Giridih District EIR Colliery Railways

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Giridih District EIR Colliery Railways

The East Indian Railway(EIR) acquired land in 1863 for two collieries near Giridih in the valley of the Barakar River [1] and was being worked by July 1863 [2].

The ‘Giridh Branch Line’ from Madhupar on the EIR Howrah-Delhi Main Line, 27 miles (43km), opened in 1871 [3] and enabled EIR to supply its own mined coal for its steam locos and boilers [4]. Prior to this the EIR were dependent on the supply of coal from the ‘Raniganj Colliery’ operated by the Bengal Coal Company operating in the ‘Burdwan Coalfied District’.

The two Giridih District Collieries owned and operated by EIR were :-

  • Kurhurbaree Colliery, with alternative spelling Karharbari (2 km west of Giridih)[5]
  • Seramphore Collieries, with alternative spelling Serampore (at Beniadih, 2km south-west of Giridih)[6]

The records show that a significant number of metre gauge(MG) locomotives and wagons, dating from 1863 onwards, were operating at these EIR collieries [2]. The extent of the MG track is unknown.

So this presents two questions:-

  • Why these collieries were operating the MG gauge, when the EIR system, including the ‘Giridh Branch Line’ were entirely broad gauge(BG)?
  • How was the coal conveyed from the collieries to the EIR branch line which terminated in the town of is Giridih, 2 km distant?

The records also show that 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) locomotives were operating in these collieries, the earliest dating from 1896.

  • Again the route and function of these NG system is not known.


  1. “Imperial Gazetteer of India,” v. 7, p. 261; Retrieved 19 Feb 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 “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 Reference: Entry JH32 pages 176-177
  3. “Administration Report on Railways 1918” pages 54 (pdf 63; Retrieved 19 Feb 2017
  4. “Symphony of Progress - The Saga of the Eastern Railway 1854-2003”; published by Eastern Railway, 2003; page 22
  5. “Imperial Gazetteer of India,” v. 12, p. 246; Retrieved 19 Feb 2017
  6. “The Giridih Coalfields - From Sea to Sea" vol.2, reports on Kipling’s visit to the East India Railway Company’s coal-field at Giridih in late-January early-February 1888, published in the Pioneer "On the Surface 24 August 1888, Page 307, line 13" which states 'Serampore Raja is a place in Beniadih, Giridih, in the coalfield area. The Raja of Serampore was the original landlord who gave mining rights to the East India Railway to start the Giridih Coalfields. There is also another town close to Calcutta of the same name, Serampore, which was once a Danish enclave, but this is not the one referred to by Kipling '; Retrieved 19 Feb 2017