Bhadravati Iron and Steel Plant Railway and Tramways

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Bhadravati Iron and Steel Plant Railway and Tramways

The’ Mysore Iron Works’ was established by the Government of Mysore at Bhadravati (formerly named Benikpur), from 1918. From 1918 to 1923 Tata Iron & Steel Co were the Managing Agent; from 1923 a management board was constituted from members of the Government Mysore who took over the management of the company.

High grade ore had been found in the nearby Bada Budangari Mountains. The plant also contained a wood distillation plant to make charcoal to run the furnaces on, due to a lack of coal in the area. In 1923 A blast furnace was added and steel production started with a light rolling plant to make mild steel sections. The facilities at the works was expanded and in 1934, with the addition of a steel plant became known as ‘Mysore Iron & Steel Ltd’ [1].

MG Railway

The works is to the south of the Bhadravati station and metre gauge(MG) railway was used for internal operations within the Iron Works. There was a connection at Bhadravathi to the Birur-Shimoga Railway, MG branch line which was worked by the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway(M&SMR) [2]. Thus the Iron Works would have direct connections to the main cities and ports.

The records show a large number of MG were operational at the works [1].

NG Tramways

A number of 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) lines were built for the transport of limestone, iron ore and wood [1]:-

  • ‘Banasandra-Oblapur Tramway’, for transport of limestone was built in 1919-20. Oblapur is about 40 miles(65km) east of Banasandra station . It is assumed that at Banasandra the limestone was transhipped to the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway(M&SMR) branch line to the works at Bhadravati.
  • ‘Bhadravati-Kemmangundi Tramway’, 22.8 miles(36.5km), for the transport of iron ore opened in stages from 1928 to 1922
  • ‘Agasanhadlu-Kemmangundi Tramway’, 24.5 miles(39.2km), for the transport of iron ore was fully opened in 1923.
  • ‘Bhadravati-Joldhal Tramway’, the first 8 miles(13km) opened 1922 and completed 1923-24
  • ‘Kemmangundi Ropeway’ was constructed at the end of the ‘Bhadravati-Kemmangundi Tramway’

The records show a large number of NG locomotives which would have been used for transport of raw materials [1].

History of Mysore Iron Works

The Iron Works was established to tap the rich iron ore deposits near Kemmanagund, in the Baba Budangiri hills, and manufacture pig iron and other products. A preliminary investigation of setting up an iron and steel factory at Bhadravathi was done in 1915-16. This investigation was done by a New York based firm who explored the possibility of manufacturing pig iron with the use of charcoal fuel. The years 1918-22 were spent in setting up the factory. To start with, a wood distillation plant for manufacturing charcoal and blast furnace for smelting iron were set up in the factory. A cast iron pipe plant, open hearth furnace, rolling mills and a cement plant were later added and the name of the factory was changed to ‘The Mysore Iron and Steel Works’ [3]

Remarks

Kemmanagundi, in the Baba Budangiri hills, the location of the rich iron ore deposits mentioned above, is very close to Hebbe, the terminus of the Tadasa-Hebbe Tramway.

In 1939, the Shimogar-Talaguppa Railway line was laid, using wood from the Malnad forests were transported to this plant, to be used as a fuel in its furnaces Works’ [3]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compliled 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 KA30 page ....
  2. " Administration Report on the Railways in India – corrected up to 31st March 1918"; Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta; page 88; Retrieved 26 Feb 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wikipedia “Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant” ; Retrieved 26 Feb 2017