Mysore State Railway
In 1879, the Madras Railway Company Constructed a railway line from Madras Royapuram to Bangalore city. At that time, Maharaja of Mysore established a separate railway organization to carryout extension from Bangalore to Mysore. This establishment came to be known as Mysore State Railway. Mysore-Nanjangud of 25.51 km was opened for traffic in 1891. Birur-Shimoga section of 60.74 km was opened for traffic in 1899. Another important line was Yeshvantpur-Hindupur which was opened for traffic in 1892-93. In 1911-12 the Mysore Government decided the formation of the State Railway Construction Department and it was put under the control of Mr. E.A.S. Bell, Engineer in chief. The Shimoga-Talaguppa section was laid in 1930. In 1951, it merged with Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway to form the Southern Railway.
The Mysore State Railway started laying the Shimoga–Talaguppa 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) line in the year 1930 to provide access to Jog Falls. Another purpose was to transport wooden logs from the forests of the Malnad region to make wooden sleepers and also to be used as a fuel in the furnaces of the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited at Bhadravathi. In 1938, Mirza Ismail took the maiden journey on this line to visit Sagara city. The final section of the line from Sagara to Talaguppa was inaugurated on 9 November 1940. Some of the prominent people who have used this line to visit Jog Falls include Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Sir M. Visvesvaraya, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai. Socialist leader, Ram Manohar Lohia travelled in a train on this line to participate in the Kagodu Satyagraha but was arrested at Sagara station.
In 1990s, the train on the Shimoga-Talaguppa line was replaced by a railcar. The railcar could accommodate 52 passengers and took 3:45 hours to cover the distance of 82 km, a journey which took considerably lesser time to cover by road. It was one of the few trains with conductors on board and tickets could be bought on the train itself, whereas the normal practice followed in Indian Railways, was that passengers should buy tickets before boarding a train. Once the railcar reached Talaguppa, the rail car had to be reversed using a turntable, so that it could start its return journey.
Conversion to broad gauge
The Bangalore-Shimoga line was converted to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge starting from late 1990s to early 2000s. Finally, the Shimoga-Talaguppa line was converted to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge in 2007.
There is also a proposal to extend the Shimoga-Talaguppa line from Talaguppa onwards and connect it to Honnavar on the Konkan Railway, which could provide a shorter alternative route to Mumbai from southern parts of India.
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