Bypasses of the Indian Railways

Many important stations of the Indian Railways have bypasses. These are used to reduce congestion, and especially where a reversal is eliminated.

While some are used mainly by goods trains, there is an increasing trend for more large junctions to be bypassed. In most cases a smaller station nearby is used as the “proxy” for long-distance trains to stop. Examples are Perambur for a few trains which skip MAS, Sevagram for Wardha Jn, Uslapur for Bilaspur, Pathankot Cantt (ex Chakki Bank) for Pathankot.

Here is a pdf file for all of the bypassed stations which I could think of. Additions and corrections are welcome.

Let us not consider “area bypasses” such as Vasai Road-Panvel or Gudur-Renigunta-Katpadi or Kharagpur-Asansol.

Bypasses on IR1

Perhaps we can think of a few more places where bypasses would be useful, such as Sawai Madhopur.

Trivia: the first custom-built bypass was probably the one at Shoranur which was commissioned in the early 1940s. Others which came up over the years due to realignments etc would be Allahabad-Chheoki and Podanur, (Yes, I know that the lines around Coimbatore have a complex history).

The Jodhpur State Railway of 1943

Apart from the North Western Railway, the Jodhpur State Railway was split between India and Pakistan after Partition.

From a Bradshaw of 1943, we see that JoSR covered in four pages:

Jodhpur State railway 1943-1

Jodhpur State railway 1943-2

Readers from India will be familiar with the extensions and conversions on the Indian side. The lines which went to Pakistan are highlighted on the first two pages.

The line from Hyderabad to Mirpur Khas was converted in the late 1960s, and further to link with the Indian BG system in 2006. A new station (Zero Point) was built exactly on the Pakistani side of the border, between Khokhropar and Munabao.

The Thar Express covers the stretch from Munabao to Zero Point, with connecting points to Bhagat-ki-Kothi (near Jodhpur) and Karachi plus intermediate stops at Mirpur Khas and Hyderabad.

The other metre gauge lines shown in the first two pages were never converted and appear to be closed. A PR timetable of the early 2000s showed weekly trains on the Pithoro loop and one every 15 days on the Nawabshah branch.

The line to Zahidan has around the same frequency, but it still survives in the hope that it will be useful for Pakistan-Iran trade.

Which name is correct?

In some stations, the signs at different places show different names:

SakleshpurSakaleshpur

Sakleshpur is supposed to the correct spelling.

I have seen signs of Hafizpet and Hafizpeta coexisting.

And in Chennai:

 

Washermanpet is listed in official sites. And the Hindi signs seem to agree.

Chromepet is the official name, which is logical as there is or was the Chrome Leather Factory nearby. But today all signs gave been changed:

Chrompet

More peculiar is the station which is listed as Dalhousi Road (which is wrong as the town and the Governor-General were spelt Dalhousie). And the station sign is more correct than the official listing:

Dalhousie Road

Finally, the official name is Atari, but signs mainly show Attari:

To make things more confusing, the Punjab government has renamed the station Atari Shyam Singh in 2015, though it appears that the Centre has not approved of this .

Similarly, you will still see Allahabad and not Prayagraj. (There are also Prayag Jn and Prayag Ghat which are different). There are numerous photoshopped pictures of the new signs on the net, but no genuine pictures of the new signs where Prayagraj has replaced Allahabad.

(While on this topic, note the continued existence of IIT Madras, IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta).

Tail piece: note the mismatch between Hindi and Bengali here:

Nangi

 

India’s ghost airports

Every now and then (since the 1970s if not earlier) we have been hearing about the upcoming revolution in Indian aviation. After all, India is supposed to be the ultimate aviation market, and to help in that end there are literally hundreds of ghost airports which are practically unused.

Here is a news item from 2015. Not much has changed since then.

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/ludhiana-to-cooch-behar-an-inside-look-at-indias-ghost-airports

This may also be of interest:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/a-slice-of-history-indian-airlines-in-1972-and-the-tripura-hopper/

Rail Quiz-May 2019

This time it is with a focus on ancient history.

