Quiz on old station names in India-1

Here we have a list of names of railway stations which were being used in timetables between the 1930s and 1970s.

Do you know the current names?

Answer in the Facebook comments section.

1. Begamabad

2.  Cambay

3.  Cannanore

4.  Chakki Bank

5.  Chicacole Road

6.  Chutiapara

7.  Contai Road

8.  Daman Road

9.  Ellis Bridge

10. Ellora Road

11. French Rocks

12. Futwah

13 Goya Gate

14 Hyderabad (MG)

15 Kankanadi

16 Kirkee

17 Kothapetta

18 Manipur Road

19 Margao

20 Mhow


Bad days for geography quizzers

Geography used to be a stable subject which did not need much updating. For many years the only genuine new country formed was Bangladesh, and the dubious Republic of Northern Cyprus a little later.

But quizzers in this line took a long time to recover from the twin shocks of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, which meant about 23 new countries which had to be memorized along with their capitals. The reunification of Germany and (earlier) Vietnam at least helped to REDUCE the number of countries to be studied.

Then people had flights of fancy, changing Swaziland to Eswatini (to encourage E-commerce?) Its neighbors had earlier made the switch from Bechuanaland and Basutoland to Botswana and Lesotho. Meanwhile a few other new countries such as Eritrea and South Sudan sneaked in when nobody was looking.

Then we have the renaming of cities in India. Many of them involved reverting from the British pronunciation to the original pronunciation (as in Calcutta-> Kolkata, Calicut -> Kozhikode and so on). This topic is enough for a few doctoral dissertations.

Now the rulers of India have bigger ideas, playing around with the names of larger entities. The creation of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir AND Ladakh was hailed as a masterpiece. So next comes a mini-masterpiece, the Union Territory (yes, just one) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu:


(It will take a while to figure out where the “and” and “&” will be used). Also, the people in these places do not seem to have asked for this reunification of the smaller bits of Portuguese India.

Perhaps there is a point here. How many of you can find D & NH on a map? Even if you can, do you know WHY it is an Union Territory? (Another interesting point is why Chandernagore is a part of West Bengal and not an Union Territory like the rest of French India); see


Vanished routes of the Indian Railways since 1975-Part 2-Former ER

Continuing our study of routes which were listed in the All India Timetable of 1975 but not now, or now  in substantially different form.

The route maps of the Indian Railways have undergone major changes since 1975.Construction of new lines, large-scale gauge conversion and the upgrading of many hitherto minor routes have all taken place.

Here we start with the All-India Time Table of November 1975 and see which lines have vanished from the passenger timetable.

The timetable was arranged in alphabetical order, so we started with the Central Railway as it then was. Next is the Eastern Railway.

Note that we are here using scans of scans, so some of the old timetables may not be as legible as we would wish.

At that time, the main ER timetables included the suburban lines. (The Metro was far in the future). One development was the two NG lines of McLeod & Co (Ahmadpur-Katwa and Burdwan-Katwa) being acquired by the government and transferred to the ER.

And parts of ER have become part of the new East Central Railway.

Now we look at what has vanished:


The trans-Ganga steamers were still plying. Here are the services between Manihari Ghat (linked to Katihar) and Sakrigali Ghat (linked to Sahibganj). This had only one pair of services daily.

While rail and road bridges have been opened at several places in this part of Bihar, there does not seem to be anything planned here.


Pandabeswar to Palasthali has been closed after Bhimgara for some years, due to subsidence caused by illegal mining. It is not likely to reopen.

Then there is the Andal-Gaurandi section. The Ikra-Gaurandi section is no longer part of IR. There may have been a non-IR siding earlier, but no track can be seen on Google Maps.


You can still travel from Dhanbad to Pathardih, but NOT via Jharia. As most of us know, underground coal fires have been burning since 1930 and show no sign of abating. This line was closed in 2005 and its future is uncertain. Rather, the future of Jharia is uncertain.

For background information see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jharia

Meanwhile, trains between Dhanbad take this route:

ER3 today

The section from Pradhan Khunta to Pathardih was not in the 1975 timetable, though it was used for goods.

Trains currently running on this route are:


and https://erail.in/trains-between-stations/pathardih-jn-PEH/dhanbad-jn-DHN


Finally, the steamer services between Monghyr (now Munger) and Monghyr Ghat (linked to Sahebpur Kamal). Today there is  a bridge on a different alignment. A new station for Munger has come up.

And finally, evidence that this is indeed from 1975.

A map of this area: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Munger,+Bihar+811201/@25.3936147,86.460869,14z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x39f1eee66aa3ebc7:0x1bcf4fdc391adc06!8m2!3d25.3747561!4d86.4735251

Trains now running across the Ganga via Munger:



The routes include a new junction at Sabdalpur, where lines separate towards Sahibpur Kamal on the west and Khagaria on the east.




Vanished routes of the Indian Railways since 1975-Part 1-Former CR

The route maps of the Indian Railways have undergone major changes since 1975.Construction of new lines, large-scale gauge conversion and the upgrading of many hitherto minor routes have all taken place.

