Eastern Bengal Railway - Lines owned and worked

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Eastern Bengal Railway - Lines owned and worked

- a sub-section of the Eastern Bengal Railway(EBR) page

- see also separate page East Bengal Railway Bridges - Lines owned and worked

EBR Railway System 1937 Map

EBR Railway Network

The Eastern Bengal Railway(EIR) owned and operated an extensive network of railways of broad gauge(BG), metre gauge(MG) and 2ft 6in/762mm narrow gauge(NG)

The EBR also managed, worked and maintained a number of lines on behalf of other parties.

The development of the EBR can be considered as three systems:-

East Bengal Railway - Broad Gauge Division 1909

EBR Broad Gauge System

The following is generally based on pages 42-43 of the ‘1918 Administration Report on Railways’ [1]

The broad gauge(BG) from the Calcutta terminus station at Sealdah via Dum Dum and Ranaghat to Poradaha opened in 1862 and extended in 1864 to Kushtia. The company had also acquired a steam vessel service operating between Kushtia and Dacca on the Ganges River (known in this region as the Padma River) [2]. In 1871 the line was extended from Poradaha to a new ferry terminal at Goalundo , about 45 miles east of Kushtia and reducing the river trip to Dacca. These railways became the start of the ‘EBR Eastern Division’.

In 1868 the Government of India took ownership of the BG Calcutta and South Eastern Railway and awarded the EBR the contract for working the line from Calcutta to Port Canning. This became, this became start of the the ‘EBR Southern Section’.

‘EBR Eastern Section’ - by 1874 the BG branch from Poradaha to Damukdia on the right bank of Padma River, opposite Sara Ghat had opened. Passengers crossed the river Padma by railway operated steamer ferry using the Sara Train Ferry. In 1874 this linked to the metre gauge(MG) Northern Bengal State Railway (NBSR) running northwards reaching Siliguri. By 1879 the journey north from Calcutta to Shiliguri became possible without a break. At Siliguri , in the foothills of the Himilayas, there was a connection with the Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway (which opened 1879-81) [3]

‘EBR Central Section’ - the EBR operated the Bengal Central Railway from the outset with two BG lines Ranaghat to Bangaon, opened in Oct 1882; and Dum Dum which reached Khulna (Khoolna) in 1884, via Bangaon (Bongong) and Jessore.

‘EBR Southern Section’- in 1883 was extended to reach Diamond Harbour.

‘EBR Eastern Section’ - in 1890 was extended further eastward to Faridpur and from 1905 northwards to reach Murshidabad and on to Lalgola Ghat in 1907. Two proposals for further extensions are given in the ‘Imperial Gazetteer’ :- the 1909 map shows a dotted line to extend the line northwards from Lagola to connect to the EBR metre gauge(MG) network at Katiawar [4] and the ‘Imperial Gazetteer’ states [5] “There is also a proposal to bridge the Bhagirathi River between Jiaganj and Murshidabad, and to connect the new line with the East Indian Railway system”.
Neither of these proposals were adopted.

Further minor branches had been constructed thereafter, giving by 1918 [1] a total BG network of 569 miles(915km) :-

  • ‘EBR Eastern Section’ 371 miles(597km)
  • ‘EBR Southern Section’ 70 miles(113km)
  • ‘EBR Central Section’ 128 miles(206km)

By 1937 the BG line length increased to 846 miles(1361km) [6]:-

  • ‘EBR Eastern Section’ 629 miles(1012km). The original ‘BG Main Line’ from Calcutta ran as far as Santahar where it interchanged to the ’Santahar-Silguri Extension’, a 145 mile(233km) metre gauge(MG) that had opened in 1877-78. This was converted to BG in stages from 1914 to 1926 to thus extending the ‘BG Main Line’
  • ‘EBR Southern Section’ 92 miles(148km), with the added 23 miles(37km) ‘Lalshmikantapur Branch’, opened 1928
  • ‘EBR Central Section’ 126 miles(203km) with only minor corrections from the 1918 Reportr

