Wardha Valley Railway

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The Wardha Valley Railway was under survey in early 1870 by the the Railway Branch of the Public Works Department, the engineer Horace Bell was Second Grade Executive Engineer on this survey [1]. Francis Langford O'Callaghan posted from State Railways was Engineer-in-Chief during the construction period 1872-75 [2].

The '1872-73 Administration Report' [3] states that the Wardah Railway would be a broad gauge(BG) branch from the Nagpore section of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway with two objectives:-

  • To provide railway communication to Hingunghat, a large cotton mart, 18 miles distant from the railway
  • To open the Chandah coalfields for the supply of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. The general direction of the line beyond the first 15 miles has not been decided, but projects for alternative lines to the coalfields are under survey.

The construction of the line beyond the distance already sanctioned depends, however, upon the result of further investigations into the value and extent of the coal beds in the Wardah Valley, the existing information not being yet conclusive as to the existence of a sufficient supply of good coal to justify the expense of a railway.

The line opened in stages from Dec 1875 and completed in Feb 1879 [4] as the Wardha-Warora State Railway and was worked by Great Indian Peninsula Railway(GIPR). The broad gauge(BG) line linked Wardha to Warora, a distance of 45 miles(72km) [5] and was constructed by contractors ‘Fisher and Redmond’ on behalf of the Central Provinces Government. The line was taken over by GIPR in 1891 [6].

Wardha Coal Railway was an extension from Warora to the open-cast collieries about 3 miles(5km) south of the town, extended in 1905 by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway(GIPR) to reach the coal reserves named at the time as at Ballapur and Manikgarh [5] but later called the ‘Shivaj Nager Open Cast’.

The GIPR line was extended further from Warora reaching Balharshah in 1908, the section from the GIPR North-East Mainline from Wardha becoming the GIPR ‘Balharshah Branch’, 82.5 miles(132km) [4].

The coal quality was never good and it is thought that the colliery closed in 1906. The records show details of the BG locomotives, wagons and other rolling stock allocated to this railway [6]


Later Development

Indian Railways (IR), Central Railway Zone (CR) was formed on 5 November 1951 by grouping several government-owned railways, including the ‘Wardha Valley Railway’

Personnel Records

No staff records for the Wardha Valley Railway have been found, except for the following individual record:-

Further Information


  1. "Grace's Guide - Horace Bell”; Retrieved on 13 Jul 2016
  2. Institution of Civil Engineers "Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland - O'Callaghan, Francis Langford "; Retrieved on 13 Jul 2016
  3. British Library ‘India Office Records L/PARL/2/100 “Railways in India for the year 1872-73” by Juland Danvers , Government Director of the Indian Railways’-– presented to both Houses of Parliament’ by HM Command. Extract from Annual Report 1872-73; Paras 93-94 , page 51
  4. 4.0 4.1 “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 65 (pdf74); Retrieved 13 Mar 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Maharashtra Gazetteer" /Wardha/Communicaions/Railways. Originally printed 1906; Retrieved 12 Mar 2017
  6. 6.0 6.1 “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 http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry MH16 page ....
  7. Google Books "India List and India Office List -1905" page 510; Retrieved on 19 Aug 2016