Khyber train safari

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The Khyber Railway. With a Pakistan Railways HGS 2-8-0 at front and rear a charter train climbs the Khyber Pass through a series of zig-zags to gain height.
A charter train is about to depart from Shahgai and descend out of the Khyber Pass back to Jamrud, near Peshawar. The local tribesmen are asserting their right to free travel on the trains, a condition of the railway being built through their land.

The Khyber train safari was a tourist train which ran between Peshawar and Landi Kotal through the Khyber Pass in Khyber Agency, Pakistan. The railway was closed in 2006 due to washing away of railway track and bridges by flood.[1]

The Khyber train safari had been described as "a journey into time and history." The train consisted of one parlour car and two second class coaches pulled by two vintage steam locomotives that took tourists through rugged mountainous terrain. The train covered a total of 52 kilometres (32 mi) through 34 tunnels and 92 bridges and culverts. The 1920s model vintage oil-fired steam engines, which pushed and pulled the carriages from the rear and front, were built by Vulcan Foundry and by Kitson & Co in the United Kingdom.[2] The steam safari climbed more than 1,200 m (3,900 ft) to reach Landi Kotal. One of the unusual features of this train journey is that its path passes through the Peshawar Airport runway. (Other examples can be found at Manakara Airport in Madagascar and Gisborne Airport in New Zealand.[3])

The train was run on the first Sunday of every month and on charter. The local population was allowed free rides.

The Khyber Pass railway experienced the ups-and-downs of the times. It was built as a strategic line to thwart any Afghan or Russian invasion of India. The railway was officially opened on 3 November 1925 during the British Raj in India. The wife of Victor Bailey, the engineer who was assigned the construction of the line, had previously driven the first train into Landi Kotal.[4]

After independence of Pakistan in 1947 a weekly train was started between Peshawar and Landi Kotal, running every Sunday. Train operations were stopped in 1982, as the railway was not commercially viable. However, in the 1990s, a tourist train, the Khyber train safari, was launched by a private enterprise in collaboration with Pakistan Railways. It was closed in 2006 after a flood washed away railway track and bridges.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Khyber Pass Railway Author: Owais Mughal, Publisher: , Retrieved on 15 July 2012
  2. ^ Hughes, H. (1990) Indian locomotives: Part 1 - Broad Gauge 1851-1940 Harrow: The Continental Railway Circle.
  3. ^ Shah, Syed Inayat Ali The derailed safari train The Daily Jang Retrieved on 20 September 2005
  4. ^ Bayley, Victor (1939). Permanent Way Through the Khyber. London: Jarrold.