Jubbulpore Gun Carriage Factory Monorail

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Jubbulpore Gun Carriage Factory Monorail

This ordinance factory at Jubbulpore opened in 1904 by the Ordnance Department, part of the military responsible for the supply of weapons and ammunition. Two different monorail systems were used during the construction of the site in 1901-02 in order to evaluate the ‘Caillet System Monorail’ and the ‘Ewing System Monorail[1].

The ‘Caillet System’ consisted of 10 miles(16km) of Caillet rail with six tip trucks, one log bogie and a platform truck to aid the construction of the Factory. The ‘Ewing System’ ran from the the Great Indian Peninsula Railway(GIPR) goods yard to the factory site, a distance of 2 miles(3.2km). The lines was operated using hand labour. As a consequence, the rates of cartage fell as competition to them increased but at peak times bullock carts were still used. On site the line divided one to storage area for incoming goods and one to the work area carrying rock and earth for levelling the site [2].

The workers did not like the ‘Caillet System’ wagons and found them difficult to handle. Trained operators were required and at least one bad accident occurred. The engineers found that a monorail was useful in these circumstances as it was quick and cheap to lay using unskilled labour. It would work with reasonably sharp curves and the rails did not have to be perfectly laid. There was minimum disruption to other road users [2].

The findings on the two systems were [2]: -

The ‘Caillet System Trucks
These were easier to control down slopes, but required trained labour and were wearisome to the pullers and therefore could be dangerous. They also found the same difficulties as experienced by the engineers at the Kanan Davan Monorail . To change the type of motive power required rebuilding the connection frame and could not be formed into trains.

The ‘Ewing System Trucks
These were easier to use especially by untrained labour and could be joined together quickly. They found that the traction was heavier as a consequence and the large road wheel meant that loading could only be done from one side. These trucks hand not been used in the levelling works and it was doubtful how they would have performed on uneven ground.

The result of the trial, showed that the ‘Ewing System’ was the best and more trucks would have been ordered but the main line GIPR sidings had reached the factory. Major Edgell felt that a two-line light railway would have been best but the monorail was very flexible [2] .

Jubbulpore Tramway/Monorail Project
In addition to these two monorails another 4 miles(6.4km) of monorail was proposed to be laid to the brick works but the owners did not want to work it. The report states ‘ The brick contractor objecting to use the line for his bricks (as the cartage line labour already gave more trouble than he cared for) no line was laid to the brickfields.’ At a later date, probably after the construction of the plant, a narrow gauge (NG) tramway, of unknown gauge, was proposed but this was apparently abandoned [2] .

Jubbulpore Broad Gauge Sidings
The records also show that broad gauge(BG) locomotives were allocated to the site from 1903 onwards, these would have connected to the GIPR sidings at Jubbulpore [1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 “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 http://irsshop.co.uk/India. Reference: Entry IA18 page ....
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 British Library IOR/ L/MIL/7/14846 “Collection 335/13 Report on monorail tramway at Jubbulpore.”; Memorandum 11114; 1903