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.

Go West, young man

Here we look at differing treatments of the word “West” in signboards in India.

First from Kerala:

Here, the word “West” is transliterated both in Malayalam and Hindi.

And from Rajasthan:

Here, too, the word is transliterated rather than translated into Hindi.

Tirupati West, next to the larger Tirupati which was known as Tirupati East long ago.

Here, the appropriate words in Telugu and Hindi have been used.

In Tamil Nadu:

West is transliterated into Hindi and Tamil.

There used to be a West Point near Darjeeling but it does not exist now.

Let us see if other directions are translated or transliterated in signs in India.

Meanwhile, here is Maharani Paschim in Uttar Pradesh:

Finally, we stop over in West Berlin:

The Germans are not at fault, as their word for West is West.

(This reads: Warning! You are now leaving West Berlin).

However the terms East Berlin and East Germany were never used by the concerned governments.

Quick quiz-Place names with initials.

Try to find the full forms of these place names. Google may help in some cases:

  1. An easy one to start with. What is Wimco?
?????????????

2. Which station? And what important railway facilities are there?

3. What is DMW?

4. What does DAV stand for?

5. What is WRS? and which city is nearby?

6. This is not in West Bengal, but in another state where Bengali is the main language. What does S.K. stand for?

ANSWERS BELOW:

  1. WIMCO stands for the Western India Match Company, a long-standing MNC which was taken over by ITC in the 2000s. The main factories were in Ambernath and Chennai (which had this station which remains after the factory was closed).
  2. NKJ= New Katni Jn. A major electric loco shed is nearby (with locos marked NKJ). There is also a diesel loco shed nearby with locos marked “Katni”.
  3. Diesel Loco Modernization Works at Patiala. It was earlier known as Diesel Component Works, which had the initials DCW. https://dmw.indianrailways.gov.in/
  4. There are DAV colleges and schools in many towns in northern India. This stands for Dayanand Anglo Vedic. There is also a halt station for DAV College Jalalabad, a smaller town in Punjab.
  5. The Wagon Repair Shop colony in Raipur.
  6. Sindhu Kumar Para in Tripura. It is not clear why a relatively short name like this needs initials.

The quickest good responses were from Ganesh Iyer and Pavel Ghosh.

Place names with initials

We have now covered places whose commonly used names include initials. The initials may not always be obvious.

A Maharashtrian passing BG Nagar may think it was named after Bal Gangadhar Tilak. JK Puram in Andhra Pradesh has nothing to do with the JK Singhania group, but is Jaggambhotla Kamalapuram. There are numerous TTs in Mumbai which refer not to table tennis but Tram Terminuses. (Not termini, though only some words ending with -us end in i)

Let us look at some station names which include initials:

Most of you should be clear as to what the initials stand for.

In some cases the initials are spelt out:

But there are some which are more difficult to decipher. We shall see more of these.

Multiple changes in station signs

There are some stations whose names have changed twice in the last few years.

We start with Karnataka, where we have:

And the better known:

Over to Uttar Pradesh:

Given a chance, there will be many more in the future.

Going a little further back:

Olavakkot Jn -> Palghat Jn -> Palakkad Jn

Palghat Town -> Palakkad Town

Or this trio from Vidarbha:

Wardha East Jn -> Sewagram Jn

Sewagram -> Varud

Paunar -> Seloo Road

From Jaipur:

Sanganer -> Sanganer Jn -> Getor Jagatpura

Sanganer Town -> Sanganer Town Jn -> Sanganer

(And these two locations are more than 10 km apart)

More recent name changes in Uttar Pradesh

Earlier we have dealt with the renaming of Allahabad Jn and nearby changes to reflect the old name of Prayagraj. There are a number of other name changes in UP over the last couple of years. Some are well known and others have been hardly mentioned in the media.

The most well known change was this:

Mughal Sarai

New Mughalsarai (DDU)

As in the case of Allahabad/Prayagraj, there was a long gap between the announcement of the change and its actual implementation. So a number of photoshopped pictures appeared in the local media, like this:

DDU @ MGS fake pic

As we know, Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was found dead near this station in 1968. The circumstances of his death have never been satisfactorily explained, and may well become a never-ending mystery like the deaths of Subhash Chandra Bose and Lal Bahadur Shastri.

Other changes which attracted less attention:

Farah Town (between Mathura and Agra Cantt) became Deen Dayal Dham – as Panditji was born in that area.

Panki (near Kanpur) became Panki Dham:

Robertsganj became Sonebhadra (which is the name of the district):

Chanehti became Bareilly Cantt:

And someone will have to decide which of these is correct, as the staff at the station (as well as the local authorities) in Bareilly do not seem to be sure:

It was indeed named after a British railway manager named Charles Izat, though somehow it morphed into Izzat over the years. Interestingly, both names are seen on signs in the locality.

