Stations in different countries with the same name

(Pictures are copyright of the respective photographers):

Here we limit ourselves to South Asia, but we still find a number of examples:

The most well-known pair is:

Hyderabad

Hyderabad Sind

(Possibly the signs would have read Hyderabad (Deccan) and Hyderabad (Sind) in the past.)

Followed by the Indo-Bangladesh pair of:

Jamalpur station

Jamalpur Town (new)

This is near Mymensingh.

Another very similar pair:

Biman BandarDhaka Biman Bandar

The first one is adjacent to Dum Dum airport in Kolkata. It is presently closed, although a Kolkata Metro line will open there.

Then we have a small station in Karimganj district of Assam, and a large junction being built near Faridpur in Bangladesh

Bhanga AssamBhanga (BD)-1Bhanga (BD)-2

The station is not fully functional yet, but you can see the nearby police station which has the sign “Bhanga thana, Faridpur”.

Then we have this station in the Indian side of the Thar desert, which once served a town which is a few km away but in Pakistan:

Gadra Road

This town in Pakistan’s Punjab has nothing to do with the state in India:

Gujrat (Pakistan)

Similarly this town in Pakistan’s Punjab has the name of a river which flows for a considerable distance through India:

Jhelum

An Indian PM (not Manmohan Singh) was born near here.

There was also a long-closed Kachh station in Baluchistan, on the Chappar Rift line.

Kolpur and Kolhapur:

This station in Bangladesh will soon get an Indian counterpart nearby:

Hili

Hili on the Indian side will be connected to Balurghat.

There is also a long-closed Belonia station in Bangladesh which served the town of that name in Tripura. Meanwhile a new line extending south from Agartala has a station on the Indian side:

Belonia

Going beyond South Asia, there will be a few more matches in the Commonwealth countries and the US. Wellington in the Nilgiris and Wellington in New Zealand comes to mind. Then there is Salem in Tamil Nadu and Salem in Oregon which does have Amtrak service, while the better known Salem in Massachusetts has local commuter service.

 

 

 

Unusual station signs

Here we look at some stations and station signs in India which have something unique or nearly unique about them.

This idea occurred following the announcement of this new station:

Bhubaneswar New

There are numerous stations with the prefix New, especially in the NF zone. But this is the first station name where New is a suffix.

And there is only one important station which has Old as a prefix:

Old Malda

“Old” is transcribed into Hindi and Bengali and not translated.

(There is also an Old Sachivalaya Halt on the Patna-Digha branch. The line’s future is uncertain. There is a better-known Sachivalaya Halt on the Patna-Danapur section.)

Similarly, we look at the points of the compass. At the center there are several stations which have Central as a suffix. But none have Central as a prefix.

We have better luck with North as a prefix:

North Lakhimpur

Interesting that North is transcribed into Hindi but the Assamese word “Uttor” is used.

None for East or South either. For West, we have this one near Kozhikode:

West Hill

Here, West and Hill have been transcribed into Hindi and Malayalam and not translated.

There used to be a Westpoint Halt near Darjeeling listed in older timetables. That used to serve a school with this name.

Finally, this station in the Hyderabad area:

Sanathnagar

There is nothing unusual about the station sign. The station itself is unusual, as a large number of EMUs of the Hyderabad MMTS do not stop there, but many regular passenger trains and a couple of expresses do stop there.

The reason is not very clear. It has been around for a long time and has a large goods yard. Maybe because road access was difficult, a new MMTS station was built at Bharatnagar about 1 km away which is served by the EMUs but not by other passenger trains. This is probably unique in India as a station which EMUs skip but where long-distance trains have a stoppage.

And there is something od(d) about this station, which is one of the two stations in India (along with Ib) which have two-letter names. It was listed as Ode in older timetables.

Od

Note the famous railway writer Vimlesh Chandra in this picture.

