses of branch lines of 2″0″ gauge and are now BG wayside stations.

The first (mostly) correct answers were from Anuj Budhkar and Samit Roychoudhury.

Afterthought: In the picture of Sheopur Kalan you can see what may the last goods wagons on the 2’0″ gauge on IR. There may be some on the Darjeeling line but they are not in regular use either.

The infamous station of Seroni Road (why?) also lies on the line to Sheopur Kalan.

Seroni Road

Rail Quiz No 4

(You can see the earlier rail quizzes by searching the archives of this blog).

What property do these stations have in common (although the last two will lose this property in the near future?)

Note: pictures here are the copyright of the respective photographers.

kalkaMettupalayam-BGBalgonaUdaipur City

And this station had the same property until the 1990s:

Parli Vaijnath

THE ANSWER: These are not junctions in the true sense, but places where a line on one gauge terminates and a line on another gauge starts.

Kalka :BG/NG

Mettupalaiyam: BG/MG 

Udaipur City: BG/MG for the last 10 years, soon to become full BG.

Balgona: BG/NG for the last few years, soon to become full BG.

Parli Vaijnath: BG/MG until about 1990, then full BG.

These are not to be confused with NJP, Siliguri, Pathankot, Neral and other junctions where trains leave in 3 or more directions. In the above examples trains leave in only 2 directions.

Extreme points of the Indian Railways (2017)

The northernmost station:

Sopore

This is the station before the terminus at Baramulla. If one looks at the map carefully, it can be seen that it is further north.

Now, the Kashmir valley line from Banihal to Baramulla is not connected to the rest of the IR network (although this gap can be bridged in a 4-hour road journey from Udhampur to Banihal). The northernmost station on the IR network used to be Udhampur, which is now superseded by

Katra-new

These lines were always BG.

Now we move east. The easternmost station presently served by passenger trains is

Ledo

However, goods trains run further east for a few km to Tirap Siding where coal is loaded. Although I could not find a picture with this sign, there is this video of a road trip along this route with plenty of coal wagons:

Still further ahead is this now defunct station which was functioning from the late 1950s to the 1990s, when the MG line was converted only up to Tirap Siding as it was not considered worthwhile to extend the BG line here:

Lekhapani_station

Lekhapani was thus the easternmost point of the Indian Railways, but not now. Still further east are the Tipong colliery railways (2’0″ NG) which are NOT and never were part of IR, though we will take a quick look at them here:

These colliery lines have some B class locos which were earlier on the Darjeeling line. There are several longer videos of these lines on Youtube. The main line even features in the 1972 film “Ye Gulistan Hamara”. If you are really interested you can see the film on Youtube, though the trains appear only for a couple of minutes. If you like typical Bollywood films of the 1970s and are fans of Dev Anand and Sharmila Tagore, you might as well see it.

Now to the south. That is easy enough. This line was built with BG.

Kanniyakumari

And for the west, there is

Varvala

Like Sopore, it is not a terminus but is further west than the larger station of Dwarka and the terminus of Okha. Dwarka is the westernmost station of some importance.

This line was MG and was converted to BG around 1980.

Varvala had this status for a long time. Then the Bhuj-Naliya MG line was built and Naliya became the westernmost station (with a lateral distance of about 10 km). The line from Bhuj to Naliya was closed for several years and now has been taken up for conversion to BG. When the line is completed, Naliya will regain the position-although there are plans to extend the line further west. No picture of Naliya station is seen on the net, so here is one of the next station Naliya Cantt, which is adjacent to the IAF base:

(Google Maps needs to be corrected as Naliya Cantt station is marked as Naliya station.)

Naliya Cantt

 

But things were different before Partition. We will take this up next.

The goonda stations of Indian railways

This one is better known:

Gunda Bihar

It was in Bihar and is now in Jharkhand. It is on the way from Chandil to Muri. A number of express trains  pass this way, but only two pairs of passenger trains stop here-one between Tatanagar and Hatia and another between Tatanagar and Barkakana.

This one in Karnataka is nominally a junction, but has fallen on bad days:

Gunda RoadGunda Road-2

You can see the branching of lines in these pictures. This station is on a branch running south from Hosapete (formerly Hospet). At this junction (which must qualify as one of the smallest and most rudimentary stations with the title of junction) short lines ran to Kotturu and Swamihalli. There used to be heavy iron ore traffic on the then metre gauge line from Swamihalli.

In due course these lines were converted to broad gauge. From Kotturu a new BG line was extended to Harihar, near Hubli on the Pune-Bengaluru route. It was then discovered that the slopes on the BG line between Gunda Road and Kotturu were too steep for safe running, so no train runs there. The line from Kotturu to Harihar has one pair of trains a day. Goods trains appear to run from Hosapete to Swamihalli though there seems to be a bypass around Gunda Road. No passenger service runs on this line.

Then there are place names such as Ramgundam.

I don’t know about the etymology of the place in Jharkhand, but “Gundam” is a body of water in languages such as Kannada. This would not have anything to do with the Japanese animes of the same name. And Karnataka had a CM called Gundu Rao.