Answers included below. Best results were by Debatra Mazumdar and Jishnu Mukerji.

  1. Look at this old picture of Delhi JnDelhi Jn NWR

Is there something wrong with it? Why or why not?

(Nothing wrong. It was in the North Western Railway until 1948.)

2. You know about the Grand Chord via Gaya and Dhanbad. Why is the word “Grand” used? You know it is a chord line with respect to the “main line” via Patna, so what is grand about it?

(The first line connecting Calcutta to northern India was along the Ganga via Sahibganj and Bhagalpur. This was running by the end of the 1860s. The next shortening was from Burdwan to Kiul via Asansol and Jhajha, which was opened in the 1870s and was called the Chord line. When the distance was shortened still further from Asansol to Mughal Sarai via Dhanbad and Gaya, the route was called the Grand Chord.)

3. Sticking to the Grand Chord, a look at Google Maps or other large-scale maps would show a sharp S-curve at Gaya. Is there any logical reason for this? After all, you would not like to have sharp curves on an important line.

(The Patna-Gaya line was completed first. Naturally as the line was in a north-south direction, the terminus at Gaya was aligned that way. When the Grand Chord came along with its slight north-west direction, there had to be sharp curves. You can see similar curves while traveling north or south through Itarsi. Many similar examples are there.)

4. You know Khanalampura near Saharanpur, which is a newly opened electric loco shed. In the past it was the siteĀ  for one of the largest marshalling yards in India. Now Saharanpur does not seem to be that important a junction, so why was such a yard constructed there?

(It was the main junction for goods interchange between the EIR and NWR, the largest systems of undivided India. It even had the largest steam shunters, the 0-8-0 XGs. These tended to damage the tracks so they became the 2-8-2 XG/Ms.)

5. There are a number of sugar factories along the line between Saharanpur and Meerut. One of them has building with a sign “E.P. Rly 1951”. Explain what this means.

(After partition, the portion of the NWR remaining in India was called the East Punjab Railway. This covered practically all of the present Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and parts of UP and Rajasthan. By 1954 it became part of the new Northern Railway.)

6. On August 13, 1947 which was the northern-most station on IR?

(Dargai in NWFP, on a branch going north from Nowshera. It has been closed for several years now.)

7. On August 13, 1947 which was the western-most station on IR? It was not (and still is not) part of India or even Pakistan.

(Zahidan (and Mirjawa to its east). They are in Iran, and Zahidan (earlier Duzdap) was the western terminus of the NWR and thus IR. There was apparently no stoppage at the border then. At that time Nok Kundi in Baluchistan was the westernmost station of IR in India. Trains ran from Quetta to Zahidan. Today the line still functions but there does not seem to be more than one train in either direction in a week.)

8. Walajah Road is a relatively minor station now. But it has an important place in India’s railway history. Why? And what was its earlier name?

(The first passenger train in South India ran from Madras (Royapuram) to here in 1855. It was then called Arcot, although that town is some distance away and has not been connected by rail yet.)

9. Until Partition, which was the only stoppage for most express trains between Amritsar and Lahore? Why was it an important station?

(While Atari and Wagah stations existed, they were served only by slow passenger trains. The one stop was at Moghalpura (one stop east of Lahore Jn), which was an important railway centre with a number of workshops and offices. It was earlier called Meean Meer East and then Lahore Cantt East).

10. Which station on the former EIR was the site of a long siege during the War of Independence in 1857?

(Arrah (now Ara) to the west of Patna. It is covered well in most histories of the war. Though the besieged building may not have been the station building, it was close to the line being constructed and was largely manned by troops and others connected to the railways. Another well-known but shorter siege was near Bharwari station, west of Allahabad).

Bonus: What similarity do you see between Abu Dhabi airport and Castle Rock station?

(A bit complex. Castle Rock is last station in British India (Bombay province) and independent India (Mysore state, later Karnataka) before entering Goa. Naturally, this was an international border until the end of 1961. The Portuguese customs and immigration staff were posted here and conducted their checks, before passengers could continue their journey to Goa.

