For railfans-the Fergusson papers revisited

This is primarily for railfans interested in lists of stations on railway systems across the world. Some explanation is necessary.

The Fergusson papers on the link given below are compiled by an Englishman named Jim Fergusson, who has been collecting timetables from all over the world since around 1950. He has got hold of timetables from different time periods ranging from the 19th to the 21st century.

Most of those reading this will be interested in the Indian railway system.  The systems of all our neighbours (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Myanmar) are covered. He seems to have drawn largely from the Indian Bradshaw which has been published since the 19th century but seems to have vanished a few years ago.

Update: in early 2020 he has added sections from India, covering the NFR and ER/ECR. It appears that he will be gradually covering the rest of India.

Have a look at it here:

http://www.railwaystationlists.co.uk/

The Jodhpur Railway from the Bradshaw of June 1944

The Jodhpur Railway of those days was one of the small but well-run railway systems in the first half of the 20th century. The network (as shown in the June 1944 Indian Bradshaw) is:

Jodhpur1-1944Jodhpur2-1944

These are also in the IRFCA gallery’s Heritage section, though wrongly labelled as being from the 1943 Bradshaw.

It can be seen that after 1947 a part of this system (west of Munabao) became part of Pakistan’s railway system. Initially it was merged with the North Western Railway, then Pakistan Western Railway and finally Pakistan Railway.

The part remaining in India essentially became the Jodhpur Division of the Northern Railway and later the North Western Railway (which has nothing to do with the previous NWR).

More recent name changes in Uttar Pradesh

Earlier we have dealt with the renaming of Allahabad Jn and nearby changes to reflect the old name of Prayagraj. There are a number of other name changes in UP over the last couple of years. Some are well known and others have been hardly mentioned in the media.

The most well known change was this:

Mughal Sarai

New Mughalsarai (DDU)

As in the case of Allahabad/Prayagraj, there was a long gap between the announcement of the change and its actual implementation. So a number of photoshopped pictures appeared in the local media, like this:

DDU @ MGS fake pic

As we know, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was found dead near this station in 1968. The circumstances of his death have never been satisfactorily explained, and may well become a never-ending mystery like the deaths of Subhash Chandra Bose and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Other changes which attracted less attention:

Farah Town (between Mathura and Agra Cantt) became Deen Dayal Dham – as Panditji was born in that area.

Panki (near Kanpur) became Panki Dham:

Robertsganj became Sonebhadra (which is the name of the district):

Chanehti became Bareilly Cantt:

And someone will have to decide which of these is correct, as the staff at the station (as well as the local authorities) in Bareilly do not seem to be sure:

It was indeed named after a British railway manager named Charles Izat, though somehow it morphed into Izzat over the years. Interestingly, both names are seen on signs in the locality.

Return to Allahabad

Here you see the map of railways around Allahabad (with an inset on the left). This is from “The Great Indian Railway Atlas”, 2015 edition.

Railways around Allahabad

And some of the existing station signboards:

This one has already had its name changed:

CheokiAllahabad Cheoki

The main station and a fake picture of it from a few months ago:

Other stations in the area:

Finally, there is a notification dated Feb 23, 2020 stating that these name changes will now take effect:

Allahabad railway name changes

Allahabad Division of NC Rly now becomes Prayagraj Division.

So now you have it. Prayag Jn will apparently remain as it is.

Allahabad City station was locally referred to as Rambagh station as that is the locality. (similar to Nampalli for HYB and Kalupur for ADI).

Allahabad Fort is shown in the map. But it does not seem to have had scheduled passenger services.

Chheoki will be renamed for the second time within a few years. But it was a non-timetabled station for many years.

Meanwhile, Gurgaon station awaits renaming to Gurugram.

The Indian Midland Railway of the 1890s

This is from a map found on the net:

Ypu can download it from https://www.flickriver.com/photos/124446949@N06/49078963546/

Otherwise you can refer to the cropped portions below.

IMR cropped

The blue color indicates the IMR and the orange indicates the GIPR.

More basic history can be seen here:

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Midland_Railway

The IMR was short-lived and existed only from 1885 to 1900 when it was absorbed by the GIPR. This particular map seems to be from the 1890s.

The station presently known as Bina was then known as Etawah or Itawa. Note the other old spellings such as Cawnpoor.

We can also see that the Agra-Mathura-Delhi line was not built yet. But one could go from Agra to Tundla and then to Delhi. Indeed, during the 1890s the GIP trains from Bombay to Delhi did follow this route.

And the BBCIR had not advanced much from Baroda towards Delhi. But it was also a regular practice for travelers from Bombay to Delhi to travel to Ahmedabad and then by MG to Delhi.

