Have you seen these lingams?

There are many places in India which have “Linga” or “Lingam” in their names. Here are few.

Probably the best known, a suburban terminus in Hyderabad.

This serves the famous temple near Bhubaneshwar

Near Chhindwara in MP

Near Guntur in AP

In Telangana

Near Guntakal in AP.

And finally, another one from AP:

While it is marked SCR, it is actually on ECoR.

All these places need to be given more importance now.

Meanwhile in Yorkshire:

Where no trains run now (West Bengal)

Pictures of stations in West Bengal state where no trains run today and are unlikely to run in future.

Kolkata area:

Howrah Maidan, once the terminus for the Martin light railways

Moving away from Kolkata, we have these from the Martin lines:

You can just make out Panpur.

From the NG line from Krishnanagar to Nabadwip Ghat.

This is supposed to be replaced by a BG line on a different alignment, which will cross the Bhagirathi river to Nabadwip Dham.

This neighboring station is also likely to be closed:

Coming to North Bengal, this border station was replaced by New Gitaldaha soon after partition:

More notes from Jammu and Kashmir

The northern-most railway station in India is Sopore, at lat 34.26 N. The terminus of this line is Baramula, at 34.22 N

It seems unlikely that any line will be built further north. If the railway finally reaches Leh, it will still be at around the same latitude as Srinagar.

The northernmost station:

and the northernmost terminus:

You know that Ghum (near Darjeeling) is the highest station in India at 2258 M, which is on narrow gauge.

And Udagamandalam is the highest on metre gauge, at 2210 M.

The highest on broad gauge is in Kashmir, where the little-known station of Hiller Shahabad (between Banihal and Qazigund, just north of the tunnel) is at 1757 M

You may notice something odd about the Hindi inscription.

However, if a line to Leh gets built it will reach at least 3500 M which will be by far the highest point on the Indian Railways.

Our last stop today is a remnant of the old Sialkot-Jammu line, which must have shut down soon after Partition.

Here you can see the services listed in June 1944:

In the middle section, we can see that services were limited to two pairs of passenger trains between Wazirabad and Jammu via Sialkot.

The international border between Pakistan’s Punjab and the present UT of Jammu and Kashmir fell between Suchetgarh and Ranbirsinghpura, 15.86 miles from Jammu and 9.08 miles from Sialkot (approximately 25.5 and 14.6 km respectively). However, it appears that a part of Suchetgarh town is in India.

The last station on the Indian side can still be seen:

You can just make out the station name.

The history of this line after partition is not properly documented. Probably services would have stopped shortly after partition, and the rails on the Indian side would soon have been pulled up as the route was not useful. Meanwhile, the Indian BG network crept up from Pathankot to Madhopur (Punjab) and Kathua, reaching the new Jammu Tawi station in 1972.

The first (?) railway in Arunachal Pradesh

As you know, the first (?) railway terminus in this state is Naharlagun which serves the capital Itanagar. There is also an intermediate station Gumto between Harmuti Jn (in Assam) and Naharlagun.

For a long time it used to be said that Bhalukpong was the first station in the state. While Bhalukpong town is in Arunachal Pradesh and spills in to Assam, the station is in Assam and just short of the border. That is what Google Maps shows.

However, there is no Assamese inscription on the sign, which would be there if it was in Assam. Also note that the sign says Bhaluk Pong (2 words) in English and Hindi.

It may be more correct to say that Naharlagun is the first important station in the state, as traffic to Bhalukpong was generally low and was suspended for long periods.

However, the first railway line to be laid in Arunachal Pradesh is a stretch of about 500 M between Dimow and Dipa on the Dhemaji-Murkong Selek section. It is not known whether the state government keeps an eye on infiltration on this route.

The first major station:

And the pretender:

Stations in the news-Jul 2021

The section from Mahesana to Varetha has been converted to broad gauge and electrified. The last station on the MG route Taranga Hill is now off the railway map.

The route includes Vadnagar and its famous tea stall. Read this:

The new look of Vadnagar station:

The new terminus at Varetha as it earlier was:

Presumably it has been improved now.

And the now abandoned station of Taranga Hill:

Until recently these DMUs were the only trains running between Mahesana and Taranga Hill. In the 1970s there was also a passenger train from Ahmedabad.

The vortex in Bhortex, and other stories

An average railfan would have seen the station of Bhortex in the WR timetable, and wondered how this “non-Indian” spelling came there. However, this is what you will see there:

This is in Maharashtra, on the Surat-Bhusaval section. You can see that it is spelt Bhortek (in English, Hindi and Marathi). A look at maps of the area confirms this. In fact, the timetable entry changed to Bhortex some years ago. It looks like a clerical error by the timetable department. But no one has bothered to change it. Bhortex also remains in the RBS site.

