Tramways in Mysore State
Tramways in Mysore State
The Mysore State Railway(MSR) was a metre gauge(MG) railway leased and worked by the Southern Mahratta Railway(SMR) which became the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway(M&SMR) in 1907. The section from Birur ran north-west via Tarikere to Bhadravati , 28½ miles(46km), then another 11½ miles(19km) to Shimoga. The line opened on 1 Dec 1899 and was extended a number of times until it reached Talguppa with the opening of the Shimogar-Talaguppa Railway in 1940.
The Shimogar-Talaguppa Railway metre gauge(MG) line was laid in 1939 as an extension to the MSR and opened in 1940. The primary function was to transport wood from the Malnad forests to the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Plant, to be used as a fuel in its furnaces .
The following tramways in the region shown on the Map have been identified as built for the transport of limestone, iron ore and wood:-
- Tarikere-Narasimharajapura Tramway (see this page for more information). To assist in opening up the state forests a 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) Tramway was built from an interchange with the MSR at Tarikere 12 miles (19km) west to Lakvalli (modern name Lakkavalli, see Map). This opened for goods traffic in Jan 1915 and passengers in May 1915. It was extended via Tadesa to Narasimharajapura by May 1917 with a limited service. The official name was ‘The Tarikere-Narasimharajapura Tramway’ and was operated by MSR for the Forestry Department 
- Tadasa-Hebbe Tramway (see this page for more information). A goods only branch line was added in Feb 1921 to the Tarikere-Narasimharajapura Tramway (see above) from Tadasa (halfway between Lakvalli and Narasimharajaapura) to Hebbe a distance of 9½ miles(15km) to carry Forest Traffic (see Map). 
- Shimoga-Kumsi Mine Tramway (see this page for more information). This 2ft/610mm NG tramway was used to t ransport iron ore from the Kumsi Mine near Chattanahalli to Shimoga, a line of about 25 miles(40km) (see Map). At Shimoga the iron ore was transferred to the metre gauge MSR line to feed the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Plant, which became operational in 1918 .
- Maganese Mines Branch of the Shimoga-Kumsi Mine Tramway (see this page for more information). Branch in the Shankargudda State Forest, of about 6 miles(9 km) from Sirgere Junction, is shown on the Map and connects via the above line to a ‘Manganese Depot’ at Shimoga.
- Bhadravati-Agasanahadlu Tramway, a 2ft/610mm NG tramway, opened in Apr 1922 to serve the forest areas. It ran 15 miles(24km) south-west to Umblibali (now named Umblebyle) and was extended to a total of 25 miles(40km) to Agasanahadlu (see Map). A short link line from Agasanahadlu to Tadesa gave connection to the ‘Tarikere-Narasimharajapura Tramway’ mentioned above. In about 1938,after the cement works at Bhadravati was established it carried black clay and later quartz for the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Plant  .
- Bhadravati-Tanigebail Tramway, being the second line constructed to carry iron ore to the Bhadravati Iron and Steel Plant. A 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) Mineral Tramway from Bhadravati southwards via Rangenahalli to Tanigebail, 22.8 miles(36.5km) was constructed in stages from Oct 1918 for transportation of iron ore . The first 2 miles(3.2km) from Bhadravati towards Ranganhali was open by 1922 and the line completed Tanigebail in 1923-24 (see Map). . The tramway crossed the MSR line at Rangenahalli but a transfer between lines was not built .
- Bhadravati-Kemmangundi Tramway is the description in some records which includes 'Bhadravati-Tanigebail Tramway' (see above) and extends from Tanigebail to Kemamangundi, this being a 2-mile-long ‘Aerial Ropeway’ from the open cast mine dropping 5000 feet to Tanigebail. Kemmannugundi means red dirt, the ore contains about 60% iron .
- Agasanahadlu-Kemmangundi Tramway is reported as “24.5 miles(39.2km), constructed from Oct 1918 for the transport of iron ore.... with a 10mile(16km) section opened for fuel traffic on 1 Apr 1922... fully operational by 1 Apr 1923”. This record does not appear correct. The two locations are far apart apart, the ‘Bhadravati-Agasanahadlu Tramway’, 25 miles(40km) to the south-west of Bhadravati; and the ‘Bhadravati-Kemmangundi Tramway’ to the south, both mentioned above.
- Bhadravati-Antargang-Bhadigund Tramway, a 2ft/610mm NG gauge line was laid eastward to the limestone quarries at Bhadigund (see Map). From Bhadravati the tramway ran east to cross the River Bahdra on the same bridge as the MSR metre gauge(MG) line and the rails were laid between the existing track giving 4 rails across the bridge. The line ran to Antargang and onward to Bhadigund, a village 17km east-north-east of Bhadravati and is the location of the Bhadigund Limestone Mine, in operation working since 1938-39 
- Bhadravati-Joldhal Tramway is reported as “in 1922-23 the construction of the first 8 miles(13km) was commences and completed in 1923-24. The village of Jodhal is 22km north-east of Bhadravati . No further information has been found – this line does not appear of this Map.
The lines to Narasimharajapura and Hebbe closed in 1949. They were used in the construction of the dam at Lakkavalli providing irrigation water from the River Bahdra, the routes are now under water. The the other lines closed about the same time as the Dam was completed. All the track has since been removed .
- Wikipedia “Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant” ; Retrieved 5 Oct 2017
- "Industrial Railway Record 212 March 2013 The Mysore Iron & Steel Works" by Allan C Baker, page 494-499
- “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 KA30 page ....
- Steel Authority of India “Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant, Bhadravathi - 577 301” ; Retrieved 5 Oct 2017