Quick quiz: Places in South Asia

(Answers are given below the respective questions)

The best response was by Debatra Majumdar.

  1. What connects these places? (Hint: Think beyond the railways)

They were major air bases of the British and US air forces during WW2. Now they are disused. A few, like Kalaikunda, are still in use.

2. This may be simpler. It is easy to see what connects these places. Each of them corresponds to a station in India. Name them.

(Darsana)

(Biral)

(Rohanpur)

Benapole: Petrapole

Darsana: Gede

Biral: Radhikapur

Rohanpur: Singhabad

Chilahati: Haldibari

3. Each of these stations corresponds to a station in India. Name the latter.

Jassar: Dera Baba Nanak

Wagah: Atari

Zero Point: Munabao

(Note: Zero Point is now called Marvi. No picture with this board could be found).

4. This used to be an important junction in Pakistan’s Punjab, and is close to India’s border. What was it called in the 1940s? Hint: think of a place where the Dalai Lama stays most of the time.

Macleodganj Road Jn, listed in timetables of the 1940s. The Dalai Lama stays in Mcleodganj, near the town of Dharmasala in Himachal Pradesh.

5. This station used to be on the NWR. But is neither in India nor Pakistan. Where is it?

Iran. This is between the Pakistan border and Zahidan. (Is the board in Farsi?)

6. This junction is for the branch to Pakistan’s northern-most terminus. Name the latter.

A branch from Taxila Cantt runs to Havelian, presently the northern-most station open in Pakistan. It is the railhead for Abbottabad. Earlier the northern-most station was Dargai on a branch from Nowshera.

7. This abandoned station was on the line connecting cities in India and Pakistan. Name them.

This is Ranbirsinghpura, the last station in India on the Jammu-Sialkot line which closed in 1947. Suchetgarh was the last station in Pakistan, although the village of that name seems to be in India.

8. What is special about this minor station in Bangladesh?

Dohazari is on a branch from Chittagong. It was built in the 1920s as the first stage of a line to Burma. No further progress was made.

9. This is a station in India. What is unusual about it?

This station is in India. Earlier there was a station with the same name in Bangladesh. The town extends over both countries.

10. What is common between these stations in different parts of Bangladesh?

(Hili)

Hili and Quasba are in Bangladesh but very close to the Indian border.

The Bandhan Express to Khulna

As you know, there are three pairs of trains running between India and Bangladesh: The Bandhan Express between Kolkata and Khulna, the Maitree Express between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantt, and the Mitali Express between New Jalpaiguri and Dhaka Cantt.

Of these, only the Bandhan Express has an exact counterpart from before Partition. This was known as the Barisal Express which ran between Sealdah and Khulna. The railway has not reached Barisal (now Barishal) yet, though this may happen in the near future.

The Barisal Express of 1944 is covered here;

That was running between 2017 and 2020, and has restarted in 2022. The main details are here:

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

Note that the rake has 4 AC-1 and 4 AC chair coaches and no other passenger coaches. In general, Indian rakes and Bangladeshi rakes are used on alternate days.

An IR diesel (normally a Howrah WDM-3D) hauls the train between Kolkata and Benapole, which is about 2 km beyond the border. A BR diesel (normally an Ishurdi WDM-3A) takes it onward to Khulna. The track is electrified up to Bangaon, so an electric loco could have been used up to there.

The timetables showing all intermediate stations:

13129 Kolkata-Khulna:

Note the stoppages at Petrapole, Benapol and Jessore

https://indiarailinfo.com/train/timetable/all/66521/7037/12313

13130 Khulna-Kolkata:

https://indiarailinfo.com/train/timetable/all/60169/12313/7037

The stoppages are the same.

A few pictures of stations on the Bangladesh side:

Nabharon

Joshore (Jessore) Jn

Khulna

It can be seen that even in large stations, most boards may be only in Bangla.