Bankura Damodar Railway
|Bankura Damodar Railway|
Narrow gauge loco plinthed at Bankura railway station
|Owner||McLeod & Company till 1967 and thereafter Indian Railway|
|Operator(s)||McLeod's Light Railway Company till 1967 thereafter South Eastern Railway|
|Line length||Narrow gauge: 97 km (60 mi)|
|Track gauge||2 ft 6 in (762 mm)|
|Bankura Damodar Railway|
Bankura Damodar Railway (acronym BDR) (also referred to as Bankura Damodar River Railway) was a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge line built and operated as part of McLeod’s Light Railways, which operated between Bankura and Rainagar in Bankura and Bardhaman districts in British India and later the Indian state of West Bengal. It is being revived as a broad gauge railway line.
The narrow gauge railway
Bankura-Damodar River Railway Company was registered on 30 March 1914. Construction of the line was sanctioned on 1 May 1914. The railway was built on 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge in the financial year 1916-17. The 97 kilometres (60 mi) railway, operating between Bankura and Rainagar, was opened to traffic in sections between 15 December 1916 and 6 June 1917.
The railway was known as Bankura Damodar Railway, as it used to terminate at Raingar, which was on banks of Damodar River. People used to take ferries to cross river to go on other side.
The standard locomotive for BDR was a powerful 0-6-4T design but during the first world war some 2-6-2T engines were also obtained from Stafford company of Bagnall, same as was ordered for the Egyptian Delta Light Railways (and hence known as the Delta class). The 1953 additions were also of this type. There were two Sentinel locomotives; one (No.8) is now preserved at the National Rail Museum, New Delhi. A steam loco shed at Bankura served the narrow gauge line.
Earlier this line made a good income but the loss making started since 1970. That narrow gauge rail line proved inadequate in comparison of parallel bus service. Although buses were costlier, but they were faster. Slow moving NG steam loco hauled trains were often interrupted service due to low maintenance. Breaking of coupler, failure of vacuum etc. were common problem. As a result, number of passengers was getting lower, so increasing of loss. At that time passengers and inhabitants called this line BDR = Barha Duhkher Rail (literally means Very Lamentable Rail). There were a plan to replace those steam hauled service by NG diesel rail-bus, but finally it weren’t matured. The BDR services were withdrawn in 1995 after it incurred huge losses.
Revival as a broad gauge line
The old route of Bankura Damodar Railway has been revived as the 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Bankura-Masagram line beginning in 2005.
- Indian railways: glorious 150 years - Page 81 by R. R. Bhandari, India. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Publications Division - 2005 - McLeod & Co. owned and managed four 2 ft 6 in gauge lines in Eastern region - (1) Bankura- Rainagar line - 97 km long - opened in 1916-17.
- "Bankura-Damodar Railway (BDR)". SE Railway. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "Bankura-Damodar Railway". Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "BDR resumes service after 13 yrs". The Statesman, 23 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-22.