Return to Allahabad

Here you see the map of railways around Allahabad (with an inset on the left). This is from “The Great Indian Railway Atlas”, 2015 edition.

Railways around Allahabad

And some of the existing station signboards:

This one has already had its name changed:

CheokiAllahabad Cheoki

The main station and a fake picture of it from a few months ago:

Other stations in the area:

Finally, there is a notification dated Feb 23, 2020 stating that these name changes will now take effect:

Allahabad railway name changes

Allahabad Division of NC Rly now becomes Prayagraj Division.

So now you have it. Prayag Jn will apparently remain as it is.

Allahabad City station was locally referred to as Rambagh station as that is the locality. (similar to Nampalli for HYB and Kalupur for ADI).

Allahabad Fort is shown in the map. But it does not seem to have had scheduled passenger services.

Chheoki will be renamed for the second time within a few years. But it was a non-timetabled station for many years.

Meanwhile, Gurgaon station awaits renaming to Gurugram.

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”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rail Quiz-Oct 2019 with answers

  1. What is the significance of this pair of stations in the history of IR? The line between these stations was opened in 1926, completing the Delhi-Madras line (as well as the Golden Quadrilateral with diagonals).
  2. Nowadays all passenger trains have at least a technical halt at Balharshah. But in 1963-64 the Southern Express (then the best train between New Delhi and Madras) ran through Balharshah without stopping. How was this possible?  They stop at Balharshah as it is the “junction” between CR and SCR where train crews change. Up to 1966, the Central Railway ran straight to Vijayawada and to Hyderabad and beyond. As Balharshah was not so important then, the Southern Express ran through without stopping. In 1963-64 it ran on some days as the AC Express and some days as the Southern Express (like the Paschim and Poorva which survived longer).
  3. What is the historical significance of this station in Bangladesh? Dohazari                                                                                    The end of a branch line from Chittagong. It was completed in the mid-1920s as the first part of a proposed line to Burma (which was still governed from India). The Great Depression, the delinking of Burma from India in 1937 and then World War 2 put an end to that.
  4. And of this station in Pakistan? The western-most station of Pakistan Railways. The line continues across the border to Zahidan in Iran, though that portion of the track was transferred to the Iranian railways in the 1960s. The trains are still operated by PR.Koh i Taftan (2)
  5. Why was this small station’s name well known to Allied military personnel?  Drigh RoadA major RAF base existed there since the 1920s, which was very active during World War 2. For some reason it was known as Drigh Road airfield and was not named after Karachi. Later, an offshoot of this became the main airport of Karachi.
  6. And what was the significance of this station’s name to British soldiers? Deolali was a British Army camp 100 miles north-east of Mumbai . It is also the source of the British slang noun doolally tap, loosely meaning “camp fever”, and referring to the apparent madness of men waiting for ships back to Britain after finishing their tour of duty. By the 1940s this had been widely shortened to just “doolally“, an adjective meaning “mad (insane).Devlali
  7. What is unusual about this station in Bangladesh? And what was it called before partition? Like Hili, it lies right on the border and from India one can easily see trains running here on the Chittagong-Akhaura section. It was called Kamalasagar as it used to serve this place which is now across the border.        Quasba
  8. Until recently, what was (wrongly) claimed to be the first station in Arunachal Pradesh? Bhalukpong, reached from Balipara around 1980. The town spreads over Assam and Arunachal, and the station is just within Assam’s border. The picture below shows it during MG days.Bhalukpong old
  9. Identify the time span when this picture was taken.   This place is in Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. From 1954 to 1971 Urdu and Bengali were the official languages of Pakistan, and thus signboards in East Pakistan had English and these two languages. Once Bangladesh came into being, there was no need for Urdu signs and they are a rarity now. This picture dates from the 1971 war.Rajshahi station-old
  10. Where in India would you have seen steam locos in green livery marked “PAK”? The locos of SCR had tenders in red and green. There used to be a MG loco shed at Pakala (code PAK) and this was marked on the tender. (This was not an usual practice, but has been mentioned by Bill Aitken in one of his books).
  11. Name one station in Kerala which had steam sheds for BG and MG. Quilon, now Kollam. The MG shed was first, and the BG facilities started once BG came in 1975.
  12. Name one major rail-connected howler in the film “Julie”. This is set in Shoranur, an important junction but not even a divisional HQ. Utpal Dutt’s character is mentioned as the Chief Engineer, whereas the station would have had an Assistant Engineer (and AME) as the local heads.
  13. Which was the only section of IR which had 4-foot gauge? Azimganj-Nalhati, soon converted to BG and now on the ER. See details here: https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Nalhati-Azimganj_Railway You can also see this loco at the NRM: 
  14. And 3’6″ gauge? The Arconum-Conjeevarum Tramway, as it was then called. It soon became BG, soon after MG and finally BG in recent years. More details: https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Arakkonam-Conjeevaram_Tramway . No information about the 3’6″ locos could be found.
  15. What was the northern-most MG station on IR? Ignore the short-lived MG lines north of Lahore. Kot Kapura. The MG line from Bhatinda then turned south-west towards Fazilka, so Kot Kapura was the northern-most MG station.
  16. Bonus: Which important station most closely matches the description of the title of the novel “Bhowani Junction”? Note these points-it is on the Delhi-Bombay line, with a branch going towards Allahabad (though not directly). It is a district HQ and an important cantonment. This fits Jhansi perfectly (but not Itarsi and Bhusaval).

