Military rule over the Indian Railways

There are many stations named “Cantonment” and “Fort” and even Barrackpore. Here we look at military personnel.

Start at the bottom with “Sepoydhura”, a halt station north of Kurseong on the Darjeeling line. It was closed long ago. Next in the hierarchy is

(Just west of Allahabad on the main line).

Moving up the hierarchy we come to

(North-east of Gorakhpur).

Still further up:

(Near Gonda, yet again in Uttar Pradesh).

Now we are stuck. There is a locality in Kanpur called Generalganj which is fairly close to CNB, but does not have a station. And Senapati district in Manipur, far from any railway.

The term “Chhatrapati” is “protector”, strictly speaking. But that title was given to Shivaji who was a successful military leader.

Maharashtra comes to the rescue with the renamed Bombay VT:

There are numerous smaller places named after war heroes, often from the distant past. And those named after British officials, some of whom were from the military.

One example is from the mid-19th century, commemorating Major Sleeman who led the operations against the Thugs of central India:

This is between Jabalpur and Katni in MP.

A relatively newer one is

which is between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer. It is named after Major Shaitan Singh, Param Vir Chakra awardee from the 1962 war.

There must be a few others from the post-independence era which I missed out.

Down South

Completing our study of station names including directions.

The word South is Dakshin/Dakshina/Dakkhin in several languages including Hindi, Bengali, Kannada and Telugu.

This listing is not supposed to be comprehensive.

We start with

Here, South is transliterated into both languages.

Similarly here:

This pair from Andhra Pradesh is more interesting:

In the older sign above, South is transliterated into both languages.

In the newer sign, the correct Hindi and Telugu words are used.

And this station does not appear to have any passenger services.

The correct Hindi and Kannada words have been used here.

“South” also appears in the middle of a name, like in this station on the Kanpur-Banda section:

Guest appearances:

This was known as Ernakulam South from the late 1930s to the late 1950s. However, a fair number of local people persist in using the old name (as in the case of Ernakulam Town) which still causes trouble to visitors.

Simlarly, Ashokapuram was earlier known as Mysore South (long before Mysuru appeared).

There are a number of stations in Bengal which start with Dakkhin. The best known must be:

However, the place name may not originally have anything to do with the word South.

Another is

There is indeed a better-known Barasat in the Kolkata area, though this station is far from there.

One may argue that this (below) is not really a separate station. But you can see this sign inside the Sealdah complex:

Thanks to S Aravind, Ganesh Iyer and others for their suggestions.

Up North

There seems to be only one station with “North” as a prefix:

While North is transliterated into Hindi, the word Uttor in Assamese is used.

Due to space constraints, the name in English is written as a single word.

Also in Assam there is

where North is transliterated into both Hindi and Assamese.

In the vicinity of Visakhapatnam there is

Here, the word for North is a prefix both for Hindi and Telugu.

Next to Coimbatore:

Interesting. The Tamil word Vadakku is used here, which is then transliterated into Hindi. There are several better-known instances like this in the Chennai area.

In Kerala, there is Vadakara (formerly Badagara).

The word Vadaka is North in Malayalam. However, the place name may not have intended to say this.

There are a few others like this in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Still in Tamil Nadu:

It is easy to check that the station and locality are “North”. However just the initial for N is used in all three languages.

Finally, this station was known as Ernakulam North from the time it was opened in the late 1930s until the late 1950s.

Local people still habitually refer to it as North station, which can cause problems to outsiders who do not know this. Like the case of Cantt station for Varanasi Jn.

Kalupur for Ahmedabad and Nampalli for Hyderabad are different cases since these stations never officially had these names.

Thanks to Ganesh Iyer and Milan Chatterjee for more ideas.

East is East

Here we explore the stations in India with the suffix “East”. There do not seem to be any with the prefix.

It is not supposed to be a comprehensive list.

The best known one is Bengaluru East:

Including its predecessor above.

Here, the Hindi word and Kannada word seem to be correct translations.

Now to smaller places like Kundara in Kerala:

While Hindi is correct, Malayalam is still East transliterated.

Next to Andhra Pradesh:

Hindi and Telugu appear to be correct.

Tamil Nadu is more complicated. We start with a smaller city:

This was the old station for ages, until a new Kanchipuram station came up to its west. The Tamil word “Kizhaku” seems to be correct.

But Madurai East is different:

Here, a short form similar to E Madurai has been used unlike in the case of Kanchipuram.

Salem East was a small station closed long ago. And Tirupati East became Tirupati even earlier, probably in the 1960s.

It is interesting to see that naming conventions vary even within the same state.

Tailpiece: East can be a middle word, as in Sone East Bank up to the 1940s. Now it is Son Nagar:

Go West, young man

Here we look at differing treatments of the word “West” in signboards in India.

First from Kerala:

Here, the word “West” is transliterated both in Malayalam and Hindi.

And from Rajasthan:

Here, too, the word is transliterated rather than translated into Hindi.

Tirupati West, next to the larger Tirupati which was known as Tirupati East long ago.

Here, the appropriate words in Telugu and Hindi have been used.