Another persistent error relates to this station:

This is in Punjab, near the Punjab-HP border on the Kangra Valley line. Anyone slightly familiar with Indian history would realize that the spelling is correct. This station serves the hill station of that name. But the NR timetables and the RBS site have chopped the last E for several years, and display Dalhousi Road today. This would again been a clerical error which no one has bothered to correct.

Now to Jharkhand, on the Gomoh-Daltonganj branch and not far from McCluskieganj we have:

The station is listed as Gumia. In the locality both Gumia and Gomia are used, especially as the only large industrial unit there uses Gomia. It appears that the local practice was initially to spell it Gumia, though Gomia became more widespread since the 1960s. Now even the station sign says Gomia, but the timetables and RBS still stick to the old name.

There are many instances of British names becoming Indianized, such as Worsleyganj becoming Waris Aleganj and McDonald’s Choultry becoming Magudan Chavadi. But there is one odd example from Bareilly in UP. You would have heard of the divisional headquarters at Izatnagar. Or is it Izzatnagar?

When you reach this station, you will see these signs:

So which is correct? In the vicinity you will see both varieties being used in shops and offices.

It was indeed Izatnagar to start with, named after a British railway manager named Alexander Izat. There is also an Izat Bridge elsewhere on the NER near Allahabad. But somehow the word “Izzat” crept in, and now features in the timetable and RBS.

But we can see that no one in the railways seems to care if the signs with different spellings are standing in close proximity.

More about Mr Izat and the Izat bridge here:


Other misspellings have lasted for a few years before being corrected. Examples would be “Duckyard Road” for this:

This is in Mumbai on the Harbour Branch. Far away in the Nilgiris, this station

was listed as “Hillgroove” for some years. (These mistakes may have been because “duckyard” and “groove” are valid English words).

There are, of course, numerous stations where you will find signboards with different spellings, often on the same platform. Some well-known ones are Hafizpet/peta and Washer(man/men)pet which you can still see today.

We close with a station in a relatively remote part of Rajasthan, between Bandikui and Bharatpur. It is listed as Tarchhera Baraoli Ran. This is what you will see there:

So someone, either at the NWR headquarters or the local painter has messed up.

But if you check Google maps for this locality (at 27.21 N, 77.10 E) it is shown as Talchera Baraoliran. That is what the sign says. So the timetable is wrong again.

Now, does this really matter to most people including railway passengers of the area? Not really, since they usually know where they are going regardless of what the timetable or sign says.

But it does seem to show that the station sign is more likely to be correct than the official website or timetable.

Anyone seeking to create a practical railway guide or map should keep this in mind. In most cases pictures of the sign can be found in the site https://indiarailinfo.com/ at the entry for the particular station.

India’s far north

Those familiar with the Indian Railways would know that the northern-most station is Sopore (lat 34.26 N). It is just ahead of the terminus at Baramula (34.22).

It is uncertain if any further railway lines in this area will be built in the next few years. One plan included a connection to Kupwara (34.53) which should be the northern-most station in India if the line is built.

Meanwhile, the northern-most station which is connected to the rest of IR’s network is SMVD Katra at 32.98

The title of the northern-most junction is a tie between Pathankot and Bharoli which are at 32.27. This is a tie when latitudes are measured to 2 decimal places.

The northern-most airport with regular commercial flights is Leh (34.14) which is just ahead of Srinagar (33.99)

The northern-most airport with regular military transport flights is Daulat Beg Oldi (35.39) It is said to be 8 km south of the border with China. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daulat_Beg_Oldi

There may be helicopter landing grounds in the Siachen Glacier at still higher latitudes.

Down South

Completing our study of station names including directions.

The word South is Dakshin/Dakshina/Dakkhin in several languages including Hindi, Bengali, Kannada and Telugu.

This listing is not supposed to be comprehensive.

We start with

Here, South is transliterated into both languages.

Similarly here:

This pair from Andhra Pradesh is more interesting:

In the older sign above, South is transliterated into both languages.

In the newer sign, the correct Hindi and Telugu words are used.

And this station does not appear to have any passenger services.

The correct Hindi and Kannada words have been used here.

“South” also appears in the middle of a name, like in this station on the Kanpur-Banda section:

Guest appearances:

This was known as Ernakulam South from the late 1930s to the late 1950s. However, a fair number of local people persist in using the old name (as in the case of Ernakulam Town) which still causes trouble to visitors.

Simlarly, Ashokapuram was earlier known as Mysore South (long before Mysuru appeared).

