South Indian Railway in Trichinopoly District (1907)
"Trichinopoly", authored by F. R. Hemingway and published under the District Gazetteers series by the Government Press, Madras, 1907.
Made available by the Internet Archive.
Source: Libraries of the University of California system Edited by R Sivaramakrishnan. Posted to IRFCA on: August 12, 2008.
The volume, downloadable as a 31.5 MB pdf file with 434 pages, is not in copyright.
I find the following about the South Indian Railway in the district as in 1907:
[p. 183] The section of [the Great Southern of India Railway] which runs from Negapatam to Trichinopoly fort was constructed on the standard gauge and completed for traffic in 1862 and the line was opened as far as Karur in 1866, and as far as Erode two years later. In 1875 the metre-gauge line from Trichinopoly to Madura was opened as part of the new main line from Madras to Tuticorin and in that year the section of the older line from Negapatam to Trichinopoly was also converted to the metre gauge. The Trichinopoly - Erode section of this line was converted to the same gauge in 1879 In Deecember 1873, the Great Southern of India Railway was amalgamated with the Carnatic Railway Company which was engaged in making the line from Tanjore to Madras.
The whole system was bought by the Secretary of State on 1st January 1891 and [p. 184] the present South Indian Railway Company was constituted with a capital of one million sterling to work it. The Company's head quarters are at Trichinopoly The staff consists of 22 European officers, nearly 600 clerks and some 500 men working in the engineering workshops ... [the last engaged in] the manufacture and repair of signal posts, interlocking gear, station furniture, signal lamps, small girders and other plant required for the upkeep of the permanent way, and the maintenance of appliances connected with the electric lighting of trains and of the Trichinopoly Junction station and general offices.
Several proposals for extending railway communication within the district are under consideration... Nothing in fact can be decided till the route for the proposed broad gauge line which is to connect the north of India with Ceylon is definitely settled. That matter has been under consideration since 1902.
The most important of the local schemes is the proposed chord line to connect Trichinopoly with Tirukkoyilur in South Arcot. This would shorten the distance to Madras by 37 miles, and forms part of one of the routes under consideration for broad gauge communication between the north and the south of India A survey for this scheme on the metre gauge has recently been sanctioned by the Government of India. Another important project is that proposed by the Pudukkottai Darbar to connect Trichinopoly with Pudukkuttai and Tondi on the cast coast some 83 miles [away] . A preliminary investigation [for a line] between Perambalur and Karur has been [conducted]
Besides these schemes for the extension of railways from Provincial or Imperial funds, the District Board has proposals for the construction of steam tramways or railways, and since 1903 has been levying for this purpose a railway cess of three pies in the rupee of the land assessment, the proceeds of which now (1905-06) amount to Rs. 1,28,320. [Footnote: The cess has since been temporarily suspended.] Pending the decision of Government on the general problems already referred to, the Board has not yet decided upon what line it will spend this money. It has been suggested that if the Trichinopoly-Tirukkoyilur chord is constructed and the Cauvery bridged, a line running along the north bank of the Cauvery and Coleroon would pay well.
It is of interest that the chord line was originally mooted in broad gauge via Tirukkovilur and was to be 37 miles shorter than the metre gauge main line via Villupuram, Mayavaram and Tanjore. That would have made it 213 miles (341 km) long and I can visualize the alignment as via Perambalur and Veppur (along the present NH 45) then via Tirukkovilur (bypassing Villupuram about 30 km to the W), Gingee, Wandiwash (Vandavasi) and Kanchipuram. What an impetus many of these areas, still quite backward, would have received if that scheme had materialized.
It is interesting to note that Tondi, an ancient port, but on a steady decline, was important enough in 1907 to be proposed for a railway. And to learn that the district board had proposals for steam tramways, and for this purpose had levied a cess of about 1.5% on land tax but when, a few days ago, I suggested a cess of 1% on income-tax and corporate tax for improvement of our railways, it was not happily received.