Sindia State Railway

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The Sindia State Railway was a broad gauge(BG) line connecting Agra to Gwalior via Dholpur. The ‘Gwalior-Hetampur’ section opened in Dec 1879 and the ‘Dholpur-Agra’ section in Jan 1879. The Chambal Rail Bridge was opened on 15 May 1881 completing the ‘Hetampur-Dholpu’ section thus directly linking Gwalior to Agra Cantonment , 76 miles(122km) [1]

The ‘Sindia State Railway’ was operating out of Agra Cantonment station, with an interchange with Rajputana State Railway [2] (The Rajputana State Railway in 1881-82 became the Rajputana-Malwa State Railway until 1885 when it became part of the ‘Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway’(BB&CIR)).

The ‘Sindia State Railway’ was from 1885 worked by the ‘Indian Midland Railway’(IMR) which had a comparatively brief existence.

The ‘Scindia State Railway’ was handed over to the IMR under a Contract dated March 1890. [3].

Later in 1990 the IMR was amalgamated with the Great Indian Peninsula Railway(GIPR). This Gwalior-Agra line then became part of the ‘GIPR Midland Mainline’ between Bhopal and Agra [1][

Sindia State Railway

Survey and Construction

The first Public Works Department(PWD) - Railway Branch Surveys were undertaken in 1872 and 4 separate routes were surveyed and submitted to the Government. Little happened until 1874 when the staff were transferred to Bengal on Famine relief. In August that year the orders were received to build a 5ft 6inch gauge railway via Dholpur and crossing the Chambal River near Bher. Some of the staff were recalled and the 34 miles from Agra were laid out [4]

The construction of the ‘Sindia State Railway’ commenced in 1876 and the Engineers-in-Charge being William Michell and Horace Bell. [5].
Frederick Lewis Dibblee,Superintending Engineer, deployed from PWD to Gwalior and Jhansi Division Survey in 1880-81[6].

A quarry line was opened at Dholpur (‘Dholpur Quarry Railway’) to quarry the stone for the 'Chambal Rail Bridge’ – see separate page. The construction of the railway and the bridge was awarded to Messrs Glover and Company as contractors in February 1876 They undertook to complete the line to Dholpur by the end of June 1878 and the complete line by the end October 1880. Alteration to the approach at Agra to include the Agra Cantonment modified the cost and the expected cost was RS. 8,907,778 [4].

After the ‘Chambal Rail Bridge’ “the line runs through heavy ravines to the westward again, keeping somewhat near (about a mile) from the trunk road. Passing the stations of Bhandha, Shikarpur, Bamoor and Morar troop station, it reaches the terminal station lying between the Morar Cantonment and Gwalior, and a distance of 75.1 miles from Agra Cantonment station ... the line crosses the Khari , Asan and Sunk rivers on girder bridges of three, four, and three spans of 100 feet, respectively." [4]

Opening and Operation

During the famine of 1877 the line partially opened to supply grain but after the rains returned that ceased. In January 1878 the line opened properly between Agra and Dholpur. The contractors had an extension to December 1880 to complete the Chambal Bridge and the Southern side opened for traffic [4].

The railway was opened 1881 by the Maharaja Sindia of Gwalior and operated under the management of Sir W S S Bissett until 1885. [7]


Refer to FIBIS Fact File #4: “Research sources for Indian Railways, 1845-1947” - available from the Fibis shop. This Fact File contains invaluable advice on 'Researching ancestors in the UK records of Indian Railways' with particular reference to the India Office Records (IOR) held at the British Library

An on-line search of the IOR records relating to this railway [8] gives the following: -

  • V/24/3589 “India. Public Works Department: Administration report on the construction of the Sindia State Railway, 1874/75"
  • R/V/24/3590; "Public Works Department: Railways" which includes "Administration report on the construction of the [Sindia State] Railway, 1878/79”
  • L/F/8/13/953 “Indian Midland Railway Company Limited, Contract as to the Indian Midand Railway Company maintaining and working the Sindia State Railway; 1890"

Further Information

See Chambal Rail Bridge
and Great Indian Peninsula Railway from 1900


  1. 1.0 1.1 “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 65 (pdf73) ; Retrieved 19 Feb 2018
  2. “Administration Report on the Railways in India 1883-84 by Colonel F S Stanton, Director General of Railways” Appendix J -click on GIPE-015955-Contents.pdf; pdf 31 of 61; Retrieved 19 Feb 2018
  3. British Library IOR/L/F/8/13 (953) ‘Contract with the Indian Midland Railway Company Limited as to the handing over of the Sindia State Railway’, 18 March 1890
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 British Library ‘India Office Records’ V/24/3590 “Sindia State Railway Administration Report” 1878-79
  5. Graces Guide "Sindia State Railway"; Retrieved 19 Feb 2018
  6. Grace’s Guide ‘Frederick Lewis Dibblee’]; Retrieved 22 Apr 2020
  7. Google Books "India List and India Office List 1905" page 442"; Retrieved 13 Dec 2015
  8. “British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue” - Search; Retrieved May 2016