Shimoga Tramway

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The Shimoga Tramway was opened in 1907 to convey manganese ore from the’ Mysore Manganese Syndicate’ Company’s mines at Kumsi and Shankaragudda. The tramway, 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG), was 18 miles in length and was constructed by the Company as none of the Mysore rivers were navigable . The NG tramway operated to the Shimoga railway station where there was a connection to the metre gauge(MG) Birur-Shimoga Railway [1] [2].

In June 1905 the Syndicate applied to the Dewan of Mysore for permission to build a NG line from the station at Shimoga in two stages; firstly from the Shimoga railway staion over the bridge at Tunga river to Ayanur and from there to the mines at Kumsi. This permission was granted in July 1906. The tramway was to move manganese ore from the mines to the Southern Mahratta Railway(SMR) at Shimoga where it was transhipped and conveyed via Londa junction and the West of India Portuguese Railway(WIPR) to Mormugoa harbour for export to UK [3].

The records show that at eight 2ft 0in NG locomotives were operational from the opening in June 1907 [3].

By 1914 the ‘Workington Iron and Steel Company Ltd’ , a British company with a history going back to 1856 [4], had acquired the rights of the Shimoga Manganese mines and were operating through an office in Madras.

The 1914 'Workington Iron and Steel Company' handbook stated:-

'The company possess its own ore fields for the manganese for the manufacture of spiegeleisen (mirror iron a form of pig iron) and ferro-manganese. The deposits are in the state of Mysore in Southern India. They are of considerable extent and of a high quality which puts the company in a good position.” The workings are open cast, and feed a line of 2ft gauge and is 30 miles in length. The trains were pulled by wood burning Orenstein and Koppel 6 wheeled engines to Shimoga to join the M S M R to Marmagoa.’ [5].

IOR Records

An on-line search of the India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this tramway [6] gives the following:-

  • R/2/Box18/107; “File 432 1905 Proposed construction of a tramway from the Shimoga Railway Station to the Manganese mines at Kumsi. History of the above mines. Information required by the Portuguese General Consul at Bombay as to the Manganese mines in Mysore”; 1905-1923

Further Information

For details and map for tramways in this region see Tramways in Mysore State


  1. "Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1908" v. 18, p. 225.; Retrieved 23 Dec 2015
  2. Forgotten Books "Census of India: Mysore, Vol. 21 (Original work published 1912) Paragraph 46, page 20; pdf page 35; Retrieved 23 Dec 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 “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 Reference: Entry KA28 page ....
  4. Grace’s Guide “Workington Iron and Steel Co” ; Retrieved 14 Mar 2017
  5. Industrial Railway Society “Industrial Railway Record no 116” pages 360-61 by Peter Homes
  6. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved 26 Feb 2017