Indian Branch Railway

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The Indian Branch Railway (IBR) was formed in 1862 to construct short branches and feeder lines in northern India, with a 20-year subsidy from the Government of India(GoI) but no guarantee.


In 1863, the IBR built the Nalhati-Azimganj Railway. The line used a 4ft(1222mm) unique rail gauge. The Nalhati to Azimganj line was taken over by the Government in 1872, and by this time named as the Nalhati State Railway.

In 1866, it began construction of a Metre Gauge(MG)) line between Lucknow-Kanpur, completed the following year. Without a guaranteed return from the Government of India(GoI), the IBR found it impossible to continue and in 1867, secured a new contract from the GoI on terms similar to those on offer in the 1850s i.e. a guaranteed return on capital employed.

Around 1872 the IBR was absorbed into the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway(O&RR). The O&RR being merged into the East Indian Railway (EIR) in 1925.


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 [1] gives the following: -

  • L/F/8/11/875 “Indian Branch Railway Company Limited, Duplicate contract ; 1867”
  • L/PWD/2/168-170 “Home and Overseas Correspondence of the Indian Branch Railway Company; 1862-1867”(not catalogued)


Unfortunately, there are no IBR staff records held in the India Office Records at the British Library.

Thacker's Directories The following for Indian Branch Railways Personnel have been indexed in Grace's Guide -

Further Information

See Nalhati State Railway and Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway


  1. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved 23 Jan 2016