The ultimate multilingual signs in India

There are at least two station signs in India which have signs in 5 languages. They are not far apart, but in different states:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARaichur station-5 languages

The upper one is in Telangana, and the lower one is in Karnataka. While traveling from Mumbai to Chennai you will pass both. Raichur is about 26 km to the south of Krishna. Many express trains stop at both, taking about 40 minutes between them.

However, there is this one from the 1940s:

Vizianagaram ( very old)

This is in the north-eastern part of Andhra Pradesh, not far from Odisha. In the 1940s it was part of the Madras Presidency which stretched all the way to Odisha (including Chatrapur where it is said that Alan Turing was conceived.)^

So you see Telugu, Odiya, Hindi, English and Urdu.

Some years later we see:

Vizianagaram (old)

Still 4 languages, with Urdu gone. The English spelling has changed slightly. This would be some time after 1966. But it was never on the South Central Railway.

Today it looks like this:

Vizianagaram

 

This follows the usual three-language formula. Odiya has also departed.

Those familiar with Indian cricket would have heard of this place because of this person:

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

As he was the second son of the ruler, his official title was Maharajkumar and not Maharaja. He is generally known for being an incompetent cricketer and commentator, though he did play some useful role in administration.

^ Alan Turing’s father was in the Madras Presidency cadre of the ICS, and was posted in places which are now in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. He was posted in Chatrapur at the time Alan was conceived. His mother then went to England where he was born in 1912, and he never visited India.

The land of long names

Undivided Andhra Pradesh was the land of long and unpronounceable place names. Make special note of the full names of Shivrampally and Jogulamba at the end. Shivrampally has to accommodate 4 languages on its board.

Bugganipalle Cement

MachilipatnamVenkatTondalagopavaram

 

ShrungavarapukotaSingareni1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

NPA Shivrampally_crop

 

 

 

More renamed stations (Revised Feb 2019)

We have earlier covered stations which have been recently renamed in Karnataka. Here we take up a few more which have been renamed in the recent past, as well as those which were supposed to be renamed but have so far not been changed.

Starting with Sunam in Punjab, named after one of its famous sons:

Farah Town (between Mathura and Agra) now appears in railway databases as Deen Dayal Dham. Pandit DDU was born in that area.

Farah TownDeen Dayal Dham

While the renaming of this small station did not attract much attention in the media, this one certainly did as it is a major junction:

Similarly, Gurgaon is now officially Gurugram but the Railways have not made any changes yet.

Mhow has been renamed:

Mhow was the birthplace of Dr. Ambedkar. His family was originally from Maharashtra, but his father was serving in the armed forces at Mhow.

And yet another one near Bhopal (thanks to the photographer who furnished this two-in -one picture).

Bairagarh and successor

This station (SHRN) has now gained importance due to a Bhopal bypass from Nishatpura yard (north of Bhopal Jn) to this station on the west towards Ujjain, Indore and Nagda. It therefore acts as a proxy for Bhopal.

Robertsganj in eastern UP was renamed Sonebhadra.

Near Kanpur we have Panki renamed Panki Dham:

Jagadhri (between Saharanpur and Ambala) has become Yamuna Nagar-Jagadhri. This has some logic as Yamunanagar is the larger and better known of the two.

Jagadhri Workshop station remains unchanged.

Malkhedi was renamed Bina Malkhedi, after a new bypass line caused many long-distance trains to skip Bina and stop at this station instead:

A similar case is seen in the bypass station of Chheoki, which has become Allahabad Chheoki to reduce confusion among passengers. However, unlike Bina Malkhedi, Chheoki was there since British times and was used by a limited number of trains such as the Imperial Mail. It was not used for a long time and started reappearing in timetables from the 2000s.