Now the US has a similar agreement with several airports such as Abu Dhabi, Dublin and Shannon in Ireland, and several others in the Caribbean and Canada. There is even one such post at Vancouver railroad station in Canada. The US CBP conducts their checks here. If they don’t like you, it saves them the problem of sending you back from the US. And they cannot arrest you either.)

Where passenger trains do not stop (2019)

Earlier we looked at stations where train services no longer exist:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/where-trains-do-not-run-any-more/

Here are some apparently full-fledged and manned stations where no passenger service exists in the timetables. There are various reasons why this could happen.

The examples in this post are certainly not an exhaustive list.

We start with this station in the middle of Jaipur:

Bais Godam.jpg

This lies south of Jaipur Jn on the way to Sawai Madhopur. It was in the timetables up to the early 90s. Now it is an active station which has the main yard for storing rakes of long distance trains based in Jaipur. But it is not in the timetable.

Near Hyderabad we have:

Pagidipalli

Pagidapalli looks like a real station. And it is a junction where the line to Nalgonda and Nadikude branches off from the Hyderabad-Kazipet line. But no passenger service has ever existed since it was opened around 1990.

Closer to Hyderabad there is:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hussain Sagar was a small junction mentioned in the timetables of the 1970s. Now the outlines of the platforms can be seen, but only the cabin still functions.

In Goa:

Dudhsagar was once in the timetable when it the Londa-Vasco section was MG. After conversion to BG a new platform was built as a viewing point. No passenger services are scheduled to stop at either, though unscheduled stops are common. Tourists make good use of these stops, even though leopards and other animals are known to roam the area.

No passenger train has scheduled stops at any point between Kulem and Castle Rock. Other stations on this section include this pair:

However, they have long sidings to cater to crossings of goods trains.

Sonaulim has somehow become Sonalium, which sounds like an exotic metal.

On the way from Kalyan to Igatpuri, the semi-stations of Thansit and Oombermali/Umbarmali have existed for decades but never appeared in timetables. Many trains (including EMUs going to Kasara) did stop there for technical purposes. Finally in 2018 they have become full stations:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/umbarmali-thansit-are-now-official-stoppages-for-trains-on-kalyan-kasara-line/story-VUuNtbJMc6Wt1mijYEEBDP.html

The stations have been improved, including new signboards which greet the EMUs between CSTM and Kasara which now have scheduled stops.

 

Umbarmali

Another station which had passenger services up to the 2000s was Singareni Collieries. It still has goods traffic. It is locally known as Yellandu station and is marked thus on Google Maps, although railway documents still mention the former station with code SYI. (These are screenshots from videos of news reports on Telugu channels).

Singareni2Singareni3

One more is Hubballi South:

Hubballi South

As you can see, the sign has recently been repainted as the name was changed from Hubli South. But no passenger train has been scheduled there for years.

Chakrakhwal is between Udhampur and Katra. Most trains stop there for crossing purposes in the middle of a single line section of 25 km. But these stoppages are not listed in the timetable.

This is in an unpopulated area. The station was located here as it was in the only flat area of a suitable length between the two stations.

Chakrakhwal

Finally, a near miss. This oddly-named cabin serves as an important junction near Salem, where the line to Bengaluru (besides Mettur Dam) takes off from the Coimbatore-Chennai route.

Magnesite

For a short period in 2017-18 one passenger train stopped at Magnesite Jn in one direction. Now that has vanished from the timetable.

Our last stop is at Kanpur, with a tangled web of stations:

Kanpur stations

We know Kanpur Central and perhaps Kanpur Anwarganj. But many residents of Kanpur have never seen the original Cawnpore which was built in the 1850s and served as the main station until around 1930, when Kanpur Central was built on the way to Lucknow. A loop line then connected Kanpur Central to the old line. The old Kanpur station (at the bottom of the map) saw no more passenger traffic, although goods trains continued to pass it:

Kanpur (old)

It can be easily visited, but you will have to approach by road.