The last gasp of the Satpura narrow gauge lines

A news item about the impending conversion of the (Nagpur) Itwari-Nagbhir narrow gauge section from November 2019:

This is the last of the vast network of narrow gauge lines which used to cover a large part of the less-developed areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Here is an earlier post describing its operations in late 2015:

A rail accident in India in 1933

A brief extract from the Annual Report of the Indian Railways of 1933-34.

Accident on 2nd May 1933

And pictures from there:

Barh 1933 Acc-1Barh 1933 Acc-2

Note: a well-known railfan site has these pictures mentioned as showing the accident at Bihta in 1937, but this is incorrect and due to the wrong assumption of the writer.

Rail resources-All India map of 1911

As there is an interest in old maps and timetables, here is a link for the Survey of India map of railways, roads and canals dated 1911. Unlike other SOI maps of the Railways, it appears to show all (or most) stations which existed at that time. It also covers British India and Burma of that time.

Use this Dropbox link:

which is valid until 18/11/2019.

As it is about 32 MB, you may have to alter settings on your system.

You could also download this from:

from the line 1911: Railway Canal and Road Map.

While this is freely downloadable, note these conditions set by the website :

“This material is placed here by PAHAR to assist scholars, researchers, enthusiasts and mountain lovers and is for personal, non-commercial use only. Any attempt to make commercial use of these materials will be grounds for barring further access to the site.”



Places in the news-Punjab

The centre of attention: Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib:,+Punjab+143604/@32.055151,75.0252443,13z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x391bfcec21c405cd:0x358173658502513b!8m2!3d32.0321859!4d75.0304481

While the corridor is not marked yet, you can see DBN  and Kartarpur Sahib across the border. Also the station of DBN, served by local trains from Amritsar.

Dera Baba Nanak

Some of these locals start from Verka, the first station from Amritsar. Other special trains are presently running from Sultanpur Lodhi, another sacred place for the Sikhs.

On the other side of the border, there is a now disused station at Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, which lies on the line from Narowal to Chak Amru.

Darbar Sahib Kartarpur

This was served by local trains until the early 2000s, when the trains serving this station had dwindled to one pair of trains on Sunday:

Kartarpur (Pak) TT 001

In happier times (from the 1943 Bradshaw) we have these trains in the same area:

NWR around Amritsar-1943 001


On the top right, the local trains between Amritsar and Narowal and Sialkot via DBN and Jassar (across the border). Wartime shortages must have reduced this to one pair of trains a day.

On the bottom right, the one train a day between Lahore and Chak Amru via Narowal, Jassar and Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Those familiar with the 1971 war would remember the battles around Shakargarh. Chak Amru station was captured by the Indian army and was returned soon after the war.

Finally, the other Kartarpur which lies between Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Kartarpur India

Footnote: there is a place called Jassur on the Kangra Valley line, although the station’s name is Nurpur Road.


The Indian Railways network in 1868


A few days ago I had posted some of the details of the stations which existed in 1868. This appeared in the annual report of 1868-69.

The entire railway network of that time is given in these 9 pages. It also includes places which are now in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Have fun in comparing the old station names with the present.


This and other annual reports, besides other rail-related documents, can be accessed and downloaded from and by using the keywords (India, railway).

A smaller number of annual reports are on, which can similarly be accessed and downloaded.


From the Indian Railways of 1868: the stations around Bombay

Those into the ancient history of the Indian Railways would probably be aware of the old annual reports, some of which are available for download from and

Some of the earlier reports, such of those of 1868-69, give a complete list of stations existing at this time. Here we see the stations of the BBCI and GIP adjacent to Bombay.

BBCI 001GIP-1 001GIP-2 001

Note the weird spellings.

Those who are really interested should be able to locate this document from the GIPE link above. I may put up a few more pages shortly.

