Southern Mahratta Railway

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Southern Mahratta Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
Line of route
Hotgi to Guntakal
Guntakal to Bezwada
Gadag to Poona
Bellary to Rayadrug (branch)
Gauge / mileage
Metre gauge 1042 miles (1905)
1884 First sections opened to traffic
Key locations
Presidency Madras, Bombay
Stations Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bellary, Bezwada, Bijapur, Cumbum, Gadag, Guntakal, Guntur, Harihar, Hospet, Hotgi, Londa, Miraj, Nandyal, Poona, Rayadrug, Tadepalli
System agency
1882 Worked by Southern Mahratta Railway
1907 Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
How to interpret this infobox
Southern Mahratta Railway
[[Image:|150px| ]]
System timeline
1882 Contracted to work Mysore State Railway
1907 Merged with Madras Railway
to form Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
Constituent companies / lines
1882 Southern Mahratta Railway
1899-1919 Birur-Shimoga Railway
Guntakal-Mysore Frontier Railway
1887-1938 Hindupur-Yesvantpur Railway
Hospet-Kottur Railway
Kolhapur State Railway
1891-1919 Mysore-Nanjangud Railway
1887-1938 Mysore State Railway
1902 West of India Portuguese Railway
Key locations
Headquarters Dharwar
Workshops Dharwar/Hubli
See M&SMR Railway Workshops
Major Stations Bangalore, Bellary, Gadag, Guntakal, Hotgi, Kolhapur, Marmagao, Mysore, Poona
Successor system / organisation
1907 Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway
System mileage
Metre gauge 1687 miles (1905)
Associated auxiliary force
Southern Mahratta Railway Rifle Corps
How to interpret this infobox
Southern Mahratta Railway Map 1909, north section
Southern Mahratta Railway Map 1909, south section

The Southern Mahratta Railway(SMR) was also variously called the Southern Maratha Railway and the Southern Maharastra Railway.


In 1881 the Bombay Eastern Deccan Railway was under construction with William Michell the Engineer-in-Charge. This line immediately upon opening became the Bijapur Branch of the Southern Mahratta Railway. [1]

The Southern Mahratta Railway (SMR) was founded in 1882 to construct a metre gauge(MG) railway between Hotgi and Gadag (opened to traffic in 1884), one of the "famine lines" set up with a guarantee. In the same year (1882), it was contracted by the Indian State of Mysore to work the several metre gauge lines that the Mysore State had built or was in the course of construction.

In 1888, a line was extended from Londa towards the Portuguese colony of Goa where it connected with the Marmagao line at Castle Rock. (From 1902 this line was leased as the West of India Portuguese Railway. By 1890, this line extended from Londa eastwards via Guntakal to Bezwada, and northwards to Poona, turning the SMR from an assortment of branches to a real railway network.

In 1908, the SMR , with a route mileage of 1687 miles(2715km), merged with sections of the ‘South Indian Railway’ to form the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway - M&MSR Metre Gauge Division - see separate page for details

Railways absorbed into/worked by SMR


An on-line search of the India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this railway [2] gives several entries, the most relevant as follows: -

  • L/F/8/12/901; “Southern Mahratta Railway Company Limited, Contract as to construction, maintenance, management and working by the Southern Mahratta RailwayCompany Limited of a railway intended to be called the Southern Mahratta Railway “1 Jun 1882”
  • L/F/8/13/916 ; “Southern Mahratta Railway Company Limited, West Deccan Contract”; 28 Oct 1885
  • L/F/8/16/1178; “Southern Mahratta Railway Company Limited, Contract”; 26 Jun 1907


Unfortunately, there are no SMR Staff agreements held at the British Library in the India Office Records.

The following personnel , from the Public Works Department, are recorded as being ‘on loan’ to the Southern Mahratta Railway Company:-

  • Frederick Lewis Dibblee , Engineer-in-Chief, 1882 , on loan for a few months on start up of SMR [3].
  • Bernard William Cantopher, 1888-89, Executive Engineer [4]
  • Theophilus Michell, 1888-89, Executive Engineer [5].
  • Henry Wilkins Clift, -1889, Executive Engineer [6].


Further Information

See Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway for period after 1908