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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaitan_Singh

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

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.

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?

ANSWERS BELOW:

  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. https://dmw.indianrailways.gov.in/
  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:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Matching station names: India and distant countries

A few examples of stations with the same names in India and distant countries:

Wellington in India, and the capital of New Zealand:

Salem in India and in Oregon, USA. Could not get a suitable picture for Salem in MA.

Riga in Bihar and the capital of Latvia:

Riga is covered in more detail here: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/railfanning-in-riga/

This is not exhaustive but just a few samples. For instance, there is Runneymede station in the Nilgiris which has counterparts in Britain and other Commonwealth countries*.

There are more examples from India and neigboring countries.

Multiple changes in station signs

There are some stations whose names have changed twice in the last few years.

We start with Karnataka, where we have:

And the better known:

Over to Uttar Pradesh:

Given a chance, there will be many more in the future.

Going a little further back:

Olavakkot Jn -> Palghat Jn -> Palakkad Jn

Palghat Town -> Palakkad Town

Or this trio from Vidarbha:

Wardha East Jn -> Sewagram Jn

Sewagram -> Varud

Paunar -> Seloo Road

From Jaipur:

Sanganer -> Sanganer Jn -> Getor Jagatpura

Sanganer Town -> Sanganer Town Jn -> Sanganer

(And these two locations are more than 10 km apart)

And now Sanskrit on station signs

There are a number of unusual languages which you could see on station signs in India, ranging from Dogri to Maithili to “Manipuri” to Ol-Chiki, which you can read about here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2019/11/26/unusual-languages-on-signboards-in-india/

But there were no signs in Sanskrit until now.

A little background first. Uttar Pradesh has had Hindi as well as Urdu as official languages for a long time. They had the status of co-official languages since 1989.

Sanskrit has been declared an official language in Uttarakhand as well as Himachal Pradesh. The latter state does not seem to have done much about introducing Sanskrit in signs, but Uttarakhand has.

Official languages in different states can be seen here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_with_official_status_in_India#List_of_scheduled_languages_of_India

And this news item from Uttarakhand:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/sanskrit-to-replace-urdu-at-uttarakhand-stations/articleshow/73365137.cms

The replacement of Urdu by Sanskrit in station signs has started. We first look at the state capital:

And another important town:

Rishikesh goes a step further. First the original sign:

Rishikesh-old

A new station will be opened shortly as part of the proposed new line to Karnaprayag. The original name was planned to be New Rishikesh:

New Rishikesh_crop

But it is now going to be:

Rishikesh (YN)_crop0

Not sure if Yogi Adityanath has anything to do with it, although he was originally from Pauri Garhwal district in Uttaranchal. Anyway, this is what the new station looks like.

And this new design of a station sign seems to use more material and space.

Another interesting point is that the Sanskrit inscription is on top unlike in the signs of Dehradun and Haridwar.

It is the normal practice to have the main local language on top followed by English and Hindi, as you can see here:

Does it mean that Sanskrit has more importance than Hindi in Uttarakhand? However, one can see that there is a lot of inconsistency in such matters.

There are numerous examples of places in India which carry languages of other states:

5 languages in this one in Karnataka:

Raichur station-5 languages

Also in Telangana:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Numerous examples of signs with 4 languages, which include those of neighbouring states:

kollengode-4

In Kerala-Tamil in the second row.

Pollachi

In Tamil Nadu-Malayalam on the right side.

Jamalpur station

In Bihar -Urdu still has official status, with Bengali also there:

Sini

Jharkhand -includes Odiya and Bengali

dav

Also in Jharkhand, with Urdu and Bengali

Also in Jharkhand: Bengali was in the old sign but not in the new sign.

Do you see any consistency 🙂

Finally, Himachal Pradesh also has Sanskrit as its official language. But they are not interested in changing the signs. And they have not deleted any language which was already there:

The “official” version can be seen in this news report. But the Sanskrit signs have appeared anyway before the writer noticed them:

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-how-indian-railways-names-stations-and-decides-on-languages-to-use-6505315/

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 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”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unusual languages on signboards in India

Dogri in Jammu:

Jammu Tawi (Dogri script)

Maithili in Darbhanga:

Darbhanga station Maithili

Also at Madhubani, although it does not seem to be on the platform signs:

Madhubani (Maithili)

These are in Manipur. While the residents of that state are called Manipuris, there is no language of that name. Experts from there will tell you that the signs are Meitei in Mayek script.

Jiribam-manipuriVangaichungpao-Dholakhal

Here is one language many of us would not have heard of:

Ghaghra (JH)

This is in Jharkhand, midway between Rourkela and Chakradharpur. This is the local script Ol’Chiki. Thanks to Pavel Ghosh.

In the neighborhood, here is a left-over Urdu sign in Bangladesh:

Boira (still trilingual)

And left-over signs in Gurumukhi script up in Khyber-Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan:

Landi Khana station todayShahgai (Khyber)

Remember that no train has been to Landi Khana since 1932, and not to Shahgai since around 2000.