Northern Bengal State Railway

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Northern Bengal State Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
Line of route
Sara Ghat to Siliguri
Parbatipur to Dinagepore, Parbatipur to Kaunia
Gauge / mileage
Metre gauge 156 miles (1879)
1874-1879 Initial construction
1887 Merged into Eastern Bengal State Railway
Key locations
Presidency Bengal
Stations Santahar, Chilahati, Jalpaiguri, Rungpore
System agency
State agency
How to interpret this infobox

The Northern Bengal State Railway (NBSR) was one of the first metre gauge(MG) lines to be constructed opening in 1874 from Sara Ghat, on the left bank of the Padma River. Initially built only as far as Chilahati but later extended to Siliguri , the NBSR branched west at Parbatipur to Dinagepore and east to Kaunia.


At the same time, a broad gauge(BG) extension of the Eastern Bengal Railway(EBR) from Poradaho to Damukdia on the right bank of Padma, opposite Sara Ghat branched off and extended eastward. Passengers crossed the river Padma by railway operated steamer ferry using the Sara Train Ferry [1]

With the later extension of the NBSR in 1879 to Siliguri the journey from Calcutta to Shiliguri became possible without a break. At Siliguri , in the foothills of the Himilayas, there was a connection with the Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway (which opened 1879-81) [1]

In 1887, to ensure better management, the NBSR along with Dacca State Railway(DSR) and the narrow gauge(NG) Kaunia-Dharlia State Tram/Railway were amalgamated to form the Eastern Bengal Railway(EBR).

Associated auxiliary force


Unfortunately, there are no BNSR staff records held in the India Office Records at the British Library.

The following records have been located from various sources:-

Further Information

See Eastern Bengal Railway - Lines owned and worked

Historical photographs online

  • Hawkes collection of Indian Railway Photographs (Y3022S) Royal Commonwealth Society Library/ University of Cambridge Digital Library. The description states "An album containing albumen prints of various sizes by R. Phillips of Darjeeling, Samuel Bourne and others. The name of F.A. Hawkes, who was an engineer on the North Bengal State Railways from 1871-1879, appears frequently in it. The photographs include the construction of the North Bengal State Railway".
Once inside the digital file, click on Contents for image titles. includes photograph of named engineers at Darjeeling 1872, 1876, 1877.