 

(The best effort was by my old friend Harsh Vardhan.)

 

Changes in station signs over time-1

From the areas now in Pakistan in the 1930s/1940s:

Lahore-just-before-PartitionLandi Kotal Railway Station during British RajLANDI_KHANA_STATION_1932

Note the combination of languages; including Hindi in Lahore and Punjabi in all these places.

Landi Khana had train services only between 1926 and 1932. Then the station and tracks seem to have been undisturbed until the floods of 2006 seemingly closed the Khyber line forever.

Now we see current pictures of Lahore and Landi Kotal (where excursion trains ran sporadically from the closure in 1984 until 2006).

The only languages here are English and Urdu (although a few stations such as Peshawar also have Pushtu):

Peshawar City new

Note how the regional language has been pushed into a corner.

However, you can still visit the long-forgotten Landi Khana station which is some distance from the highway into Afghanistan:

Landi Khana station today

This is taken from a video shot a few years ago. As this is a remote and long-forgotten place, no one bothered to remove the Punjabi script.

(While many people in Pakistan speak Punjabi, they use a different script unlike the Gurumukhi used in India).

And this station which used to be a stop for the trains from Peshawar to Landi Kotal:

Shahgai (Khyber)

Here, perhaps it was found to be too much trouble to modify the sign which is fitted into the sturdy boundary wall.

We now compare the old and new signs at Shelabagh (on the way from Quetta to Chaman on the border near Kandahar):

Shelabagh (old)Shelabagh new

It is not clear what is in the smaller inscription in the newer sign, but normally the Balochi language(s) do not appear on the signs.

The southern end of the famous Khojak tunnel is seen here. Until the Konkan Railway came along, it was the longest rail tunnel (3.9 km) in South Asia.

And finally to Karachi (1940s) and now:

 

Karachi Cantt new

As you can see, somewhat distorted Hindi (Devanagari) script was used earlier. Today we see Urdu along with Sindhi.

While hardly any pre-1947 pictures from the area now in Bangladesh can be seen on the net, there are still some interesting points to be noted. (To be continued).

 

Multilingual railway coaches

You have heard of multilingual signs on railway stations in India. They will have at least 2 languages, English and Hindi and whatever else is widely used in that area-the regional language such as Tamil or Bengali, Urdu in some states and sub-states, the neighboring state’s language and so on.

There are numerous stations with 4 languages, and at least two with 5: Raichur in Karnataka and Krishna in Telangana, which have English, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada and Urdu.

Sometimes it seems illogical to find some languages on a signboard, such as in Cachar and two other districts of Assam where the signs have Bengali and not Assamese. (Nothing unusual since Bengali is the official language here).

Sri Lanka seems to have a strict 3-language formula of Sinhala/English/Tamil which is followed regardless of the Sinhala or Tamil population in a particular place.

Bangladesh has a simpler policy: Only Bengali, except for larger stations where English is added.

Pakistan seems to generally follow the Indian pattern with English and Urdu everywhere and regional languages as well, in Sind and parts of KP province but not in Baluchistan-as the languages there do not have scripts in general use.

A few posts on station signs and language policies are elsewhere on this blog.

Anyway, today we look at an unusual coach in Chennai:

MSM wagon 1

MSM wagon 2

Copyright of these pictures is with the original photographer.

These pictures were taken some years ago at the Perambur workshops (NOT the ICF). Not sure where it is now.

As you can see, this broad gauge troop wagon belonged to the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway, and probably dates back to the 1930s or earlier.

In its time, the M & SM (“Mails Slowly Moving”) covered parts of the present Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana.

Thus the sign has English, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Urdu and Tamil which should cover all eventualities where the wagon would carry troops.

As this company did not have lines in Malayalam-speaking areas, this language is absent. (The area now in Kerala was covered by the South Indian Railway since the start of the century)

Also note that a British soldier’s bottom is understood to be larger than his native counterpart’s bottom.