The trains of Madras in 1958

Recently a Madras suburban timetable of the 1950s (probably 1958) surfaced on the IRFCA forum. This had a page showing the arrivals and departures of long-distance trains at Madras Central and Madras Egmore:

Madras 1958

No Rajdhanis, Shatabdis or Durontos, although there are Janata Expresses. See how many of these trains have survived, often with new names.

Madras itself has become Chennai. Stations such as Waltair, Bezwada, Arkonam, Bangalore, Jalarpet, Bombay, Mangalore, Conjeevaram, Madura, Trivandrum and Tinnevelly have long been renamed, while no train has run to Dhanushkodi since December 1964. Vizagapatnam Town station also closed around the same time.

Let us not talk about the present name of Madras Central.

Note the Tuticorin Express which came to grief near Ariyalur in 1956.

(Thanks to S. Aravind for providing this piece of history).

The Indian Midland Railway of the 1890s

This is from a map found on the net:

Ypu can download it from https://www.flickriver.com/photos/124446949@N06/49078963546/

Otherwise you can refer to the cropped portions below.

IMR cropped

The blue color indicates the IMR and the orange indicates the GIPR.

More basic history can be seen here:

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Midland_Railway

The IMR was short-lived and existed only from 1885 to 1900 when it was absorbed by the GIPR. This particular map seems to be from the 1890s.

The station presently known as Bina was then known as Etawah or Itawa. Note the other old spellings such as Cawnpoor.

We can also see that the Agra-Mathura-Delhi line was not built yet. But one could go from Agra to Tundla and then to Delhi. Indeed, during the 1890s the GIP trains from Bombay to Delhi did follow this route.

And the BBCIR had not advanced much from Baroda towards Delhi. But it was also a regular practice for travelers from Bombay to Delhi to travel to Ahmedabad and then by MG to Delhi.

This box item from the IMR map has some points of interest:

IMR box item

It lists out the lines which existed then, including “Etawah” to Saugor, i.e. Bina to Saugor, though the extension to Katni was completed later.

The “Comparison of Distances” provides insight into the rivalry of different companies connecting the same pairs of cities. In later years the BBCI and GIP kept trying to show that their services between Bombay and Delhi/Punjab were better. This ended only when the railways were regrouped to form the WR, CR etc in the early 1950s.

Here we see that the IMR route from Bombay to Kanpur was shortest, :

1.  Via Jhansi-Kanpur 830 miles (1336 km) which is the standard route today

2.  Via Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad-Kanpur 964 miles (1552 km)

3.  Via Baroda, Ahmedabad-Delhi by MG, Delhi-Kanpur 1006 miles (1620 km)

And similarly for Bombay to Agra:

1.  Via Jhansi-Agra 830* miles (1336 km) which is the standard route today

* So Jhansi-Agra and Jhansi-Kanpur are the same distance?

2.  Via Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad-Tundla-Agra 1123 miles (1808 km)

3.  Via Baroda, Ahmedabad-Bandikui-Agra by MG 849 miles (1367 km)

Once the BBCIR got going and completed the Baroda-Mathura section by around 1910, they clearly had a shorter route between Bombay and Delhi.

The GIPR and EIR met at Jabalpur (Jubbulpore in those days). By the 1920s the Allahabad-Jabalpur section was transferred to the GIPR.

Some jokes from those days:

GIP stood for “Great Improvement Possible”

BBCI stood for “Beastly, Bad and Cannot Improve”

Then there were “Bribes Never Refused”, “Mails Slowly Moving” and “Sambar Idli Railway” which you should be able to guess.

However, the EIR escaped these nicknames.

Indian Railways map of 1909

Fortunately we now have a good quality map which is easily downloadable:

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The downloaded image can be expanded using Irfanview or similar software.

A few things of historical interest:

The stub going southwest from the Delhi-Muttra section is the Kosi-Sankoch branch which closed long ago, maybe in the 1920s.

While the branch from Satna to Rewah is shown here, it was not built until around 1990.

The branches fron Harpalpur to Rath and Nowgong have not been built even now.

Sipri is the present Shivpuri, then an NG terminus.

The Mohpani branch served collieries in the past, but was closed by the 1930s.

A number of other closed branch lines can be seen.

The Martin lines of old Calcutta-3 (Pictures of stations and trains)

We start with some pictures showing traces of the closed lines and some of the stations presently in use.

(Copyright of the pictures is that of the photographers, mainly Ashis Mitra).

Amta oldAmta

Old and new Amta.

Patihal oldPanpur old

Chanditala

Kalipur near Howrah

Remnants of stations closed in 1971: Patihal, Panpur, Chanditala and Kalipur. The last one seems to be well-maintained.

Pantihal

Pantihal appears to be the replacement of Patihal.

Domjur newDomjur old

New Domjur and remnants of the old.

