Triple Canal Project Construction Railways

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Triple Canal Project Construction Railways

The 'Triple Canal Project' was a system of link canals constructed by the Punjab Public Works Department(PWD). The scheme was sanctioned in 1905, and fully in service in 1917; the canals being the Upper Jhelum, Upper Chenab, and Lower Bari Doab. The Chief Engineer was John Benton. The scheme involved the construction of three great canals to carry 27,000 cubic feet(5765 cu. mtr) of water per second for the irrigation of 1,750,000 acres(700,000 ha), canals totalling 433 miles(700km) in length, with 3,010 miles(4800km) of distributaries and 20,000 miles(32,000km) of water courses. The proposal was to carry water from the Jhelum river, which was running to waste, to the Chenab, and from the Chenab across the Ravi River to the lands beyond it. This implied the transport of water beyond its natural geographical boundaries, and embodied a bold conception. It was described in a paper read before the Institution of Civil Engineers by Sir John Benton, and entitled “ The Punjab Triple Canal System” [1]. Broad Gauge(BG)Railways were used at all stages of the construction of these canals as follows:-

Upper Jhelum Canal Construction Railway

This canal linked the Jellum River near Mangla and the Chenab River at Chak Sadi. The following is from the Annual Reports [2]:-

  • 1904-05. A good deal of earthwork had been completed between 'Miles 25-49' in connection with the railway. However only a mile of track had been laid due to delays in delivery of materials from UK. The old railway and quarries from the Lower Jhelum Canal Construction were taken over:- 'Baha-ud-din to Rasul Railway' North Western Railway(NWR) line and 'Bhaganwala Stone Quarry Railway' See separate page.
  • 1905-06. Construction of the 'Rasul to Puran Railway' and 'Aurangababad to Bhoanj Railway' with a junction to the NWR line. The 'Tarakai Quarry Railway' developed with 21 lakh cubic feet(60,000 cu. metres) of pitching stone quarried, with 7 lakh cu.ft(20,000 cu.mtr) despatched to 'Upper Chenab Canal' and 2 lakh cu.ft(5,600 cu.mtr) to 'Upper Jhelum Canal'. The 'Bhaganwala Stone Quarry' supplied 5¼ lakh cu.ft(15,000 cu.mtr) to 'Upper Chenab Canal' and ¾ lakh cu.ft(2,100 cu.mtr) to 'Upper Jhelum Canal'.
  • 1906-07. Expansion of locomotives and wagons to cover increasing demand.
  • 1907-08. Opening of the 'Bhoanj Rasull via Puran Railway' forming the southern branch. The northern branch banking works as far as Suketar with railhead as far as Kakrot Torrent. Further sidings completed at 'Tarakai Quarry' and coal incline sidings at 'Bhaganwala Quarry'
  • 1908-09.'Channunwala Quarry' were opened and working. the southern branch of the railway was dismantled for 5 miles(8km), the line being lifted as all the material had been delivered. The northern branch was carried to 'Mile 62' and sidings laid to the 'Bhalwal Brickfields' for the Meli, Kasba and Rashidpur culverts and the level crossings at Suketar.
  • 1909-10. A further 5 miles(8km) of southern branch dismantled. The northern branch carried to Bong. All sidings dismantled to completed works.
  • 1910-11. The northern branch railhead carried from the headworks along the top of the Jhabber Bund, about 6 miles(10km), all materials being from the dismantling process. In addition to supplying materials for its own construction programme this railway supplied stone and ballast for construction of the 'Upper Chenab Canal' and 'Lower Bari Doab Canal '(see below). Also maintenance works on the Lower Jhelum, Lower Chenab Canal, and Sirhind Canal
  • 1911-12. The northern branch to Mangla maintained efficiency.The 'Pauranwala Branch Railway' ran for 10 miles(16km) along the southern slope of the Pabbis and carrying stone. The short 'Jowrah Branch Railway' construction commenced. The 'Chambal Hill Quarry' was a new quarry extension developed to satisfy the pressing demand for stone for the various projects.

1913-14. The Railways and Quarry Division of the project was closed as the materials required for the various projects had all been fully supplied. The Punjab PWD advertised the remaining equipment for sale.

Upper Chenab Canal Construction Railway

A canal built from the Marala Headworks on the Chenab River to the Ravi River. Work commenced in 1904-05 when the river was surveyed and the site of the weir and headworks fixed. The work continued in parallel with the 'Upper Jhelum Canal' project detailed above using shared resources [3].

Lower Bari Doab Canal Construction Railway

A canal built from the Marala Headworks on the Chenab River. The work continued in parallel with the 'Upper Jhelum Canal' project detailed above using shared resources [4].

Tramway

The records show that a Tramway system was being installed in 1910-11 and it is thought that this was the 33 mile (53km) of 2ft 6in/762mm narrow gauge(NG) and an unknown number of locomotives and wagons, which were supplied by the NWR to the Punjab PWD in April 1910 [2]. No further information concerning this tramway has been found

References

  1. Grace's Guide "John Benton (1850-1927)"; Retrieved 27 Nov 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 “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 PP22 page ....
  3. “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 PP11 page ....
  4. “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 PP09 page ....