Extreme points of the Indian Railways (2017)

The northernmost station:

Sopore

This is the station before the terminus at Baramulla. If one looks at the map carefully, it can be seen that it is further north.

In case the proposed line from Baramulla to Kupwara is built in the future, the latter will become the northernmost station. There is also a proposed line to Leh from Himachal Pradesh, but Leh is around the same latitude as Srinagar.

Now, the Kashmir valley line from Banihal to Baramulla is not connected to the rest of the IR network (although this gap can be bridged in a 4-hour road journey from Udhampur to Banihal). The northernmost station on the IR network used to be Udhampur, which is now superseded by

Katra-new

These lines were always BG.

Now we move east. The easternmost station presently served by passenger trains is

Ledo

However, goods trains run further east for a few km to Tirap Siding where coal is loaded. Although I could not find a picture with this sign, there is this video of a road trip along this route with plenty of coal wagons:

Still further ahead is this now defunct station which was functioning from the late 1950s to the 1990s, when the MG line was converted only up to Tirap Siding as it was not considered worthwhile to extend the BG line here:

Lekhapani_station

Lekhapani was thus the easternmost point of the Indian Railways, but not now. However, it is now planned to reopen this station after the last stretch of a few km is converted to BG.

This plaque can be seen near Lekhapani station:

Lekhapani plaque

Still further east are the Tipong colliery railways (2’0″ NG) which are NOT and never were part of IR, though we will take a quick look at them here:

These colliery lines have some B class locos which were earlier on the Darjeeling line. There are several longer videos of these lines on Youtube.

The main line even features in the 1972 film “Ye Gulistan Hamara”. If you are really interested you can see the film on Youtube, though the trains appear only for a couple of minutes. If you like typical Bollywood films of the 1970s and are fans of Dev Anand and Sharmila Tagore, you might as well see it.

A small 2’0″ industrial line was earlier functioning at a plywood factory at Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh, though this was also nothing to do with IR.

A new line from a point near Makum to Parshuram Kund has been proposed. When completed, this will be the easternmost station much further east than the collieries at Ledo.

Now to the south. That is easy enough. This line was built with BG.

Kanniyakumari

And for the west, there is

Varvala

Like Sopore, it is not a terminus but is further west than the larger station of Dwarka and the terminus of Okha. Dwarka is the westernmost station of some importance.

This line was MG and was converted to BG around 1980.

Varvala had this status for a long time. Then the Bhuj-Naliya MG line was built and Naliya became the westernmost station (with a lateral distance of about 10 km). The line from Bhuj to Naliya was closed for several years and now has been taken up for conversion to BG. When the line is completed, Naliya will regain the position-although there are plans to extend the line further west. No picture of Naliya station is seen on the net, so here is one of the next station Naliya Cantt, which is adjacent to the IAF base:

(Google Maps needs to be corrected as Naliya Cantt station is marked as Naliya station.)

Naliya Cantt

 

Next we will see what the extreme points were in the 1970s.

Where trains do not run any more (2019)

Copyrights of the pictures rest with the respective photographers.

Some stations to which no train runs now.

First, one in Gujarat where the railway line does not exist now:

Ghanta

The picture was taken in around 1980. The station was on the long-closed NG line from Champaner Road to Pani Mines, near Vadodara.

There are many narrow gauge lines in Gujarat which have closed over the last few decades. Those which survived until the 2010s will ultimately be converted to broad gauge.

Another of these ill-fated NG lines was the Samlaya-Dabhoi section which was affected by floods some years ago . Here are some remnants:

Samlaya NG

Samlaya’s NG station. The BG station can be seen in the background.

Here is one of the wayside stations:

Vagodiya (NG)

In Tamil Nadu, there are numerous abandoned branch lines which closed between the 1960s and 1980s. Some branches, such as the one to Mannargudi, have been rebuilt in recent years. The branch to Mettur Dam was reopened for passenger traffic after a long gap. And Karaikal has been connected through a new branch.

