Construction and Operation of Some Steeply Graded Routes
AN ABT SYSTEM rack railway locomotive built by the Swiss Locomotive Company, Winterthur, for the Nilgiri branch of the South Indian Railway. The cylinders driving the axles operating the rack pinion axle can be seen above the adhesion engine with its long connecting rod.
THE hill railways of India are numerous, widely scattered and varying in character. India is a sub-
It is difficult to define a hill railway, and still more difficult to describe all those that might claim this title; but this chapter will give readers a general idea of the various types of hill railway in India. Classification may best be based first upon gauge and then upon geographical or traffic conditions. The hill lines are built to four gauges: broad (5 ft 6-
The Thal and Bhore Ghat inclines have to be negotiated by two out of the three main lines radiating from Bombay, where they scale the Western Ghats -
The Thal Ghat section carries the whole of the Great Indian Peninsula northeast main line traffic from Bombay. Over it are run all kinds of passenger and goods trains to and from Jhansi, Agra, Delhi, Lahore, and Peshawar; Cawnpore and Lucknow; Allahabad and Calcutta (by the East Indian Railway route); and Nagpur and Calcutta (via the Bengal-
Even the elimination of the reversing station was insufficient to enable this slow-
The driving wheels have a diameter of 5 ft 3-
ON THE NILGIRl BRANCH of the South Indian Railway. With its 1 in 12½ gradients this is the steepest and only rack-
The Bhore Ghat incline, as constructed in the early sixties, was sixteen miles long, rising over 1,800 vertical feet in that distance. There were eleven miles of 1 in 40, followed by about two miles of 1 in 37¾, and finally another two miles of 1 in 40. No fewer than ten and a half miles were curved, and there were twenty-
Turning our attention now to the rugged North-
The line, which is steam operated, is solidly built, so that the heaviest engines can run over it. For many years the only Indian broad-
The first line to be constructed to Quetta was the Sind-
THE GOKTEIK VIADUCT on the Lashio branch of the Burma Railways carries the line over the Gokteik gorge. At the bottom of the gorge is a river 820 ft below the rail level of the viaduct. The great double trestle in the illustration is 350 ft in height, and is built upon the mouth of a natural arch or tunnel through which the river passes. The viaduct was set out and the foundations built by Indian State Railway engineers, but the steelwork was fabricated and erected by an American firm.
Though not on our list of hill railways, the other two lines which radiate from Quetta are of unusual interest. One goes northwards, and after passing through the Khojak Tunnel, the longest in India, reaches the Afghan frontier at Chaman. There is considerable fruit traffic from Khandahar via Chaman to all parts of India at certain times of the year.
The other line forms the long tentacle that stretches westwards and for two hundred miles marches with the Afghan frontier until it enters Persia at Mirjawa, and ends at Duzdap. On this line there is a very tortuous descending ghat section to Nushki, the ruling gradient for several miles being 1 in 50. The section of this line from Nok Kundi to Duzdap was, however, closed to traffic some years ago.
The last but not the least of the broad-
THE RAILWAY OVER THE KHYBER PASS and its twisting route is shown in the top sketch. There are gradients of 1 in 33 near the summit at Landi Kotal.
The lower diagram shows a section of the Lashio branch line on the Burma Railways, notable for continuous gradients of 1 in 25 and four reversing stations.
The only extremely steep metre-
KALKA JUNCTION, the terminus of the broad gauge section of the North Western Railway from Delhi via Ambala, and also of the 2 ft 6-
The other two mountain grade metre-
There are a long descent into and a long ascent from the famous Goteik gorge, which runs athwart the general course of this line, the gorge being a great rift in the limestone formation of the country. Even with 1 in 40 approaches winding down the sides of the gorge, it was not possible for the survey engineers to carry the line below a level of 800 ft above the bottom of the gorge. Luckily, however, nature provided a natural bridge -
This branch, while carrying a very fair passenger traffic to Maymyo, has the advantage of transporting iron ore, as a flux for the silver-
The Southern Shan States branch of the Burma Railways, eighty-
KOTI, a station on the 2 ft 6-
The main climb of the Southern Shan States branch is also at 1 in 25, with four reversing stations and a spiral, or complete loop, but the practically continuous length of the 1 in 25 section is even longer than that just described, namely sixteen miles. There are very heavy engineering works almost throughout the first, or Yinmabin Ghat, and onwards up the main climb to Myndaik -
The longest of the narrow-
ON THE KALKA-
Perhaps the best known and one of the most interesting of the Indian hill lines is the Kalka-
The railway runs from Kalka to Simla. Kalka, about forty miles from Ambala on the Punjab plains, stands at an elevation of 2,000 ft above sea-
TRACK RENEWALS. In spite of the heavy rail-
The gauge of the line is 2 ft 6-
There are few steel bridges on this railway. Since stone is available locally, small stone box culverts and arch bridges are the rule. Where the line runs to the head of a valley and then crosses to the other side, stone “galleries” have been built. These comprise tiers of arches one above the other; in some instances as many as four tiers have been used. In view of the position of each of these at the head of a valley it is necessarily built on a curve, often with a radius of 120 ft. In 1935 an arch bridge near Simla, which required rebuilding, was replaced by a steel trestle bridge. The whole of the rebuilding was done with no interruption to traffic, and yet without resort to a temporary diversion of the line.
The rainy season here is from May to September, the average rainfall for the last twenty years during these months being fifty inches. This period is an anxious time, as the continual rain frequently causes heavy slips of the precipitous hillsides with consequent interruption to traffic and the ever-
There are nineteen stations on the line, each station being at the end of a block section. The longest section is four and a half miles, the shortest is one mile and a half. Each station has two running lines, and either a third loop or a relief siding. At seven of the stations water for locomotives is available, although in the dry spell of weather that precedes the rains two or three of these sometimes run short of water.
The block working is by means of Neale’s token instruments; these are in the station buildings and are worked by the station-
The standard type of locomotive on the line is a 2-
During the summer a service of rail motors is run. Until 1934 they were all petrol-
[From part 26, published 26 July 1935]