This box item from the IMR map has some points of interest:

IMR box item

It lists out the lines which existed then, including “Etawah” to Saugor, i.e. Bina to Saugor, though the extension to Katni was completed later.

The “Comparison of Distances” provides insight into the rivalry of different companies connecting the same pairs of cities. In later years the BBCI and GIP kept trying to show that their services between Bombay and Delhi/Punjab were better. This ended only when the railways were regrouped to form the WR, CR etc in the early 1950s.

Here we see that the IMR route from Bombay to Kanpur was shortest, :

1.  Via Jhansi-Kanpur 830 miles (1336 km) which is the standard route today

2.  Via Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad-Kanpur 964 miles (1552 km)

3.  Via Baroda, Ahmedabad-Delhi by MG, Delhi-Kanpur 1006 miles (1620 km)

And similarly for Bombay to Agra:

1.  Via Jhansi-Agra 830* miles (1336 km) which is the standard route today

* So Jhansi-Agra and Jhansi-Kanpur are the same distance?

2.  Via Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad-Tundla-Agra 1123 miles (1808 km)

3.  Via Baroda, Ahmedabad-Bandikui-Agra by MG 849 miles (1367 km)

Once the BBCIR got going and completed the Baroda-Mathura section by around 1910, they clearly had a shorter route between Bombay and Delhi.

The GIPR and EIR met at Jabalpur (Jubbulpore in those days). By the 1920s the Allahabad-Jabalpur section was transferred to the GIPR.

Some jokes from those days:

GIP stood for “Great Improvement Possible”

BBCI stood for “Beastly, Bad and Cannot Improve”

Then there were “Bribes Never Refused”, “Mails Slowly Moving” and “Sambar Idli Railway” which you should be able to guess.

However, the EIR escaped these nicknames.

Indian Railways map of 1909

Fortunately we now have a good quality map which is easily downloadable:

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The downloaded image can be expanded using Irfanview or similar software.

A few things of historical interest:

The stub going southwest from the Delhi-Muttra section is the Kosi-Sankoch branch which closed long ago, maybe in the 1920s.

While the branch from Satna to Rewah is shown here, it was not built until around 1990.

The branches fron Harpalpur to Rath and Nowgong have not been built even now.

Sipri is the present Shivpuri, then an NG terminus.

The Mohpani branch served collieries in the past, but was closed by the 1930s.

A number of other closed branch lines can be seen.

The Martin lines of old Calcutta-2

More historical details:

To help you keep track:

HALR and HSLR from Railway Magazine

Opening dates:

(HALR):

Telkul Ghat (Howrah) to Dumjur:         01-07-1897     9.20 miles/14.81 km

Dumjur to Bargachia:                              02-10-1897      5.87/9.45

Bargachia to Maju:                                   04-05-1898     5.50/8.86

Maju to Amta:                                            01-06-1898     6.62/10.66

Total                27.19/43.78

Champadanga branch:

Bargachia to Jagatbalabpur:                   02-10-1897     1.50/2.42

Jagatbalabpur to Autpur:                         01-06-1904     8.50/13.69

Autpur to Champadanga                          24-08-1908:    6.68/10.75

Total             16.68/26.86

(HASR):

Kadamtala to Chanditala                               02-08-1897:     8.88/14.30

Chanditala to Kistrampur                             10-09-1897:      3.75/6.04

Kistrampur  to Sheakhala                              07-11-1897:     4.75/7.65

Total:            17.38/27.99

Janai branch:

Chanditala to Janai                                            05-05-1898:    2.37/3.82

LATER DEVELOPMENTS:

By 1939, service were stopped between Howrah Ghat and Kadamtala. All the trains started from the latter.

In 1948, a new terminus was constructed at Howrah Maidan. A new alignment was created from there to Dasnagar

This was opened on 01-02-1948 with a length of 4.00 km.

That was common to the HALR and HASR.

For the HASR, a new alignment was also opened on 01-02-1948 from Dasnagar Km 3.2 to Km 6.0 (a length of 2.80 km)

This meant that Kadamtala and Uttar Banthra were no longer in use.

Passenger services on the Chanditala-Janai branch stopped between 1951 and 1963.

The rest of the HALR and HSLR closed from 1971.

Only the Howrah-Amta services were restarted in the 1990s, when the route was converted to broad gauge and electrified. There are several pairs of EMUs running on this route which has seen a major change in alignment at the Howrah end. These trains start from the main Howrah station and proceed along the main line to Kharagpur. At Santragachi, the line to Amta branches off, passes Kona which was on the old HASR and takes up the old alignment near Makardaha. A number of the old stations do not exist now.

Details of the present Howrah-Amta route via Santragachi and Kona can be seen here on this extract from the official SER map:

Howrah-Amta new

Or here:

Howrah-Amta new station list