Rail Quiz-Oct 2019 with answers

  1. What is the significance of this pair of stations in the history of IR? The line between these stations was opened in 1926, completing the Delhi-Madras line (as well as the Golden Quadrilateral with diagonals).
  2. Nowadays all passenger trains have at least a technical halt at Balharshah. But in 1963-64 the Southern Express (then the best train between New Delhi and Madras) ran through Balharshah without stopping. How was this possible?  They stop at Balharshah as it is the “junction” between CR and SCR where train crews change. Up to 1966, the Central Railway ran straight to Vijayawada and to Hyderabad and beyond. As Balharshah was not so important then, the Southern Express ran through without stopping. In 1963-64 it ran on some days as the AC Express and some days as the Southern Express (like the Paschim and Poorva which survived longer).
  3. What is the historical significance of this station in Bangladesh? Dohazari                                                                                    The end of a branch line from Chittagong. It was completed in the mid-1920s as the first part of a proposed line to Burma (which was still governed from India). The Great Depression, the delinking of Burma from India in 1937 and then World War 2 put an end to that.
  4. And of this station in Pakistan? The western-most station of Pakistan Railways. The line continues across the border to Zahidan in Iran, though that portion of the track was transferred to the Iranian railways in the 1960s. The trains are still operated by PR.Koh i Taftan (2)
  5. Why was this small station’s name well known to Allied military personnel?  Drigh RoadA major RAF base existed there since the 1920s, which was very active during World War 2. For some reason it was known as Drigh Road airfield and was not named after Karachi. Later, an offshoot of this became the main airport of Karachi.
  6. And what was the significance of this station’s name to British soldiers? Deolali was a British Army camp 100 miles north-east of Mumbai . It is also the source of the British slang noun doolally tap, loosely meaning “camp fever”, and referring to the apparent madness of men waiting for ships back to Britain after finishing their tour of duty. By the 1940s this had been widely shortened to just “doolally“, an adjective meaning “mad (insane).Devlali
  7. What is unusual about this station in Bangladesh? And what was it called before partition? Like Hili, it lies right on the border and from India one can easily see trains running here on the Chittagong-Akhaura section. It was called Kamalasagar as it used to serve this place which is now across the border.        Quasba
  8. Until recently, what was (wrongly) claimed to be the first station in Arunachal Pradesh? Bhalukpong, reached from Balipara around 1980. The town spreads over Assam and Arunachal, and the station is just within Assam’s border. The picture below shows it during MG days.Bhalukpong old
  9. Identify the time span when this picture was taken.   This place is in Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. From 1954 to 1971 Urdu and Bengali were the official languages of Pakistan, and thus signboards in East Pakistan had English and these two languages. Once Bangladesh came into being, there was no need for Urdu signs and they are a rarity now. This picture dates from the 1971 war.Rajshahi station-old
  10. Where in India would you have seen steam locos in green livery marked “PAK”? The locos of SCR had tenders in red and green. There used to be a MG loco shed at Pakala (code PAK) and this was marked on the tender. (This was not an usual practice, but has been mentioned by Bill Aitken in one of his books).
  11. Name one station in Kerala which had steam sheds for BG and MG. Quilon, now Kollam. The MG shed was first, and the BG facilities started once BG came in 1975.
  12. Name one major rail-connected howler in the film “Julie”. This is set in Shoranur, an important junction but not even a divisional HQ. Utpal Dutt’s character is mentioned as the Chief Engineer, whereas the station would have had an Assistant Engineer (and AME) as the local heads.
  13. Which was the only section of IR which had 4-foot gauge? Azimganj-Nalhati, soon converted to BG and now on the ER. See details here: You can also see this loco at the NRM: 
  14. And 3’6″ gauge? The Arconum-Conjeevarum Tramway, as it was then called. It soon became BG, soon after MG and finally BG in recent years. More details: . No information about the 3’6″ locos could be found.
  15. What was the northern-most MG station on IR? Ignore the short-lived MG lines north of Lahore. Kot Kapura. The MG line from Bhatinda then turned south-west towards Fazilka, so Kot Kapura was the northern-most MG station.
  16. Bonus: Which important station most closely matches the description of the title of the novel “Bhowani Junction”? Note these points-it is on the Delhi-Bombay line, with a branch going towards Allahabad (though not directly). It is a district HQ and an important cantonment. This fits Jhansi perfectly (but not Itarsi and Bhusaval).


(The best effort was by my old friend Harsh Vardhan.)