Lines worked by EBR and included in the ‘EBR BG System

In addition the BG Sara-Sirajgonj Railway 53 mile(85km) branch from the EBR mainline had been constructed and then worked by EBR as a part of the ‘EBR Eastern Section’

East Bengal Railway - Metre Gauge Division 1909

EBR Metre Gauge System

The following is generally based on pages 47-48 of the ‘1918 Administration Report on Railways’ [7]

The EBR metre gauge(MG) system originated by absorption of other railways

See separate pages for more information and references

Northern Bengal State Railway (NBSR) in 1877-78 opened the MG Santahar via Parvatipur(Parbatipur on map) to Jalpaguri line extending it northwards to Siliguri in 1878 and southwards to the Train Ferry at Sara Ghat in 1879. This completed the northern link. The NBSR had also by this date completed the line eastward from Parvatipur via Rangpur(Rungpore on map) to Kaunia(Kauniya on map). At Kaunia the line linked to the narrow gauge(NG) Kaunia-Dharlia State Tram/Railway. In 1887, to ensure better management the NBSR was transferred to the EBR, this became the start of the ‘EBR Metre Gauge’.

Dacca State Railway(DSR) also in 1887, was transferred to the EBR although this MG line was not connected to the EBR system. Later, in 1899, the EBR constructed the MG Mymensingh-Jamalpur-Jagannath Railway, owned by the Indian General Navigation and Railway Company. The two lines were linked and worked jointly by EBR.

Brahmaputra-Sultanpur Railway in 1899-1900 opened two MG lines which were worked by EBR. Santahar to Bonarpara, 51 miles(81km) and the Phulchari Branch Railway from Bonarpara to Phulchari, 8 miles(14km). In 1904 the EBR acquired these lines became the first part of the EBR ‘Santahar-Kaunia Loop Section’ when the system was extended to Kaunia in 1905

Gauhati Branch Railway in 1906 the EBR opened from Golakganj eastward and reached Armingoan by 1909; where it linked to EBR’s Amingaon-Pandu Train Ferry; crossing the Brahmaputra River to the Pandu Ghat-Gauhati Railway connecting to Assam-Bengal Railway(ABR) at Gauhati. This completed the ‘EBR Mainline MG’ of 328 miles(528km).

By 1918, with further construction of branches, the EBR network had a MG line length of 978 miles(1574km) [7]

By 1937 the MG line length had increased to 1039 miles(1672km) with the addition of several MG branch lines and the reduction of 145(miles(223km) converted from MG to extend the ‘Eastern Section - ‘BG Main Line’ mentioned above. [8]-

East Bengal Railway - Narrow Gauge System 1909

EBR Narrow Gauge System

The following is generally based on pages 49-52 of the ‘1918 Administration Report on Railways’ [9].

The EBR 2ft 6in/762mm narrow gauge(NG system originated by absorption of other railways

See separate pages for more information and references

Kaunia-Kurigram Railway had opened in 1882 as a 2ft 6in/762mm narrow gauge(NG) line running east wards from Kaunia, where it connected to the NBSR metre gauge(MG). Taken over by EBR in 1887 and in 1901 the section from Kaunia to Teesta was converted to MG becoming part of the 'EBR Metre Gauge'

Cooch Behar State Railway, 2ft 6in/762mm NG, from its junction with the EBR at Gitaldaha reached Cooch Behar in 1898, owned by the Princely Cooch Behar State and worked by the EBR. The line was extended northward to the border with British Territory in 1900 and to Jainti in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in 1901. In 1910 the entire line from Gitaldaha to Jainti line was converted to MG becoming the 'Jainti Branch' of the 'EBR Metre Gauge'

Khulna-Bagerhat Railway, 2ft 6in/762mm NG, 20 miles(32km) opened in 1918. Owned by a private company but worked by EBR. The line ran from Khulna Khulna was the end of the ‘EBR Central Section’ broad gauge(BG) mainline to Bagirhaut,

Alphabetical Listing of EBR lines and lines worked by EBR

See separate pages for more information and references

EBR Train Ferry Links