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.