From Mumbai we have:

Elsewhere, a new station was supposed to be named Oshiwara. At the last moment it was changed to:

Ram Mandir station

Another change was first reported in 2009 but has not occurred yet. Silchar was to be renamed  Bhasa Shahid Silchar. It remains as it is:

Silchar station

A nice new building has come up recently:

Silchar exterior

However someone has put this little sign near the station entrance. So far it has not been disturbed:

Silchar Bhasa Shahid

The story behind this would be known to anyone familiar with the history of Cachar and adjoining districts.

 

Food on rails

You may have already read about fruit on rails:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/fruit-on-rails/

Today we explore some more station names associated with food. (This is mainly confined to Hindi and Bengali speaking areas, and there are probably other names which I have missed).

We start with food itself:

Khana

Muri (or murmura in Hindi):

Muri Jn

which rhymes with

Puri

Non-vegetarians would be interested in this:

Bheja

Other items of interest:

Machilipatnam

Non-vegetarians would also keep an eye on this:

Kala Bakra

A station once existed here on the Cutch State Railway:

tuna-kachchh

Cooking utensils are not neglected:

Tandur

 

A variety of sweet items:

The third one is Shakar Nagar, if you missed it.

Still more items of interest:

103878452

There was probably an Englishman named Currey, but we let that pass.

Some near misses: You should be able to get dhokla here as it is in Gujarat:

Dholka

(Dholka).

And you might get tuna here as it is near the coast:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And cinnamon (dalchini) here:

Kalchini

When a king ate a lot of rice, this place in Bengal was named

Rajabhat Khawa

Finally, you can proceed to this place

Bar

where you may find drinks sounding similar to

Mahua Milan

and

Margherita

Then this place in Bangladesh, not Goa:

Feni

We are not done yet. In Pakistan, you will see this place on the way up the Bolan Pass:

Mach (2)

I wonder if Bengalis going to Quetta were able to find fish at the station restaurant.

In Bangladesh itself, there used to be a station called Raita near the Hardinge Bridge.

http://www.maplandia.com/bangladesh/khulna-div/kushtia-zl/raita/

From Sri Lanka, we have the closest one for honey:

Madhu Road

(Thanks to Vimlesh Chandra for inspiration).

Fruits are left out here, but they are covered in the earlier post referenced at the start.

Views of the Indian Railways in 1944

Some collections on the net include pictures taken by US servicemen serving in India during World War 2. A few samples:

Thadi (very old)

This is between Visakhapatnam (then Waltair) and Rajahmundry. It now looks like this:

Thadi (new)

Like most of the Golden Quad, the route is now double-tracked and electrified. This station was then on the Madras & Southern Mahratta Railway, then Southern Railway and now the South Central Railway.

Another one from the East Coast. Probably this city is more well known because of its cricket connection:

Vizianagaram ( very old)

Note the presence of 5 languages including Urdu and Telugu. It was then part of the Madras Presidency which extended up to Chatrapur in present-day Odisha. This station was then on the Bengal Nagpur Railway, later the Eastern Railway for a short time, then South Eastern and finally the East Coast Railway.

Here is another picture some years later (maybe the 1970s):

Vizianagaram (old)

By now it was part of Andhra Pradesh. Someone seems to think it was on the South Central Railway, but it never was. It still had Odiya due to its closeness to the state border. This is what it looks like today:

Vizianagaram

 

By now it strictly follows the 3-language format with the local language at the top, followed by Hindi and English. However, a number of stations close to the state borders still have signs in the language of the neighboring state. Examples can be found in Jharkhand (Bengali), Kerala/Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka/Telangana among others.

This one also dates from 1944 and is better known:

Sealdah 1944

This is obviously Sealdah as in those days all destinations to the east of the Hooghly were covered by the Sealdah-based Eastern Bengal Railway. At that time it had been merged with the Assam Bengal Railway to form the Bengal & Assam Railway, which itself ceased to exist at partition. However, East Pakistan used the title of Eastern Bengal Railway for all lines in its territory until 1961. The remnants lying in India essentially became the Sealdah Division of the East Indian Railway and then the Eastern Railway.

