Bilaspur–Nagpur section

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Bilaspur–Nagpur section
System Main line and some branch lines electrified. Some branch lines: diesel
Status Operational
Locale Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh
Termini Bilaspur
Services Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line
Opening 1891
Owner Indian Railway
Operator(s) South East Central Railway
Track length Main line: 414 km (257 mi)
Branch lines:
Talbandha-Dhamtari NG: 68 km (42 mi)
Durg-Dalli Rajhara: 87 km (54 mi)
Gondia-Balaghat-Katangi: 88 km (55 mi)
Tumsar Road-Tirodi: 48 km (30 mi)
Gondia-Nagbhir-Balharshah: 252 km (157 mi)
Nagpur-Nagbhir NG: 110 km (68 mi)
Kanhan-Ramtek: 23 km (14 mi)
Nagpur-Chhindwara NG: 110 km (68 mi)
Chhindwara-Amla: 115 km (71 mi)
No. of tracks Main line: 2
Track gauge Broad gauge 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
with some branch lines:
Narrow gauge 2 ft 6 in (762 mm)
Operating speed Main line: up to 160 km/hr

The Bilaspur–Nagpur section is part of the Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line and connects Bilaspur in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh and Nagpur in Maharashtra. Part of one of the major trunk lines in the country, it passes through a forested plateau region interspersed with fertile valleys.


The first train in India travelled from Mumbai to Thane on 16 April 1853. By May, 1854, Great Indian Peninsula Railway's Bombay-Thane line was extended to Kalyan. Bhusawal station was set up in 1860 and in 1867 the GIPR branch line was extended to Nagpur.[1]

While the entire Mumbai-Nagpur line was broad gauge, the next part from Nagpur to Rajnandgaon was meter gauge. The Nagpur Chhattisgarh Railway started construction of the 240 km (149 mi) Nagpur-Rajnandgaon section in 1878, after surveys were started in 1871. The Nagpur-Tumsar Road section was opened in April 1880 and the Tumsar Road-Rajnandgaon section in December 1880.[2]

The Howrah–Allahabad–Mumbai line, a joint effort of Great Indian Peninsula Railway and East Indian Railway Company came up in 1870.[3] The Bengal Nagpur Railway was formed in 1887 for the purpose of upgrading the Nagpur Chhattisgarh Railway and then extending it via Bilaspur to Asansol, in order to develop a shorter Howrah-Mumbai route than the one via Allahabad.[4] The Bengal Nagpur Railway main line from Nagpur to Asansol, on the Howrah-Delhi main line, was opened for goods traffic on 1 February 1891.[5]

A narrow gauge branch line was constructed from Raipur to Dhamtari, and from Abhanpur another branch line goes to Rajim. It was opened in 1900.[6] The Raipur-Dhamtari branch line was the first narrow gauge line of Bengal Nagpur Railway. The Gondia-Nagbhir-Nagpur line was opened for traffic in 1908. The Nagbhir-Rajoli line was opened in 1913 and extended up to Chanda. The Bhilai-Dalli Rajhara line mainly for iron ore transportation was opened in 1958. Bhilai Steel Plant was opened in 1959.[5]

Gauge conversion[edit]

Work for conversion to broad gauge of the 240 km (149 mi) narrow gauge Gondia-Chanda Fort line started in December 1992. The first phase covering Gondia-Wadsa section was inaugurated on 25 September1994. The second phase covering the Wadsa-Nagbhir section was opened on 20 February 1997. The fourth phase covering Nagbhir-Chanda Fort section was opened on 13 January 1999 and the Chandafort-Ballarshah section was operated from 2 July 1999.[7]

The Gondia-Balaghat section narrow gauge section was closed from January 2003 for conversion to broad gauge. It was opened for traffic on 6 September 2005.[7] The route from Balaghat to Katangi was converted from narrow gauge to broad gauge in 2010 and the route from Katangi to Tirodi is now under conversion.[8] The Gondia-Jabalpur gauge conversion project is an approved project.[7]

Four gauge conversion projects are on in Nagpur area (including Satpura narrow gauge lines). These are the 147 km (91 mi) long Nagpur-Chhindwara section, the 110 km (68 mi) long Jabalpur-Nainpur section, the 180 km (112 mi) long Chhindwara-Nainpur-Mandla section and the Nainpur-Balaghat section. All these projects are getting delayed because of funds crunch.[9]

Conversion of the Nagpur-Nagbhir section from narrow gauge to broad gauge was sanctioned in 2012-13.[10]


The entire main line is electrified but that came in stages. The Bilaspur-Bhilai and Bhilai-Durg sections were electrified in 1970-71, Durg-Paniajob section in 1989-90. The Paniajob-Gondia and Gondia-Bhandara Road sections in 1990-91, Bhandara Road-Tharsa and Tharsa-Nagpur sections in 1991-92.[11]

As of 2012, electrification of the Amla-Chhindwara is expected to start soon.[12]

Speed limits[edit]

The entire Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line is classified as a “Group A” line which can take speeds up to 160 km/hr.[13]

Railway reorganization[edit]

The Bengal Nagpur Railway was nationalized in 1944.[5]Eastern Railway was formed on 14 April 1952 with the portion of East Indian Railway Company east of Mughalsarai and the Bengal Nagpur Railway.[14] In 1955, South Eastern Railway was carved out of Eastern Railway. It comprised lines mostly operated by BNR earlier.[14][15] Amongst the new zones started in April 2003 were East Coast Railway and South East Central Railway. Both these railways were carved out of South Eastern Railway.[14]

Passenger movement[edit]

Bialspur, Raipur, Durg and Nagpur on this line are amongst the top hundred booking stations of Indian Railway.[16]

Narrow gauge rail museum[edit]

A Narrow Gauge Rail Museum was inaugurated at Nagpur on 14 December 2002. It was accorded the status at par with National Rail Museum, New Delhi.[7]


  1. ^ Chronology of railways in India, Part 2 (1832 - 1865). "IR History: Early Days – I". Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  2. ^ "Nagpur Division" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-20. 
  3. ^ "IR History: Early Days – II". Chronology of railways in India, Part 2 (1870 - 1899). Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  4. ^ "Number 1 Down Mail". Railways of the Raj. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  5. ^ a b c "Major Events in the Formation of S.E. Railway". South Eastern Railway. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  6. ^ "Raipur District". IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Nagpur Division" (PDF). South East Central Railway. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  8. ^ "Balaghat-Jabalpur protest march to demand rly line". The Times of India, 17 January 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  9. ^ "Funds crunch hits gauge conversion work". The Times of india, 27 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  10. ^ "What is new in the Railway Budget 2012-13". The Times of India, 14 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  11. ^ "History of Electrification". IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  12. ^ "Amla-Chhindwara railway line electrification to start soon". The Times of india, 5 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-25. 
  13. ^ "Chapter II – The Maintenance of Permanent Way". Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  14. ^ a b c "Geography – Railway Zones". IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  15. ^ "IR History: Part - IV (1947 - 1970)". IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  16. ^ "Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Enquiry". Availability in trains for Top 100 Booking Stations of Indian Railways. IRFCA. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 

External links[edit]

External video
Gondia-Balaghat-Katangi DEMU
Gondia-Balaghat-Katangi Passenger Train