Lahore & Peshawar Railway

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The Lahore & Peshawar Railway in the Punjab was first surveyed in 1857-58 by deployment of a team of Engineers from the Sind Railway Company [1]. The construction did not proceed and years of political and military debate followed.

History

There was no further progress until 1866 when the military logistics of the Punjab was being considered. A letter [2] from Cranbourne to Lawrence carries the following IOR Contents note:- ' ..proposes to suspend work on Peshawar barracks, pending construction of Lahore-Peshawar railway, and in view of unhealthiness of area, cost, and uncertainty regarding number of troops required to be stationed there; asks whether Peshawar valley could be held with native troops in ordinary times; Council divided whether railway should be built by Govt or Guaranteed Company;...'

Finally, following further exchanges, as can be seen from the IOR Records, in 1868 a team of Government of India(GoI) appointed Engineers (see ‘Personnel’) commenced construction.

Political and military debate continued even once construction had begun [3] as see in the IOR Contents note:- ‘Need for early decision on gauge of Indus Valley railway line since it impinges on question whether Lahore-Peshawar line should be standard or narrow gauge; outlines arguments for narrow gauge on both these lines including military implications; asks Argyll to see Col Strachey on subject’.

Following further exchanges, the line was constructed by the of Government of India(Government of India(GoI). The Punjab Northern State Railway(PNSR) was created in 1870-71 to construct and operate the railway from Lahore to Peshawar.

Several major bridges required construction to complete the PNSR line between from Lahore and Peshawar:-

The section from Jhelum to Rawalpindi , 76 miles(122km), opened 1873 as a metre gauge(MG) line. This was converted to MG, converted to broad gauge(BG) in 1878 [4].

The BG line from Lahore to Jhelum, 103 miles(166km), opened 1878, thus taking the BG line north-eastward to Rawalpindi and reaching the Indus river in 1881. The line from Peshawar had reached the left bank of Kiarabad on the left bank of the Indus river in May 1882[4].

Lahore and Peshawar , 468 miles(753 km), were finally connected in 1883 [4] with the completion of the Attock Bridge over River Indus and became the Punjab Northern State Railway (PNSR). The PNSR was transferred to the newly formed Railway Board, becoming the first railway in India to be nationalised the under the control of the Government of India(GoI). Shortly after, on 1 Jan 1886, the North Western Railway (NWR) was formed from the amalgamation of the PNSR with others.

Records

An on-line search of the India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this railway [5] Gives a number of references, the most relevant being cited above:-

Personnel

Also 10 names of Engineers for year 1868 are found by ‘Search’ on IOR Records[5] for Lahore and Peshawar Railway. These engineers were deployed from the Public Works Department:-

References

  1. British Library Catalogue References (i) Z/E/4/31/R127; “Railways, Engineers, Sind Railway Company, Lately employed on surveys of Moultan and Amritzar to be employed to survey country between Lahore and Peshawar”; 1857-1858 and (ii) Z/E/4/31/S404; “Sind Railway Company, Recommended employment of certain engineers to survey country between Lahore and Peshawar”; 1857-1858. Both these link to File Reference IOR/E/4/848, pp1566-1570
  2. Mss Eur F90/27, no.32; “Letter from Cranborne to Lawrence” ; 27 Aug 1866
  3. Mss Eur B380/4, f357; “Letter from Mayo to Argyll”; 17 May 1870
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 106 (pdf115); Retrieved 28 Dec 2016
  5. 5.0 5.1 “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved 28 May 2016

Further Information

See Punjab Northern State Railway for information from 1868-86. and North Western Railway from 1886