Here we start with the All-India Time Table of November 1975 and see which lines have vanished from the passenger timetable.

The timetable was arranged in alphabetical order, so we start with the Central Railway as it then was. Many changes occurred since then, with part of the South Central Railway going back to CR in the late 70s, and CR itself losing substantial parts to the new North Central and West Central zones in the early 2000s.

Note that we are here using scans of scans, so some of the old timetables may not be as legible as we would wish.

CR1975-1 001

T 17: Majri-Rajur: The section between Majri and Wani is now part of the longer route from Majri to Pimpalkuti, Adilabad and beyond. Rajur still has goods services but not passenger services.

T19: Tadali-Ghugus: No passenger services, still has goods services.

CR1975-2 001

T22, 22A: Note the local trains between Pune and Dehu Road Depot, which is on a branch from Dehu Road. Passenger trains on this branch stopped long ago.

Note the footnote (for Contractor’s Labour, Military Department’s Workmen and Staff).

The future of some narrow gauge lines such as Murtazapur-Achalpur are uncertain at the moment.

I also added a major realignment where a number of stations went off the railway map. The Harsud realignment was caused by the reservoir of the large Indira Sagar dam. The Khandwa-Itarsi section, while not exactly being on the Golden Quadrilateral, does have heavy long-distance traffic from the Mumbai area to northern and eastern India.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harsud

Note the section after Khandwa here:

Harsud old

And compare it with this map (from the Great Indian Railway Atlas, 2015):

Harsud new

Note that the existing alignment up to Bir is still used for local passenger trains. This realignment has increased the route by 6 km.


Next comes ER (including suburban services).

Return from the dead: the Alnavar-Dandeli line

There are many small branch lines which have closed over the years. A few have been reopened, often after conversion. One such line was the former MG branch from Alanavar to Dandeli, both in north-western Karnataka on the SWR.

It was opened in 1919 by the M&SMR. Passenger traffic was low and it also handled freight from the West Coast Paper mills, served by a siding which took off a little before Dandeli.

The line does not appear in the Bradshaws of 1935 and 1943. Perhaps services were temporarily closed.

This is what we see from the US Army map of 1955:

Alnavar Dandeli map 1955

Here we can see the branch heading to the SW from Alnavar, which is east of Londa.  The stations of Shirgur and Dandeli are seen.

And this is the same area through today’s Google Maps:


Here you can see Shingatgeri and Ambewadi stations, and the line heading to the West Coast Paper mills from the latter. Expand the map if needed.

In timetables of the 1960s, we see

Alnavar; 14 km to Shingatgeri, 22 km to Shirgur Siding Halt and finally Dandeli (32 km). No Ambewadi station.

At this time there are two pairs of passenger trains between Alnavar and Dandeli.

By February 1994, this is what Bradshaw said:

Alnavar Dandeli 1994 001

Services had shrunk to a bare minimum. By then, BG conversion of Miraj to Bangalore had started in earnest and it was not thought worthwhile to convert this MG branch. Freight traffic must have dried up by then. Services were suspended some time in 1994 and nothing was heard from there until recently.

The line was converted to BG up to Ambewadi as well as the paper mills siding. According to a friend who was posted in that area in the mid-2000s, goods trains were running but there were no passenger services on the BG.

Public demand had grown in recent years, with the growth of tourism around Dandeli.

Dandeli toursm

Finally it was decided to convert the line to BG, but only up to a new station called Ambewadi 26 km from Alnavar:


A few days ago, a new passenger train was started between nearby Dharwad and Ambewadi. Here is its timetable:



The RBS table for this branch:

Alnavar Dandeli distance map

There are not many short branches which have been revived after being in a coma for 25 years.


Places in the news-Punjab

The centre of attention: Dera Baba Nanak and Kartarpur Sahib:


While the corridor is not marked yet, you can see DBN  and Kartarpur Sahib across the border. Also the station of DBN, served by local trains from Amritsar.

Dera Baba Nanak


Some of these locals start from Verka, the first station from Amritsar. Other special trains are presently running from Sultanpur Lodhi, another sacred place for the Sikhs.

On the other side of the border, there is a now disused station at Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, which lies on the line from Narowal to Chak Amru.

Darbar Sahib Kartarpur

This was served by local trains until the early 2000s, when the trains serving this station had dwindled to one pair of trains on Sunday:

Kartarpur (Pak) TT 001

In happier times (from the 1943 Bradshaw) we have these trains in the same area:

NWR around Amritsar-1943 001


On the top right, the local trains between Amritsar and Narowal and Sialkot via DBN and Jassar (across the border). Wartime shortages must have reduced this to one pair of trains a day.

On the bottom right, the one train a day between Lahore and Chak Amru via Narowal, Jassar and Darbar Sahib Kartarpur. Those familiar with the 1971 war would remember the battles around Shakargarh. Chak Amru station was captured by the Indian army and was returned soon after the war.

Finally, the other Kartarpur which lies between Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Kartarpur India

Footnote: there is a place called Jassur on the Kangra Valley line, although the station’s name is Nurpur Road.


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).