Tirhoot State Railway

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Tirhoot State Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
Line of route
Semaria Ghat to Muzaffarpur
Gauge / mileage
Metre gauge 566 miles (1905)
1874 Construction work begun
Key locations
Presidency Bengal
System agency
1890 Bengal and North-Western Railway
How to interpret this infobox

The Tirhoot State Railway (TSR) was one of the first metre gauge(MG) railways promoted by the Government of India(GoI).


The Tirhoot State Railway (TSR) was originally named Tirhut Railway as a temporary famine relief line in 1874 and owned by the Provincial Government. Ownership is believed to have been later transferred to the Government of India. The railway was worked by the GoI as part of the Indian State Railways from opening to late 1886. [1]

The Gunduck Bridge was constructed by the Tirhoot State Railway completing the connection with the Bengal and North- Western Railway. The bridge was opened in 1887 and consisted of 5 spans of 250 feet with a half mile viaduct on one bank of the river. Horace Bell was the Engineer-in-Chief and R.A.Way was the Executive Engineer in charge of construction.

Tirhoot State Railway (TSR) operated the line from late 1886 to 30th June 1890. TSR was then worked by Bengal and North Western Railway (B&NWR) from 1st July 1890.

TSR was merged into the Oudh and Tirhut Railway on 1st January 1943

Branch Railways of TSR

  • Nirmali Branch Railway (Metre gauge: 45 miles) - Opened as Darbhanga State Railway 1883-84; became Nirmali Branch of Tirhoot Railway; worked by B&NWR 1886-1890; then Tirhoot State Railway (TSR)
  • Sakri-Jainager Branch Railway ( Metre gauge: 30 miles) - opened 14 January 1905
  • Jaynagar Branch - opened 14 January 1905
  • Patna branch (Metre gauge: 1 mile) - opened 1884
  • Samastipur-Narkatiaganj loop (Metre gauge: 142 miles) - opened 1875
  • Jaynagar branch (Metre gauge: 30 miles) - opened 1905
  • Bhiknathori branch (Metre gauge: 21 miles) - opened 1906
  • Semaria Ghat branch (Metre gauge: 7 miles) - opened 1 May 1883
  • Jaynagar branch (Metre gauge: 30 miles) - opened 1905
  • Supaul branch (Metre gauge: 45 miles) - opened 1907
  • Madhepura branch (Metre gauge: 12 miles) - opened 1908, extended 1918
  • Budhamghat branch (Metre gauge: 14 miles) - opened 1908

Lines worked by TSR

  • Segowlie-Raxaul Railway – Privately owned; opened 1899 and worked by B&NWR; Absorbed by Tirhoot State Railway c.1920


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 [2] gives the following: -

  • L/F/8/20/1749 “Bengal and North-Western Railway Company Limited, Contract for construction and working of new extensions of the Bengal and North-Western and Tirhoot State Railway systems; 1928"

Personnel in Chronological order

There are no Staff Records for the TSR in the IOR.

The underlisted have been identifiede from varios other sources -

  • Frederick Smith Stanton with the famine in Behar and Tirhoot of 1873-74 he was sent on emergency duty to construct a short line of 63 miles from the River Ganges to Durbhunga in Tirhoot, which he opened for traffic in fifty-three days. The construction of this temporary line, which was carried out at the rate of a mile a day, was, in the words of Sir Richard Temple, then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, "an extraordinary achievement in respect of speed. To carry the line over a country intersected by three considerable streams; to make it strong enough to carry 2,000 tons in a day; to open it within the prescribed time, demanded primarily an indefatigable energy, but also professional skill and administrative ability. All these qualities were displayed by Major F. S. Stanton, R.E., the Engineer-in-Chief. Having made this line, he worked its heavy traffic with the same efficiency." [3].
  • Vans Righy was deployed from the Public Works Department from 1875 to 1880 as Executive Engineer on the Tirhoot State Railway. In 1880 he became Manager and Superintendent Way and Works. His resposibility jointly included Patna & Gaya State Railway. He retained this position until transferred in 1886 [4].
  • Francis Langford O'Callaghan, was posted from State Railways to TSR as Chief Engineer, 1877-79 [5]
  • Horace Bell was deployed from the Railway Branch of the Public Works Department, to the TSR early in 1884, first as Engineer-in-Chief, and then as both Manager and Engineer-in-Chief. With the exception of a short interval from July to October, 1881, when he officiated as Director of the North Western State Railway, was employed on the TSR and received the thanks of the Government of India for his services in connection with the consruction of the Gunduck Bridge on that line in 1887 [6].
  • R.A.Way was the Executive Engineer in charge of the construction of the Gunduck Bridge completed in 1887 [7].


  1. " Administration Report on the Railways in India – corrected up to 31st March 1918"; Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta; pages 162-164; Retrieved 28 Jan 2016
  2. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved Jan 2016
  3. "Grace's Guide - Frederick Smith Stanton”; Retrieved on 21 Apr 2016
  4. Google Books " India List and India Office List, 1905" page 600 (pdf page 563) Retrieved on 27 May 2016
  5. Institution of Civil Engineers "Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland - O'Callaghan, Francis Langford "; Retrieved on 13 Jul 2016
  6. "Grace's Guide - Horace Bell”; Retrieved on 16 Apr 2016
  7. “ Indian Engineering” 19 March 1887, pages 146, 174”; Retrieved on 12 May 2016