In Tamil Nadu:

West is transliterated into Hindi and Tamil.

There used to be a West Point near Darjeeling but it does not exist now.

Let us see if other directions are translated or transliterated in signs in India.

Meanwhile, here is Maharani Paschim in Uttar Pradesh:

Finally, we stop over in West Berlin:

The Germans are not at fault, as their word for West is West.

(This reads: Warning! You are now leaving West Berlin).

However the terms East Berlin and East Germany were never used by the concerned governments.

If at first you don’t succeed……


You may aspire to winning a Nobel Prize. But you may have to be satisfied with an Ig-Nobel Prize.

And there is at least one person who won an Ig-Nobel Prize before getting a Nobel Prize a decade later:

especially this bit:

Similarly, if you cannot reach Singapore during the lockdown you can go to:

This place in Odisha was once listed as Singapore Road. Later it became Singapuram Road before settling on its present name.

If you cannot reach Kuala Lumpur, there is

This is in the hills of southern Assam.

If you want to visit the capital of New Zealand, there is

in the Nilgiris. Both are named after the same person.

Riga is the capital of Latvia in Europe. For this we have one in Bihar:

This Riga was of some interest to steam enthusiasts, as you can see above.

If you wish to venture further to Dundee in Scotland, there is

near Jabalpur in MP.

Not sure if you really want to go to Accra in Ghana. For that, we have this place near Kolkata:

A smaller country in Africa is called Guinea-Bissau. For that we have Bissau in Rajasthan:

However, you have to draw the line somewhere. If you are going to Jakarta and you are sent to this place instead, you should not accept it.

This is in one of the more remote parts of Uttarakhand, where the Special Frontier Force roams. Even the elite troops of the Mukti Bahini trained here in 1971.


Quick quiz-Place names with initials.

Try to find the full forms of these place names. Google may help in some cases:

  1. An easy one to start with. What is Wimco?

2. Which station? And what important railway facilities are there?

3. What is DMW?

4. What does DAV stand for?

5. What is WRS? and which city is nearby?

6. This is not in West Bengal, but in another state where Bengali is the main language. What does S.K. stand for?


  1. WIMCO stands for the Western India Match Company, a long-standing MNC which was taken over by ITC in the 2000s. The main factories were in Ambernath and Chennai (which had this station which remains after the factory was closed).
  2. NKJ= New Katni Jn. A major electric loco shed is nearby (with locos marked NKJ). There is also a diesel loco shed nearby with locos marked “Katni”.
  3. Diesel Loco Modernization Works at Patiala. It was earlier known as Diesel Component Works, which had the initials DCW.
  4. There are DAV colleges and schools in many towns in northern India. This stands for Dayanand Anglo Vedic. There is also a halt station for DAV College Jalalabad, a smaller town in Punjab.
  5. The Wagon Repair Shop colony in Raipur.
  6. Sindhu Kumar Para in Tripura. It is not clear why a relatively short name like this needs initials.

The quickest good responses were from Ganesh Iyer and Pavel Ghosh.

Place names with initials

We have now covered places whose commonly used names include initials. The initials may not always be obvious.

A Maharashtrian passing BG Nagar may think it was named after Bal Gangadhar Tilak. JK Puram in Andhra Pradesh has nothing to do with the JK Singhania group, but is Jaggambhotla Kamalapuram. There are numerous TTs in Mumbai which refer not to table tennis but Tram Terminuses. (Not termini, though only some words ending with -us end in i)

Let us look at some station names which include initials:

Most of you should be clear as to what the initials stand for.

In some cases the initials are spelt out:

But there are some which are more difficult to decipher. We shall see more of these.

Smaller cities with multiple stations

We know there are many station names which include the names of cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru etc. Also the next level of cities like Agra, Kanpur and Prayagraj. Moving down the scale:

Hathras, UP:

Chennai’s suburb of Perambur:

Still in Chennai-the lesser known suburb of Pattabiram:


Ernakulam, part of Kochi:

And this semi-ghost station which you can still visit:

Kalyani near Kolkata:

Katni in MP:

This is supposed to be illustrative and not comprehensive. Other not-so-large cities with 3 or more stations can be thought of, such as Salem, Bareilly etc

Common names in India and Pakistan

The two Hyderabads are well known:

Older timetables mention these as Hyderabad (Deccan) and Hyderabad (Sind). I could not find pictures of these older signs.

Then there is Gujarat state in India and this place in Pakistan’s Punjab:

Sheikhpura in Bihar and in Pakistan’s Punjab:

Here the one in Pakistan is more important, as it has held Test matches.

You should also know that this is where Shakepeare is from. Do not believe the Tamilians who say he was Seshappa Iyer.

Kartarpur in India’s Punjab and Pakistan’s Punjab:

The latter one is the one which is more famous now.

Kutch district in India and Babar Kachh in Baluchistan:

Now the outskirts of Delhi and the outskirts of Lahore:

At the end, we have Ziro in Arunachal and Zero Point in Sind. The latter has been renamed Marvi more recently.

Afterthought: Gadra Road station on the way to Munabao used to serve Gadra town in Sind about 15 km away across the border.