The Martin lines of old Calcutta-3 (Pictures of stations and trains)

We start with some pictures showing traces of the closed lines and some of the stations presently in use.

(Copyright of the pictures is that of the photographers, mainly Ashis Mitra).

Amta oldAmta

Old and new Amta.

Patihal oldPanpur old

Chanditala

Kalipur near Howrah

Remnants of stations closed in 1971: Patihal, Panpur, Chanditala and Kalipur. The last one seems to be well-maintained.

Pantihal

Pantihal appears to be the replacement of Patihal.

Domjur newDomjur old

New Domjur and remnants of the old.

Munshirhat

Old and new signs at Munshirhat. This is the new station on BG.

And finally-a little-known gallery of pictures of trains taken in the 1960s:

http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/raj/india02/indiaenger1001.htm

(Click on the right arrow, not on “start”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

The Martin lines of old Calcutta-1

Many older people remember these lines well although they ceased to operate by the early 1970s. The Howrah-Amta line is now a single line electrified BG line on a slightly different alignment, while there is no sign of conversion of the lines to Sheakhala and Champadanga.

Here are a few old maps showing their details:

HALR and HSLR from Railway MagazineHowrah_Railway_Systems in 1909Howrah-Amta_Light_Railway_Map_1909

The map at the top is from the “Railway Magazine” published in Britain in the 1960s. The two other maps are from 1909. In the bottom map Sheakhala is not marked but you should be able to follow the line adjacent to the Amta line. There is also the long-vanished Tarkessur-Magra NG line.

The branches to Bargachia and Janai may not have been built when this map was prepared. But the 1960s map above is probably the best map of these lines which can be found.

A summary of the history of the HALR and the HSLR is given here:

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Howrah_Tramways_(Light_Railways)

They have been described as the only major commuter railways on narrow gauge anywhere in the world. While the passenger traffic was heavy, continuing losses caused their closure in early 1971.

Timetables from the 1944 Bradshaw can be seen here:

1943-NG-4B

 

1943-NG-5A

1943-NG-5B

Note that Kadamtala was the terminus, as the Howrah municipality felt that operations from Telkul Ghat were not feasible due to congestion. By 1948 a new terminus at Howrah Maidan was built, which was in use until closure in the 1970s.