Dandot Light Railway

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Dandot Light Railway was a short 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) integrated system incorporating an incline, built to connect the 'Dandot Colliery', in the Jhelum District, to the North Western Railway(NWR) network by way of the 'Dandot Branch Line'.

Dandot Colliery was owned by and supplied coal to the North Western Railway(NWR) and opened in 1894. The other collieries supplying NWR were the Sharigh Colliery, the Khost Colliery [1] and the Bhaganwala Colliery [2].

Dandot Branch Line first opened in 1883 as a metre gauge(MG) line from Chalisa Junction on the mainline to the Khewra Salt Mines and extended to Dandot, a total of 8.5 miles(13.6km), as part of the Punjab Northern State Railway(PNSR) network. The line was converted to broad gauge(BG) in Aug 1887 to connect the Khewra Salt Mines to Chalisa Junction on the North Western Railway(NWR) network, which by that time was a fully BG. The extension to Dandot from Khewra, 2.1 miles(3.4km), was converted to BG in Aug 1889 [3].

Dandot Light Railway was a 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) system, it ran along the outcrop of the coal seam for about 8 miles(13km). The coal was taken in trains of 12 two ton wagons to a central station at the top and using the 'Dandot Incline' to the plains below [4].

Dandot Incline. The ruling gradient being as steep as 1 in 2½ and crossed several deep ravines, the inclines were described as having been built with considerable engineering skills and laid with three rails with a passing place in the middle . Six of the wagons were sent down at a time from the central station, using a steel wire rope, to the screens at the bottom. The distance being about 2 mile(3.2km) in a straight line with a fall of around 2,000 feet(610 metres), the journey time was around 25 minutes including shunting. On arrival at the screens the coal was discharged through the wagon side doors, hand screened and loaded into BG wagons. The BG sidings connected to the 'Dandot Branch Line' mentioned above [4].
Note. The line of the incline can clearly be seen on Google Earth Google Maps " Dandot, Kwara and Northwards" running north-north-east a short distance west from the from the 100 metres west of the Dandot Cement Factory'. Part of this 2ft NG system was later used by the 'Dandot Cement Factory' - see separate page as part of its system.

Dandot Mines Tramway. There was no track in the mines with all the coal being brought to the surface in sacks. This was due to the way in which the miners were paid for the coal they mined. A hand-worked tramway of unknown gauge was originally used but it was found that the miners would transfer the coal from one tub to another and so would be paid for coal they had not mined. The miners therefore refused to use the tramway and it was removed [4].

Closure. The colliery was closed by NWR in June 1911 and the equipment sold off [4].

References

  1. Google Books'The Making of India: The Untold Story of British Enterprise' by Kartar Lalvani; page 281; Retrieved 24 Nov 2017
  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 http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry PP14 page ....
  3. “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 108 (pdf116) ; Retrieved 24 Nov 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 “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 PP15 page ....