This article was posted to the PakistanRailways mailing list on Feb. 14, 2006, and is reproduced here by permission of the author.
Last month I took part in a one-week group tour to Pakistan. By arriving two days earlier and leaving two days later I was able to visit some sites which were not included in the program.
On January 26th I visited Moghalpura Workshops in Lahore and found following steam locomotives:
A steam road traction engine is also preserved at entrance, and various steam cranes where undergoing maintenance.
According to Mr. Farooq Aziz, Divisional Superintendent/Workshops, one of the locomotives inside the workshops was to be made operational (probably the B.G. SGS 2473) whilst another one was to be restored for display (most probably the N.G. G/S 62).
I did not have the time to look for the following locomotives, which had earlier been reported stored for preservation at the Electric Locomotive Stores Depot, Moghalpura, and was unable to find out anything about their situation from workshops staff: 4-6-2 XB 450 LORD WELLESLEY (Armstrong Withworth 1065/1930); 2-8-0 HG/S 2270 (Vulcan Foundry 3646/1923); 4-6-2 XA 2657 (Vulcan Foundry 4364/1929).
The following day I traveled first to Alipur Chatha, a station between Wazirabad Jn and Hafizabad, only to find out that Punjab Irrigation Department HG/S 2178 (Kitson 5066/1914) as well as the tracks linking that station with Quadirabad Barrage on the Chenab River had been removed for scrapping three years ago according to the station master. He even sent one of his aides to show me the place where the locomotive used to stand, and all that remains is the track-bed from a three-track siding.
From there I went to the Punjab Irrigation Dept. Sikhanwala Quarry workshops at Nishtar Abad station, the next station after Lalian towards Shahinabad Jn./Sargodha Jn. There I found in storage the following items:
The workshops are linked to the short branch between the station and the quarry, where more flat wagons were reportedly stored, but the tracks outside of the workshops are heavily overgrown. According to a former locomotive driver the railway has been out of use since 1993 and the rocks transported by road. One of the engines was last steamed in January of 1994 for a group of British enthusiasts. I was able to look at the site and take pictures while one of the two security guards on duty called the engineer in charge from his office at the quarry. When he came he told me I would need to get an authorization from the Irrigation Dept. at Sargodha, but I had already finished what I came for.
During the following week I took part in the GlobeSteam Pakistan tour 2006, where we used the PR active steam fleet based at Peshawar and Rawalpindi. These are:
On Sunday 29th January, we had a special train from Jamrud up to Shahgai (Khyber) and back, with engines 2277 and 2306, 2 water tanks, 6 covered wagons, and one coach.
On Monday 30th January, we had a special train from Taxila Cantt. to Havelian, with engine 2303, one tank wagon, 4 covered wagons and a brake van. On the way back we followed the train by road up to Haripur Hazara.
On Tuesday 31st January, we were back on the Khyber, traveling from Peshawar Cantt. all the way to Landi Kotal and back, again with 2277 and 2306, 2 tank wagons, 4 covered wagons and one coach. 2216 and its water tank were coupled to the rear of the train and left at Jamrud as a rescue engine in case one of the engines on the train failed.
On Wednesday 1st February we were again on the Khyber from Peshawar to Shahgai and back with 2277/2306, 2 tank wagons, 4 covered wagons and a coach.
On Thursday 2nd February we had traveled from Nowshera to Attock City with 2306, a tank wagon, 4 covered wagons and a coach, crossing the Attock River Bridge on the way where we had several runpasts.
On Sunday 5th February, after the departure of the group, I traveled on the Gandhara Steam Safari from Rawalpindi Cantt. (dep. 14:30) to Golra Sharif Jn. (15:00/16:15), were there is enough time to view the exhibits of the PR Heritage Point, before returning to Rawalpindi (arr. 17:00). The train consisted of HG/S 2303 and two coaches, full of families and school classes. This train runs every Sunday, but seats need to be booked in advance due to high demand. The one-way fare is Rs. 40 (U$ 0.67), a return ticket costs Rs. 50 (U$ 0.84).
During my stay I also saw the following PR narrow gauge (2'6") locomotives displayed at various stations:
2-8-2 G 54 (Nasmyth Wilson 1021/1913), previously preserved at the PR Golf Course, Lahore, was not found. The golf course was privatized 2 years ago and is now the Royal Palm Golf & Country Club, and present whereabouts of the locomotive and accompanying coach is unknown to its employees.
I also visited two non-PR narrow gauge (2'0") industrial railways. One was the Changa Manga forestry railway, which is located 70 km south of Lahore. The railway belongs to the Punjab Forestry Department and contrary to earlier reports, it is still used mainly to transport wood cut in the adjoining forest. From the yard a 2 km. line heads east and a 4 km. line heads north. Both lines are joined at their middle by a connecting line. Across the road from the yard is a triangle with a passenger station, and there is another triangle with a station on the line heading north where there is an amusement park. At the time of our visit wood was being cut close to the yard, with temporary track laid from the east line. Two trains are used for transporting logs, one steam and the other diesel, both with 5 to 7 flat bogie wagons. These head out at 8 a.m. and operations end around 3 p.m.. Passenger operations take place on Saturday afternoons on a charter basis and Sundays for the general public, using the diesel locomotive. The adult fare is Rs. 20, the child fare Rs. 10 and price for a charter train is Rs. 400 (U$ 6.69). Charters can be arranged through the Assistant Manager, Mr. Muhammad Rafi at 049-4381023.
Motive power consists of 3 steam and 3 diesel locomotives:
All three steam locomotives run together with bogie tenders, built on the frames of log wagons. There is also a 0-4-0T plinthed at the amusement park (boiler PB 1125) together with a 4-wheel wagon truck, which is believed to be Hunslet 1077/1911, supplied via T.A. Martin, Calcutta. Lying around the yard are the frames of two 4-wheel diesel locomotives.
Rolling stock for the passenger trains comprises:
All of the coaches are built on the basis of bogie logging wagons, of which there are 15 to 20 in use. There are also some 4-wheel trucks to transport the temporary tracks, as well as a 4-wheel flat wagon and a 4-wheel hand-trolley used by the track-laying crew.
The other industrial railway that I visited was at the Khewra Salt Mine Tourist Resort, in the Salt Range near Malakwal. The mine was opened in 1916/17 and belongs to the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC). The electric mining railway was in use until 1998, nowadays it is used to ferry visitors 3 km. inside the mine which was opened as a tourist resort in 2002. The trackbed of the former lines to the Khewra railway station can still be identified, but the only track left outside the mine goes across a large bridge to the shed.
The train consisted of a 4-wheel electric locomotive, 9 covered 4- wheel coaches and 2 closed 4-wheel coaches. Another electric locomotive was stored inside the shed, together with a closed green 4-wheel coach with upholstered seats. Outside of the shed there were 14 more covered coaches, one open coach, one closed coach and a 4- wheel water tank wagon.
The mine can easily be reached from the Lilla interchange on the Rawalpindi -- Lahore Motorway, it is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., entry costs U$ 6.00 for tourists, Rs. 30 for Pakistani visitors and there is a tourist guesthouse within the complex.
To conclude I would like to thank the following persons for their helpful and kind assistance during my visit:
Iqbal Samad Khan, former G.M. of Pakistan Railways, Lahore; Saleem-ur-Rahman Akhoond, General Manager/Operations of PR, Lahore; Mohammad Farooq Aziz, Divisional Superintendent/Workshops, Moghalpura, Lahore; Pervaiz Iqbal Qureshi, Asst. Mech. Engr./Workshops, Moghalpura, Lahore; Sadeq Saleem, Asst. Works Mgr. Gen., Moghalpura, Lahore; Peter Patt & Zafar Iqbal, GlobeSteam, Berlin, Germany; Bilal Ahmad, Khalid Waseem, Amjad Karim & Muhammad Ali, Vista Tourism, Islamabad; Muhammad Ishfaq Khattak, Managing Director, PRACS, Rawalpindi; Aftab Akbar, Joint Director, PRACS, Rawalpindi; M. Eijoz Malik, Platform Inspector, PR, Rawalpindi; Sahibzada Imtiaz, Div. Mech. Engr.-I, Peshawar Cantt.; Dietmar Kramer, for organizing a second visit to Changa Manga; as well as to all other persons, including locomotive and train crews, which made our visit possible and enjoyable.