Kalighat Falta Railway

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The Kalighat Falta Railway (KFR) was one of four 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow gauge lines built in the early part of the 20th Century by McLeod & Company, a subsidiary of a London company of managing agents, McLeod Russell & Co. Ltd, to open up undeveloped parts of India, all of them in and around Kolkata. The running of the trains were managed by a company called the McLeod's Light Railways. This company also owned and managed the Ahmedpur Katwa Railway, Burdwan Katwa Railway and the Bankura Damodar Railway lines.

KFR was 26.95 miles (43.37 km) long, opened on 28 May 1917 from Gholeshapur in Behala to Falta and was extended a further 0.92 miles (1.48 km) to Majherhat on 7 May 1920.

The KFR line was the first in India to use three brand new 2-6-2 side tank AK16 locomotives, built in November 1916 by W. G. Bagnall Ltd. of the Castle Engine Works at Stafford in England. They entered service with KFR in February, 1917. The 'AK' in the name stood for 'Ahmedpur-Katwa'. They were also known as the 'Delta Class' engines (since they were originally ordered by the Egyptian Delta Light Railways but were more successful in India) and they were very successful and a lot many were used in the following years till 1953 when the last order was placed. One of the 1916 built Bagnall locomotives has been preserved by the Phyllis Rampton Trust in the UK.[1]

The Kalighat Falta line closed in 1957. Some years after the independence of India, when the British owners, McLeod, folded up their operations in India, and the new Government of India and the Government of West Bengal thought it best to close down this stretch of railway tracks. The reclaimed land, from where the tracks used to be, has been used to construct a road - the James Long Sarani in Behala.

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