Jharia Coalfield Railways
Jharia Coalfield Railways
Spelling Note - the early records use ‘Jherriah’ as the spelling. The spelling ‘Jharia’ was used from about 1900 onwards.
The Jharia Coalfield lies in the Damodar River Valley, and covers about 110 square miles (280 square km), and produces bituminous coal suitable for coke. Most of India's coal comes from Jharia, it consists of 23 large underground and nine large open cast mines  .
It became possible to develop mining in the Jharia Coalfield in the late nineteenth century primarily because of the introduction of railways.
- The East Indian Railway (EIR) Company extended the ’Grand Chord Line’ to Katrasgarh, to the north of the coalfields, via Dhanbad in 1894 . Branch lines were constructed to access the coalfields
- The southern area of the coalfield was served by the Bengal-Nagpur Railway(BNR) ‘Jharia Coalfield Extension Line’ and its various branches
The discovery of coal near Jharia led to the construction by the EIR of a short branch line of approximately 30 miles(48km) from Sitarampur, on the ‘EIR Main Line’, via Kumardhubi to Dhanbad in 1880 . Kumardhubi was the location of an early Colliery. The line was extended from Dhanbad to Katrasgarh in 1894 .
In 1890 the EIR submitted a Report by Mr T H Ward on the economic resources of the coalfield which was superior to the quality from the Raniganj coalfield. The construction of the EIR line from Barakhar to Katras was sanctioned in Apr 1892 and the line via Dhanbad opened in May 1894 and a year later another line from Kusunda to Pathardi thus connecting ‘the whole length of the coalfield’ .
In 1894-98 the Midnapore-Jherriah Coalfield Railway Survey - see separate page for more information developed a number of alternative routes for accessing the Jharia coalfields. The final route was developed by the Bengal Nagpur Railway(BNR)
The BNR entered the Jhariah coalfield in 1904 and it was recorded that “the subsequent extension of various loops and small branches, besides innumerable small sidings from both Railway systems and the EIR Grand Chord from Dhanbad to Gomoh which opened in 1907, enabled full development of every part of the coalfield, including the extension to the west towards the Ramgarg Bokaro Coalfield” 
Jharia Coalfield EIR Railways
The discovery of coal near Jharia led to the construction by the EIR of a short branch line of approximately 30 miles(48km) from Sitarampur, on the ‘EIR Main Line’, via Kumardhubi to Dhanbad in 1880 . Kumardhubi was the location of an early Colliery. The line was extended from ]]Dhanbad to [[Katrasgarh in 1894 .
This line later further extended to Gomoh to form the route Sitarampur-Barakhar-Kumardhubi-Dhanbad-Katrasgarh-Gomoh. This line become part of the ‘EIR Grand Chord Line’ which fully opened in 1906 and reduced the distance for carrying coal to North India by 110 miles(177km) as it was no longer necessary to detour via Sitarampur.
- ‘Katras EIR Branch Line’ from Dhanbad opened in 1894 via Kasunda to Katrasgarh, 9½ miles(15km)  and extended to Phularitand in 1924 to form the ‘Dhanbad-Phularitand Section’, 14 miles (22 km).
- ‘Jharia EIR Branch Line’ from Dhanbad to Jharia opened 1894, 3¾ miles(6km) 
- ‘Damuda EIR Branch Line’ from Kasunda to Jharia opened in 1895, 4 miles(7km) ; extended in 1903 to Pathardih to form the ‘Dhanbad-Pathardih Section 9½ miles(15km) .
- ‘Pradhankhanta-Pathardih EIR Chord’ linking Pradhankhanta and Pathardih 9½ miles(15 km), opened in 1913.
Jharia Coalfield BNR Railways
All these lines were broad gauge(BG)
The Bengal Nagpur Railway, ‘BNR Main Line’ between Asansol and Nagpur, 46 miles(74km), opened in 1891.
At Asasnol there was a junction with the ‘EIR Main Line’.
Midway between Asansol and Purulia is the location of Adra Junction, the connection with the 'Jhariah Extension Line' (see below).
Jharia Extension BNR Line
- ‘Bankura-Bhojudih BNR Section’; 61 miles(98km), opened 1903 as the first part, from Bankura via Adra Junction (see above) to Bhojudih.
- ‘Bhojudih-Sudamdih-Gomoh BNR Section’, 26 miles(42km) was opened in 1907 as a further extension to the ‘BNR Jharia Extension Line’. From Bhojudih via Sudamdih to Gomoh. Between Sudamdih and Gomoh is Mahuda Junction, the connection to the ‘Loop Line’ (see below), giving access from the south to the Jharia Coalfields. At Gomoh there was a junction with the ‘EIR Grand Chord Line’.
BNR Branches and extensions on the Jharia Coalfields:-
- ‘Bhojudih-Bhaga-Malkera-Mahuda BNR Loop Line’ ; 19 miles(31km), opened 1903-04, from Bhojudih via Bhaga and Malkera to Mahuda Junction (see above)
- ‘Bhowra Branch BNR Line’; 3 miles(5km), opened 1903 at Bhowra
- ‘Bhojudih-Pathardihi BNR Link Line’; 1½ miles(2.3km); opened 1906 and 1915 linking Bhojudih and Pathardihi
- ‘Mahuda Junction-Chandrapura-Bermo BNR Branch Line’, 22 miles(35km), opened in 1913 . The section from Mahuda Junction (see above) to Jamuniatand, 4 miles (6km) was owned by BNR; The section from Jamuniatand to Chandrapura and Bermo Colliery, 18 miles(29km) was jointly owned by BNR and EIR. The entire section was jointly worked by EIR and BNR and is described as part of the ‘Bokaro Ramgarh Extension BNR Line’ in the 1918 Administration Report . Note: Bokaro is 4 miles west of Bermo and Ramgarh is a further 24 miles west, the title of the line refers to the later 1927 westward extension - see page Bokaro Ramgarh Coalfields Railways
- Wikipedia “Jharia Coalfield”; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
- Wikipedia “Jharia Coalfield rail Network”; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
- “Symphony of Progress - The Saga of the Eastern Railway 1854-2003”; published by Eastern Railway, 2003; page 18-19
- “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 54 (pdf63) ; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
- “Bengal District Gazetteer - Manbhum” by H.Coupland, 1911, Chapter IX ‘Coalfields in Manbhum’, pages 174-5; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
- “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 55 (pdf64) ; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
- “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 1 (pdf10) ; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019
- “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 2 (pdf11) ; Retrieved 22 Apr 2019