Sirhind Canal Construction Tramway/Railway

From FIBIwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sirhind Canal Construction Tramway/Railway

The ‘Sirhind Canal Construction’ is an irrigation canal that takes off from the Sutlej River at Rupar. The work was undertaken by the Punjab Public Works Department between 1867, when surveying commenced, until the opening of the canal in 1882. It was built by the Government of India in association with the States of Patiala, Nabha and Jind. From the headworks at Rupar the canal runs 39 miles(62km) where it divides into two branches, the ‘Combined Branch’ runs to the west and the ‘Patiala Feeder’ to the east. The former divides into two branches; the northern ‘Abohar Branch’, running parallel to the Sutlej River for 126 miles(201km) to Govindgarh; the southern ‘Bhatinda Branch’, runs for 100 miles(160km). The ‘Patiala Feeder’ as well as supplying Patiala has three branches:- ‘Kotla Branch’, 94 miles(150km); ‘Ghaggar Branch’, 54 miles(86km); ‘Choa Branch’, 25 miles(40km) [1].

The railways used on the project were operated and maintained by the 1st Division of the project (which was also responsible for the first 11 miles of canal construction). Responsibility for the railway was transferred to the ‘Railways and Materials Division in 1874-75. In 1870-71 experimental modes of removing excavated materials were being evaluated:-

  • Horse-drawn tramway of unknown gauge which used 25 cubic feet wagons(0.7 cu metres);
  • Narrow-gauge line which used 5 cubic feet(0.15 m3)wagons which ‘were lifted from below’;
  • Tramway with a gradient of 1 in 10.

By 1872-73 the deep excavations at the headworks were being worked by locomotives and wagons. It is not clear if these were locomotives or hauling engines [1].

The Sirhind Canal Railway was sanctioned in 1872 and operational in 1873. It was a broad gauge(BG) line from Rupar, along the canal bank to a junction with the Scinde, Punjaub & Delhi Railway (SP&DR), a distance of 37 miles(59km) and used for the transport of stone, Kankar and other building materials. There was also a branch line to the ‘Pataheri Kankar Quarry’. In 1874 an extension to the Nalagarh Sandstone quarries was sanctioned, this was opened in Feb 1875, stone from the quarries was sent to the headworks. The line also carried boulders from Keritpur and stone from Ghumsok. The ‘Sirhind Canal Railway’ eventually had 54 miles(86km) of track [1]. This line later became known as the Rupar-Nalagarh Provincial State Railway.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at Reference: Entry PB04 page ....