Khojak Rope Inclines
Khojak Rope Inclines
Prior to the opening in 1891 of the ‘Kojak Tunnel ‘- see separate page a temporary system of ropeways were constructed over the Kwara Amran range of mountains on the Afghan frontier of India. The object was twofold:-
- “To facilitate the conveyance of machinery and stores for the western end of the tunnel and to expedite the extension of the railway beyond it”
- “As a military precaution to provide for the conveyance of troops and military stores to the front in case of need”
This temporary system was in use from 1888 for a period of three years
It was specified that the Ropeways:-
- “should be possible to transport intact broad gauge locomotives, wagons loaded with stores, and other rolling stock”
- “as the Ropeways were to be used for three years only, they must be constructed as cheaply and as quickly as possible”
- “they should be broad gauge throughout
- “that the inclines should be able to carry the heaviest broad gauge locomotives and rolling stock”
- “that in order to avoid delay through obtaining plant and appliances from England, they should be designed and made in India”
- “that the carrying Capacity should not be less than 400 tons per day”
The Report  stated that the first portion of the temporary line leaves the permanent line on the east side of the range at Shashakhan :-
- It follows the river-bed on an average gradient of 1 in 22 as far as Shelabagh. Six-wheeled locomotives, weighing 46 tons exclusive of tender, hauled as their ordinary load 4 wagons, weighing 72 tons.
- Here the slope of the valley steepens and the gradient to Wallers Camp is 1 in 15½. The line was worked with specially designed eight-coupled tank engines fitted with brakes (hand, steam and Le Chatelier) on all 8 wheels. These engines weigh 54 tons up to 1 in 15 gradients bround 500 feet curves, did the work extremely well, running regular 5 to 20 trains each way for three years.
- Incline No 1. Gradient 1 in 2¾, with a length of 1320 feet and a vertical height of 452 feet with a maximum load of 30 tons. There was a centre crossing place. The gradient was so steep that specially designed incline-trucks so that the upper platform on which the broad gauge tracks were laid was always horizontal during transit. A single loaded wagon was carried on these rails and shunted on at the bottom and off at the top of the incline and vice-versa for the return. It was worked by a stationary engine at the summit to a height of 7260 feet above sea level .
- next followed a short length of single broad gauge line of 1100 feet along the ridge with a maximum gradient of 1 in 40, worked by a small tank engine.
- Incline No 2. Gradient 1 in 2½, with a length of 1420 feet and a vertical height of 568 feet with a maximum load of 30 tons. There was a centre crossing place and specially designed incline-trucks were also in use here.
- Incline No 3. Gradient 1 in 7 down to 1 in 10, with a length of 3950 feet and a vertical height of 484 feet with a maximum load of 40 tons. It was a double line, self-acting as it was downhill with horizontal pulleys 12 feet diameter at the summit of the incline, fitted with double hand brakes.
- Incline No 4. Gradient 1 in 8 down to 1 in 13, with a length of 4700 feet and a vertical height of 376 feet with a maximum load of 50 tons. It was a double line, self-acting as given above.
- This connected to a short length of single line, with a gradient of 1 in 16 worked by tank engines with eight-coupled wheels, similar to those on the east side.
This then joins to the permanent railway close to Chaman Fort, which had been laid with a gradient of 1 in 40 for a distance of 10 miles to the terminus at New Chaman.
The works were constructed by Walter James Weightman (the author of this Article) , under the instruction of Francis Langford O'Callaghan, Engineer-in-Chief; the designs and drawings having been first submitted for approval to Guilford Lindsey Molesworth , Consulting Engineer to Government.
All the machinery and appliances were made at the ‘North Western Railway’ Locomotive and Carriage Shops at Lahore under the direction of Charles Thomas Sandiford
- See also Khojak Tunnel
- A very rare photograph, subject to copywrite, is shown on Funimag Pakistan posted 26 April 26, 2010 ‘The Khojak Rope Inclines’