Munshirhat

Old and new signs at Munshirhat. This is the new station on BG.

And finally-a little-known gallery of pictures of trains taken in the 1960s:

http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/raj/india02/indiaenger1001.htm

(Click on the right arrow, not on “start”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Martin lines of old Calcutta-2

More historical details:

To help you keep track:

HALR and HSLR from Railway Magazine

Opening dates:

(HALR):

Telkul Ghat (Howrah) to Dumjur:         01-07-1897     9.20 miles/14.81 km

Dumjur to Bargachia:                              02-10-1897      5.87/9.45

Bargachia to Maju:                                   04-05-1898     5.50/8.86

Maju to Amta:                                            01-06-1898     6.62/10.66

Total                27.19/43.78

Champadanga branch:

Bargachia to Jagatbalabpur:                   02-10-1897     1.50/2.42

Jagatbalabpur to Autpur:                         01-06-1904     8.50/13.69

Autpur to Champadanga                          24-08-1908:    6.68/10.75

Total             16.68/26.86

(HASR):

Kadamtala to Chanditala                               02-08-1897:     8.88/14.30

Chanditala to Kistrampur                             10-09-1897:      3.75/6.04

Kistrampur  to Sheakhala                              07-11-1897:     4.75/7.65

Total:            17.38/27.99

Janai branch:

Chanditala to Janai                                            05-05-1898:    2.37/3.82

LATER DEVELOPMENTS:

By 1939, service were stopped between Howrah Ghat and Kadamtala. All the trains started from the latter.

In 1948, a new terminus was constructed at Howrah Maidan. A new alignment was created from there to Dasnagar

This was opened on 01-02-1948 with a length of 4.00 km.

That was common to the HALR and HASR.

For the HASR, a new alignment was also opened on 01-02-1948 from Dasnagar Km 3.2 to Km 6.0 (a length of 2.80 km)

This meant that Kadamtala and Uttar Banthra were no longer in use.

Passenger services on the Chanditala-Janai branch stopped between 1951 and 1963.

The rest of the HALR and HSLR closed from 1971.

Only the Howrah-Amta services were restarted in the 1990s, when the route was converted to broad gauge and electrified. There are several pairs of EMUs running on this route which has seen a major change in alignment at the Howrah end. These trains start from the main Howrah station and proceed along the main line to Kharagpur. At Santragachi, the line to Amta branches off, passes Kona which was on the old HASR and takes up the old alignment near Makardaha. A number of the old stations do not exist now.

Details of the present Howrah-Amta route via Santragachi and Kona can be seen here on this extract from the official SER map:

Howrah-Amta new

Or here:

Howrah-Amta new station list

 

 

 

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 1943 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.

 

The new line to Krishnapatnam port

This new line in Andhra Pradesh has been in the news lately. It is similar to the Dedicated Freight Corridors in that it is primarily meant for freight traffic (iron ore export) and there is no present plan to use it for passenger services.

There are, of course, a number of short freight-only lines on IR. This line is unusual in that it is over 100 km long and because it may well serve as a short cut between widely separated parts of a state. And it is electrified from the start.

A very brief summary is here:

https://www.rvnl.org/en/AnnualReportsDocuments/RVNL%20ANNUAL%20REPORT%202015-16%20ENGLISH.pdf

See p 35 of the pdf which corresponds to p 33 of the booklet.

A map of the route:

Obula line map

While this is a screenshot from a TV report, it must have been an official map to start with.

Other articles:

https://www.projectstoday.com/News/Krishnapatnam-Port-Venkatachalam-Obulavaripalle-railway-line-makes-progress

and

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/first-freight-train-between-obulavaripalli-and-venkatachalam-operated/article28139362.ece

The list of stations can be got from the RBS tables (where you have to ask for the “goods” option rather than “coach”).

Obu-Kri line cropped

There are some discrepancies between this table and the map shown above. Perhaps all the stations have not been completed yet.

It would be useful for passenger services between Kadapa and the east coast from Nellore and beyond, as Renigunta and Gudur would be bypassed.

But presently there is a problem with this, which will be apparent from this map of the eastern end of this line:

Obu-Kri line crossing

The new line crosses a flyover (between Kommarpudi and Venkatachalam) over the Gudur-Vijayawada line with no simple connection to the latter. Thus a prospective Nandalur-Gudur passenger or Kadapa-Vijayawada Express would have to reverse at Venkatachalam Road.

The route includes a tunnel about 6.6 km long (between Cherlopalli and Rapuru) which is being described as the “longest electrified rail tunnel in India” which may be correct today. But there will be longer tunnels in J and K which will be electrified over the next few years.

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

and https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/scr-commissions-longest-electrified-tunnel/article28276234.ece

There are numerous video clips (in Telugu) on Youtube describing this route with an emphasis on the tunnel.

Also note:

ObulavaripalliVenkatachalam road