Hidden stories of the Khyber Railway-2

Another look at the neighborhood, this time from Wikimapia. Can’t say how reliable it is, though it does show the elusive places such as Kacha Garhi and Dakka.

https://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=34.010621&lon=71.511898&z=14&m=w&show=/38342473/ur/%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%82%DB%81-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A6-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%84%DB%8C-%D9%BE%DB%8C-%DA%A9%DB%92-75&search=Peshawar

Start from Peshawar Cantt and move west. The route of the Khyber Railway is shown quite clearly here, unlike in Google Maps.

https://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=34.029616&lon=71.272945&z=14&m=w&show=/38342473/ur/%D8%AD%D9%84%D9%82%DB%81-%D8%B5%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%A6-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%84%DB%8C-%D9%BE%DB%8C-%DA%A9%DB%92-75&search=Peshawar

Note the two pairs of reversing stations. The one between Landi Kotal and Landi Khana has not seen trains since the 1930s, and saw regular services only from 1926 to 1932.

Also reposting the basic map:

Khyber map

Next, we come to the planned narrow gauge line from Jamrud to Dakka across the border.

It is covered in this earlier post:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/book-on-industrial-locomotives-of-south-asia/

Whatever was done here, no traces of this narrow gauge line have been mentioned by any visitor. The construction of the actual BG line started soon after the 1919 war.

Then there was another abortive project to reach Afghanistan in the 1900s, which actually did see some BG track rapidly constructed and shut down equally rapidly in 1905-1907. That will be in the next post.

 

Book on Industrial Locomotives of South Asia

The more determined railway fans from South Asia would appreciate this weighty book by Simon Darvill (2013):

It gives most details of industrial locomotives which ran in the countries between Afghanistan and Myanmar. A special feature is the lengthy section on the British Army’s military railways in what is now India and Pakistan, including the large amount of rolling stock and other material sent to other theaters of WW1 and WW2.

An interesting point (which one had not come across earlier) is that there was a serious plan to lay a 2’0″ Decauville track across the Khyber Pass from the then railhead at Jamrud, crossing the border and extending into Dakka Fort in Afghanistan during the 3rd Afghan War in 1919. This was some years before the “real” broad gauge line was built to Landi Kotal and Landi Khana.

However, there is no direct mention of this little line in accounts of the war. So there is some doubt if it was actually built. It would have probably been a little over 50 km long. Mr Darvill has found evidence that some equipment had been dispatched to the region. Details are on p.493.

While the stress is on steam, there are plenty of diesel locomotives listed as well. Profusely illustrated with b/w photographs.

This book may be available from amazon com and amazon in. Otherwise it is available from specialized bookshops in the UK. Sellers can be located by using Google for the book’s title or ISBN no 9781901 556827

International shipping charges will be high as the packed weight is over 1.5 Kg.

Footnote: Dakka is too obscure to be found on Google Maps, but you can take its location at 34.2222 N, 71.0347 E. It is on the road from Torkham to Jalalabad.