There are a number of stations in Bengal which start with Dakkhin. The best known must be:

However, the place name may not originally have anything to do with the word South.

Another is

There is indeed a better-known Barasat in the Kolkata area, though this station is far from there.

One may argue that this (below) is not really a separate station. But you can see this sign inside the Sealdah complex:

Thanks to S Aravind, Ganesh Iyer and others for their suggestions.

Up North

There seems to be only one station with “North” as a prefix:

While North is transliterated into Hindi, the word Uttor in Assamese is used.

Due to space constraints, the name in English is written as a single word.

Also in Assam there is

where North is transliterated into both Hindi and Assamese.

In the vicinity of Visakhapatnam there is

Here, the word for North is a prefix both for Hindi and Telugu.

Next to Coimbatore:

Interesting. The Tamil word Vadakku is used here, which is then transliterated into Hindi. There are several better-known instances like this in the Chennai area.

In Kerala, there is Vadakara (formerly Badagara).

The word Vadaka is North in Malayalam. However, the place name may not have intended to say this.

There are a few others like this in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Still in Tamil Nadu:

It is easy to check that the station and locality are “North”. However just the initial for N is used in all three languages.

Finally, this station was known as Ernakulam North from the time it was opened in the late 1930s until the late 1950s.

Local people still habitually refer to it as North station, which can cause problems to outsiders who do not know this. Like the case of Cantt station for Varanasi Jn.

Kalupur for Ahmedabad and Nampalli for Hyderabad are different cases since these stations never officially had these names.

Thanks to Ganesh Iyer and Milan Chatterjee for more ideas.

East is East

Here we explore the stations in India with the suffix “East”. There do not seem to be any with the prefix.

It is not supposed to be a comprehensive list.

The best known one is Bengaluru East:

Including its predecessor above.

Here, the Hindi word and Kannada word seem to be correct translations.

Now to smaller places like Kundara in Kerala:

While Hindi is correct, Malayalam is still East transliterated.

Next to Andhra Pradesh:

Hindi and Telugu appear to be correct.

Tamil Nadu is more complicated. We start with a smaller city:

This was the old station for ages, until a new Kanchipuram station came up to its west. The Tamil word “Kizhaku” seems to be correct.

But Madurai East is different:

Here, a short form similar to E Madurai has been used unlike in the case of Kanchipuram.

Salem East was a small station closed long ago. And Tirupati East became Tirupati even earlier, probably in the 1960s.

It is interesting to see that naming conventions vary even within the same state.

Tailpiece: East can be a middle word, as in Sone East Bank up to the 1940s. Now it is Son Nagar:

Why does this station exist? – an introduction

If you look closely at the major railway routes in South Asia and elsewhere, you will notice fairly large railway facilities at places which were not important towns to begin with. So there must have been some reasons for locating these stations at a particular place.

Sometimes the reasoning was clearly stated. In the earlier days of the East Indian Railway the large workshops and training centres were set up at Jamalpur in Bihar. The EIR administration did say that they did not want the junior employees to be distracted by the bright lights of Calcutta.

Another peculiar station was Barog on the Kalka-Shimla route. This station does not have much population in the vicinity and exists primarily to provide food to the passengers. (Although there is a larger town Solan few km away),

On the micro scale, crossing stations needed to be set up for the convenience of smooth running on single line sections. There are literally hundreds of such stations all over the country. For example, persons familiar with the Haridwar-Dehradun area would know Motichur and Kansrao stations which exist only for crossing purposes.

Junctions would need to be set up where important routes met. Other stations with coaling and watering facilities for steam locos would need to be set up at certain intervals. Sometimes this could be done at the junctions. If not, a large station would have to be set up at a place which was not already a junction. The criteria for location would be that it would be 100-250 km from the nearest station with similar facilities.

We will look at such stations on the trunk routes in subsequent blogposts.

Dead Centre

A continuation of “Go West, young man”

There are 5 large stations in India with the suffix “Central”:

Strarting with the northernmost, we then move down to:

Where the word Central is transliterated to Hindi and Marathi.

It may not be commonly known that the local station existed before the terminus was opened in 1930. It was earlier called Bellasis Road.

Down the west coast to:

In Hindi and Kannada here.

Further along the coast to:

While the top inscription looks like a single word, it does include “central” transliterated into Malayalam.

And finally to

Which is now

Has the Tamil inscription for Central changed? In the old sign it follows the trend of transliteration from English. In the new sign the correct (?) term “Mattiya” is the first word of the 3rd line, while the Hindi sign is like all the others. (Though one character in the old sign looks quite odd).

There is also a Metro station in Kolkata called Central:

Where Central is transliterated into Bengali.

Onwards to East, South and North.