Bengal and North-Western Railway

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Bengal and North-Western Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
Line of route
Gauge / mileage
Metre gauge 902 miles (1905)
1881 Company formed
1884 First section opened to traffic
Key locations
Presidency Bengal
Stations Baharaich, Basti, Bhatni, Mankapur
System agency
1881 Bengal and North-Western Railway
1943 Oudh and Tirhut Railway
How to interpret this infobox
Bengal and North-Western Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
System timeline
Constituent companies / lines
Bengal and North-Western Railway
1890 Tirhoot State Railway
Key locations
Headquarters Gorakhpur
Workshops Gorakhpur, Samastipur (Stores)
Major Stations Benares, Darbhanga, Ghazipur, Gonda, Monghyr, Muzaffarpur
Successor system / organisation
1943 Oudh and Tirhut Railway
System mileage
Metre gauge 1468 miles (1905)
2088 miles (1943)
Associated auxiliary force
Bengal and North Western Railway Battalion
How to interpret this infobox

The Bengal and North-Western Railway (B&NWR) was a metre gauge(MG) railway. [1]

The Bengal and North Western Railway Company came into being in October 1882 as a result of an agreement made with the Secretary of State for India. The government had started work in 1881 on constructing a rail link between Patna and Bahraich, along the Ghaghara River. The company agreed to complete the construction works and, in consideration of that investment, the government would provide a tranche of land without charge (instead of providing a guaranteed return). Once constructed the company became responsible for the railway’s operation under the concession agreement [2]

The B&NWR was unusual in that it was one of the very few railways promoted and constructed without Government assistance other than the gift of land, the original contract being signed in 1882.

In 1890 the company took over management of the Tirhoot State Railway, and managed further lines up until 1943. [3]

The B&NWR eventually comprising a complicated network of lines on the left (north) bank of the Ganges between Katihar in the east and Lucknow in the west.

On 1 January 1943, the Government of India nationalised the B&NWR and amalgamated it with the Rohilkund and Kumaon Railway and the Lucknow-Bareilly State Railway to form the Oudh and Tirhut Railway which subsequently, in 1952, became part of North Eastern Railway, a zone of Indian Railways. [3]

Bengal & North Western main line

B&NWR main line was 301 miles long Metre gauge consisting of following sections:

  • Sonepur to Mankapur (219 miles) opened 15 January 1885
  • Mankapur to Gonda (17 miles) opened 2 April 1884
  • Gonda to Colonelganj (18 miles) opened (29 October 1891) 1 February 1892
  • Colonelganj to Jarwal Road (11 miles) opened 1 February 1892
  • Jarwal Road to Bahramghat (5 miles) (including Elgin Bridge) opened 18 December 1896
  • Bahramghat to Burhwal (4 miles) opened 24 November 1896
  • Burwhal to Barabanki (Broad gauge: 17 miles) opened 1 April 1872
    • Burhwal to Barabanki (Broad to Mixed gauge) converted 24 November 1896
    • Burhwal to Barabanki (Mixed to Metre gauge) converted around 1943
  • Dighwara-Goldingganj diversion (7 miles) opened around 1960
  • Barabanki to Chhapra (Metre to Broad gauge) converted 1981
  • Chhapra Kacheri to Dighwara (Metre to Broad gauge: 10 miles) converted autumn 2006

Lines worked by B&NWR


Refer to FIBIS Fact File #4: “Research sources for Indian Railways, 1845-1947” - available from the Fibis shop. This Fact File contains invaluable advice on 'Researching ancestors in the UK records of Indian Railways' with particular reference to the India Office Records (IOR) held at the British Library

An on-line search of the IOR records relating to this railway [4] gives 81 references. The most important being:-

  • L/AG/46/23 “Records of the India Office relating to the Bengal and North Western Railway; 1882-1921”
  • L /F/7/256-278 “Collection 27: Bengal and North Western Railway; 1908-1946”

As a State Railway a search of the following may yield a result -

  • L/F/8/1-20 "Appointments to State Railways made in the UK 1855-1946"
  • Z/L/F/8/1-2 Index to Appointments to State Railways made in the UK 1855-1946"

External Links

"Bengal and North Western Railway" Wikipedia


  1. " Administration Report on the Railways in India – corrected up to 31st March 1918"; Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta; page 157-162; Retrieved 19 Feb 2016
  2. Great Britain. Law Commission, “Statute Law Repeals: Nineteenth Report : Draft Statute Law (Repeals) Bill; April 2012"; page 118, paragraph 3.14. Retrieved 19 Feb 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 Great Britain. Law Commission, “Statute Law Repeals: Nineteenth Report : Draft Statute Law (Repeals) Bill; April 2012"; page 118, paragraph 3.15. Retrieved 19 Feb 2016
  4. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search"; Retrieved 20 Jan 2016