Most trains from Calcutta to the East ran via the Ranaghat-Darsana route which is still used by the Maitri Express. The border station of Gede did not exist then.

Trains going to the Jessore and Khulna side went via Bongaon-Benapol. The border station of Petrapol came up later.

I am trying to reconcile these timings with a Bradshaw of 1943 and will write more about the routes of these trains later. For the Darjeeling Mail route, see here

The Khulna route is described here

Rail Quiz No 5

The earlier quizzes can be found in the archives of this blog.

Like the earlier ones, the questions relate to a set of station signs. Copyrights for the pictures rest with the original photographers.

A) What do these stations have in common?

DarjeelingMatheranSheopur Kalan

If you have got the answer to A), that will help you to get the answers to the subsequent questions:

B1):

AmtaBilara

 

B2):

BhindKishanganjShivpuri

What do the stations in B1) and B2) have in common with those in A) ?

What is the difference between the stations in set B1) and B2) ?

This is somewhat more complicated as some changes to stations in B1) and B2) occurred over 60 years ago.

THE ANSWERS: Darjeeling, Matheran and Sheopur Kalan are (the only) terminuses of branch lines on 2’0″ gauge. Amta and Bilara WERE terminuses of branch lines of 2″0″ gauge and are now BG terminuses. Shivpuri, Bhind and Kishanganj WERE terminuses of branch lines of 2″0″ gauge and are now BG wayside stations.

The first (mostly) correct answers were from Anuj Budhkar and Samit Roychoudhury.

Afterthought: In the picture of Sheopur Kalan you can see what may the last goods wagons on the 2’0″ gauge on IR. There may be some on the Darjeeling line but they are not in regular use either.

The infamous station of Seroni Road (why?) also lies on the line to Sheopur Kalan.

Seroni Road

Return to Karnataka (Revised December 2018)

If you are returning to Karnataka after a few years, you may find many railway stations with unfamiliar names. Here are all of the recently renamed stations for which pictures are readily available. Copyrights of the pictures rest with the respective photographers.

The only non-obvious one is Saidapur, formerly Narayanpeth Road.  As the station now named Chikkamagalur was opened as recently as 2013, I am not sure if it ever had the original name of Chikmagalur. The sign at Kalaburagi is the most recent one to be changed.

Then there are a few stations which are supposed to be renamed, although no pictures of the new signboards could be seen on the net until mid-December 2018. These existing stations are:

Shimoga

While Shimoga Town and two nearby stations have been renamed in railway databases, no picture of the new station signs have turned up so far.

Here is a notification issued by the South Western Railway:

SWR Karnataka renaming

A few places such as MNGT and UBLS are not passenger stations. While SUBL looks like a passenger station, it does not seem to have passenger services at present.

This does not include Mangaluru Central and Mangaluru Jn which are on the Southern Railway. They have indeed been renamed and the signboards have been changed. Then there is Gulbarga/Kalaburgi which is on the Central Railway. While the new name can be seen on signs in the city, the name has NOT been changed in the databases and the signs remain unchanged.

And there are several which were renamed in the last 70 years or so, including Bowringpet, Sagara, Yedatore, Seringapatnam, Closepet and French Rocks. I may have missed out a few.

Mysore state was itself renamed to Karnataka in 1973. This was justified as the former princely state of Mysore was not the only constituent of the Kannada-speaking state, which also included Coorg (Kudagu) state and parts of the Bombay Presidency, Madras Presidency and Hyderabad state.

The goonda stations of Indian railways

This one is better known:

Gunda Bihar

It was in Bihar and is now in Jharkhand. It is on the way from Chandil to Muri. A number of express trains  pass this way, but only two pairs of passenger trains stop here-one between Tatanagar and Hatia and another between Tatanagar and Barkakana.

This one in Karnataka is nominally a junction, but has fallen on bad days. In fact it is no longer listed in the IR databases such as the RBS tables.