Perhaps the most well-known abandoned terminus is Dhanushkodi. This is all that you will see now:

Dhanushkodi

The cyclone of December 1964 resulted in the closure of the Pamban-Dhanushkodi section, which was listed as the “main line” in timetables of that period. Damage to the line was extensive enough to result in it being abandoned and the branch to Rameswaram now became the main line with ferries to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.

The disturbances in Sri Lanka from 1983 put an end to the ferry services. Though the civil war is now over and the connecting lines in Sri Lanka are functioning again, it is unlikely that the ferries will run in the foreseeable future. But Rameswaram, unlike Dhanushkodi, has enough traffic to justify train services to all parts of India.

This was once the easternmost point of IR, though the extension from Ledo was built only in the late 1950s. It was closed after the BG was extended to Ledo, and it was not felt worthwhile to convert the remaining line to Ledo to Lekhapani.

Lekhapani_station

However, one can see signs of economic activity here.

This was once the terminus at Ernakulam, once metre gauge and then broad gauge. It lost its importance in around 1940 when it was bypassed in a new alignment going to Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Jn and Cochin Harbour Terminus. In its last years it was used only by departmental goods trains, and probably the last of them ran in 2001.

Ernakulam Goods

 

 

And there are these recently orphaned stations on the Lumding-Silchar section: (Bagetar is the one on the top left).

Here is the station at Lower Haflong after it was abandoned:

Lower Haflong closed

The abandoned alignment also includes the 1.9 km-long Longtarai tunnel between Lower Haflong and Ditokcherra.

Elsewhere in Assam, here is a current picture of Tezpur station. It is not likely to see trains again as there is insufficient space for broad gauge. Trains now terminate at the BG station at Dekargaon a few km to the north.

tezpur

In North Bengal, we have this former junction very close to the Bangladesh border:

Gitaldaha (abandoned)

It lost its importance after Partition as through trains ceased to run across the border. A newer station was built some distance away from the border and was called New Gitaldaha Jn. Limited trains continued to run to Gitaldaha according to the 1963 timetable, though it is not listed in timetables of the 1970s.

Oddly enough, no picture of New Gitaldaha is available on the net though it has a fair amount of passenger traffic now.

Our next stop is also in West Bengal, but on a more optimistic note:

Petrapole-2

This lies on the east of Bangaon, close to the border with Bangladesh. It saw some passenger traffic with the Sealdah/Khulna Barisal Express for some years up to the 1965 war. After that no traffic crossed the border for 25 years or more. Later goods trains from India started using the track-in 2008 many IR wagons could be seen at sidings on stations between Khulna and Jessore.

Finally a weekly express between Kolkata and Khulna started running in November 2017.

Then there were the famous narrow gauge lines of Martin Burn which ran useful commuter services on 2’0″ gauges into Howrah Maidan. They closed in around 1970. The Howrah-Amta line was converted to BG and electrified, though the Bargachia-Champadanga section remains closed.

The sister line from Howrah to Sheakhala  with the short branch from Chanditala to Janai remains as it was. However, some relics can still be seen:

 

Ghost stations such as the older Madgaon station exist or existed until recently. The old station lies on the Konkan line about a km north of the present station.

In Hyderabad, one can see traces of platforms at Husain Sagar which was listed in timetables at least till the 1970s. A little west of Lingampalli we can see the abandoned station of Telapur on the closed line to Patancheru. That line functioned only for a few years. The expected industrial boom in the then PM’s constituency of Medak never materialized.

And the former terminus at Patancheru is taken over by vegetation:

Patancheru

Update: Local services were resumed in mid-2019 up to Ramachandrapuram, one station before Patancheru.

Often, old stations are bypassed or lose importance in the course of construction of a new line or bridge. Many such stations in the present NF zone were rebuilt at new locations starting in the late 1940s, which accounts for the number of “New” prefixes in this area (Think of NJP and NBQ to begin with).

One such example in Bihar is Mungeri Lal’s hometown. Here are the old and new stations: