Railway Operations in Western India, 1856

Extracts from Australian newspapers

Made available by the National Library of Australia. Edited by R Sivaramakrishnan. Posted to IRFCA on: January 16, 2010.

The Sydney Morning Herald, dt. Friday 13 June 1856, p5.


We are glad to learn that Lord Dalhousie, just before resigning the reins of Government to his successor, signified his approval of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway line from Bombay to Jubbulpoor, which was reported on last year by Mr. Berkley, the Company's Chief Resident Engineer. This line has been staked out from the foot of the Thull Ghaut to Julgauin on the banks of the Taptee in Khandash. From Julgauin there will be a branch line through a part of Berar, including Oomrawutty, to Nagpore. The great Mirzapoor line, the preliminary levels of which have already been taken by Mr. Berkley, and which were reported on last year, will be there joined by the India Railway from Calcutta. The line from Poona to Sholapore has been let on contract to Mr. Bray, who is immediately expected from the Calcutta side. The line is all staked out and ready to be commenced upon. There are no engineering difficulties of any magnitude on this line, and only two works of importance the bridges over the Bheema and Seena rivers. This line will join the Madras Railway at the Kristna River, and there will probably be a branch line from Sholapore to Hyderabad in the Deccan. There is also to be another branch of the Poona and Sholapore Line to Ahmednaggur, which will strike off somewhere between Poona and Indopoor. The Bombay and Poona, or south-eastern line of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, has been given in contract to Mr. Faviell, and the company may well be congratulated on their good fortune that it has got into such good hands. It presents the greatest engineering difficulties of any line in India, perhaps in the whole world. The tunnelling of the Bhore Ghaut is a most Titanic operation, and when, completed will be a wonder greater than the Ellora "diggings." There will be no fewer than sixteen tunnels at this ghaut, and some of the viaducts have a span of 1680 feet, one of which will be supported on pillars 210 feet in height! These works are already in progress, under the direction of a staff of Civil Engineers - the pupils of Brunel and Stephenson brought out to India by Mr. Faviell in December last; amongst whom we may notice that Messrs. Home, Dickinson and Scott ate the most prominent, The contract for the Bhore Ghaut alone has, we understand, been taken by Mr. Faviell for 75 lakhs of rupees, or £750,000; but it is very probable that it will require a much larger sum than this to finish the work, as it is almost certain, that the engineers will, as it goes on, have to alter both their plans and specifications. "We do not know what the rest of the contract from Khandalla to Poona has been sold for, but imagine that it cannot be much under thirty lakhs more. This part of the line will it is expected be completed in two years from this time, and two years more are given to join it with that completed to Kopoolie, at the foot of the Bhore Ghaut, which will be opened for traffic on the 1st May next. The whole line from Bombay to Sholapore (excepting the six miles of the Bhore Ghaut) will, it is fully anticipated, be open to the public by April 1839, and entirely completed by the end of the rains of 1840."

Poona Observer, March 12

The original source material used on this page is believed to be out of copyright, and/or these extracts are believed to be fall within the scope of fair use under copyright law. Material selection and editing by R Sivaramakrishnan, 2010.