Gunda RoadGunda Road-2

You can see the branching of lines in these pictures. This station is on a branch running south from Hosapete (formerly Hospet). At this junction (which must qualify as one of the smallest and most rudimentary stations with the title of junction) short lines ran to Kotturu and Swamihalli. There used to be heavy iron ore traffic on the then metre gauge line from Swamihalli.

In due course these lines were converted to broad gauge. From Kotturu a new BG line was extended to Harihar, near Hubli on the Pune-Bengaluru route. It was then discovered that the slopes on the BG line between Gunda Road and Kotturu were too steep for safe running, so no train runs there. The line from Kotturu to Harihar has one pair of trains a day. Goods trains appear to run from Hosapete to Swamihalli though there seems to be a bypass around Gunda Road. No passenger service runs on this line.

By mid-2019, Gunda Road does not appear in the RBS tables. Instead, there is a new junction station called Vyasa Colony a few km to the north.

Then there are place names such as Ramagundam.

I don’t know about the etymology of the place in Jharkhand, but “Gundam” is a body of water in languages such as Kannada and Telugu. This would not have anything to do with the Japanese animes of the same name. And Karnataka had a CM called Gundu Rao.

 

Zeros and signboards

First take a look at this sign in Kerala:

Nilambur

Not too clear why the place name (Nilambur) was not written in English. This relatively small place is served by this station:

Nilambur Road

This station has the code NIL. This is one of the numerous synonyms for zero or nothing. Some of them are:

http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/zero

This list of synonyms became popular at the time of the Delhi elections in 2015, while discussing the results of the Congress party. The BJP fared better with 3 seats, which made it an “Auto rickshaw party” as its MLAs would fit in one. In various parts of the country there are other auto rickshaw parties where the entire membership fits in one.

Some are not originally in English but have come into common use. Like Nada in Spanish.

Appropriately, there is another zero-themed place name in Kerala:

Nadapuram Road

And the railway across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia (the route of the famous Indian Pacific:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullarbor_Plain#Railway_line

Then there is this place in Arunachal Pradesh:

Which is spelt both as Ziro and Zero. It has an airport which is supposed to have regular flights-at least, it did when Vayudoot was around:

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

Then there is Zero Road in Allahabad, which is perfectly logical:

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Zero-Road-in-Allahabad-India-called-so-Is-it-because-of-the-IST

Zero Bridge in Srinagar also has a perfectly logical explanation:

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

And of course there was actor Zero Mostel:

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

Even Salman Rushdie got into the act with the Maharani of Kooch Nahin, which must have been inspired by this place

Cooch Behar

although it is now served by this larger station:

New Cooch Behar

Finally, there is Zero Point station on the Pakistani side of the border which is reached via Munabao:

 

 

Travels in Chennai-ancient signboards

Our first stop is at Basin Bridge Jn (BBQ), where we have examples of ancient and modern signboards:

The food-minded may wish to hold a BBQ here, though you may have to first find a military hotel nearby.

Nearby there is Washermanpet, though the sign painters have some doubts about the name:

The official name is Washermanpet in the timetables. Also note the mis-spelling of the Hindi name. No picture of any new signboard seems to be available on the net.

Some years ago I have seen signs with Chromepet and Cromepet co-existing. Another well-known case is Hafizpet/Hafizpeta in the Hyderabad area.

An example of a run-down signboard in a totally run-down station:

Royapuram

Again, no picture of a new signboard is seen on the net. Tragic, as this station has the oldest surviving station building in India.  It was the first terminus in Madras where trains started running to Arcot (now Walajah Road) in 1856. The old terminuses in Mumbai and Kolkata had opened before this but the station buildings do not exist now. However, it now boasts a new electric loco shed.

Another station which is particularly obscure, as it does not seem to be mentioned in timetables even though it has a booking office which issues tickets. No picture of any new signboard can be located.

Pattabiram military siding