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.

Cheruvu MadhavaramMachilipatnamVenkatTondalagopavaramTadepalligudemOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASingareni3ShrungavarapukotaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANPA Shivrampally

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The longest railway tunnels in India-June 2018

The list of long railway tunnels in India have undergone frequent changes in recent years. Fortunately the Wikipedia article seems to have been kept up to date:

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

In undivided India the 3.92 km long Khojak tunnel in Baluchistan had been opened in 1892; for more details see :

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/the-rail-tunnel-in-baluchistan-which-appeared-on-a-currency-note/

This was in fact the longest rail tunnel in South Asia until the Konkan Railway opened in the late 1990s. As you can see from the above list, the majority of the long tunnels are on the Konkan route. The longest is the Karbude tunnel at 6.5 km.

Some other longer tunnels opened in recent years the Sangar tunnel (2.4 km) on the Jammu-Udhampur section and the slightly longer Khowai tunnel on the Karimganj-Agartala section which was recently converted from MG to BG. Other examples in the North-East included some old and new ones on the Lumding-Badarpur section, and some yet to come up in Manipur. One tunnel of 1.9 km length on the existing Lumding-Badarpur metre gauge alignment has been abandoned, although a longer one on 3.2 km has come up on the new BG alignment.

There are some older and shorter tunnels on the trunk lines, notably at Monkey Hill, Parsik, Saranda and Gurpa.

However, the longest tunnel on IR is the 11.2 km long Pir Panjal tunnel between Banihal and Qazigund which provides a link between Jammu and Srinagar. More details can be seen here:

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

Opened in 2013, it will be part of the main route into the Kashmir valley once the problem-ridden section between Katra and Banihal is completed in the next few years. At the moment it serves a number of DMU passenger trains between Banihal and Baramulla (though some run only upto Budgam just north of Srinagar). These trains seem to be popular with the local people at the Banihal end as they save a lot of time and distance compared to the road route between Banihal and Qazigund. And the rail route is far less likely to be disrupted by snow than the road route.

It is likely to be the longest rail tunnel in India for a long time to come. There is expected to be a 8-km long tunnel on the uncompleted Katra-Banihal section which would take over the second spot from the Karbude tunnel. It will still exceed the two long road tunnels under construction at the Rohtang Pass and Patnitop, although the latter would also result in a considerable saving in distance on the Udhampur-Banihal road route.

More renamed stations

We have recently 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. No picture of the new sign could be found.

Farah Town

It was also announced that Mughal Sarai would also be named after Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. But this does not appear in railway databases yet.

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

Mhow has been renamed:

Not sure what special connection Dr Ambedkar had with Mhow.

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

Bairagarh and successor

Robertsganj in eastern UP was to be renamed Sonebhadra. The Railways have not implemented this yet:

Robertsganj

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.

 

Reviving the Darjeeling Mail route?

Here are extracts showing the timetable of the Calcutta-Siliguri route in 1953:

Darj Mail 001

As you can see, the border line crossed the tracks between Chilhati and Haldibari stations.

Recent pictures of these stations:

Further south, the Radcliffe line crossed the tracks between Banpur and Darsana. Later Gede station was built closer to the border. (Similarly Petrapol station was built close to the border).

As we well know, the Maitri Express and some goods trains cross the Gede-Darsana border. Probably the Haldibari-Chilhati border will  be used for goods trains only. In case you are wondering, there have been many attempts by Indian governments over the years to get Bangladesh to allow transit for Indian road vehicles and trains to cross Bangladesh to reach North Bengal and the Northeast. They do not seem to like the idea. In fact, tourist visas issued to Indians invariably mention that you must enter and leave from the same point if traveling by land e.g. if you enter at Benapole you have to leave at Benapole.

Anyway, there are some interesting stories connected with the Haldibari-Siliguri section, which I will take up next.

 

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

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