Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hostoric trilogy

The first thought that came into my mind after visiting Okara can be described by four words: milk, butter, mammals and farms. Peers also told me the same. Besides Harappan ruins, I did not know the area. But one thing I did know, though, was that I should be happy to say goodbye to the place. Two years later, I felt drawn to the area and its people and it was very hard for me to part. There is so much to be seen, so much to be done. Above all, it has spirited, sincere and full-of-love people living in Gogera, Dipalpur and Pakpattan historic trilogy. The distances in the hinterland are short but the landscape is so enormous that it had to be studied in parts like a large mural seen by a child.

One of the first places I came to know after settling down is a village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka near Okara. The unique claim of the village to international fame is the dolls and toys made by village women that are a collectors’ delight all over the world. Dolls made in the village have traveled to International Dolls Museum in Amsterdam and also have been put on display in the theme park at EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany, as one of the 767 worldwide projects. Earlier, the dolls participated in the International Toy Fair in Nuremberg. These dolls show how culture goes beyond simple works of art and becomes a collaboration among applied and natural sciences as well as other forces that affect our lives.

Murals are painted on the parameter mud walls in the village where doll collectors and people interested in sustainable development and rural heritage come and stay as paying guests. The village folks still consider cooing crows as symbol of the arrival of the guests. Architectural competitions are held annually when the best mud house is selected. The Chief Harappan Explorer Dr. Mark Kenoyer had the place on the jury in competition held last July. Two full time German volunteers, Dr Norbert Pintsch and Dr Senta Siller, and village people are working together to change the life and outlook in this peaceful hamlet. Whenever I visited the village, I saw something new, something different, which the villagers do to make difference in a place where they belong.

When going to the village you pass through Gogera — a famous place where Ahmed Khan Kharral broke jail during the War of Independence in 1857, and the place where Extra Assistant commissioner Berkley was defeated and killed by the resilient locals.

East of Okara, there are four places which provide you reason enough for going there again and again: Malka Hans, Pakpattan, Dipalpur and Sher Garh. Each one of these places holds thousands of intriguing secrets.

There are at least two folk romances that unfailingly echo in the mind of anyone who let his fancy and feet roam around this historic tract. Waris Shah composed his classic folk romance Heer Rangha during his stay in Malka Hans – a 700 year-old town. ‘Hujra Waris Shah Da’ located in an ancient mosque, constructed during the rule of Hans tribe, and the remains of five-story temple of Parnami faction of Hindus in Malka Hans, merit attention, which has not being given. The temple cannot be described in words or images. I sat on the heap of rubbles in the courtyard of the temple where people dry grains, keep the animals, and wondered.

As per another famous lore, the nearby town Hujra Shah Muqeem is the place where Saheban is supposed to have visited and prayed “sunjain howan gallian which Mirza yar phire” (the streets should be deserted for my lover Mirza to roam around). The tale is mentioned in famed Punjabi love story Mirza Saheban, but there is no historic evidence that Jatti Saheban came to the place and prayed. Both these romances are vital part of our widespread oral literature, Recitation of Heer, in a single and vibrant tone. It is an amazing phenomenon. There is another love story set in Mughal period living village Akbar near Gogera. A girl jumped into the grave when people were burying her lover and insisted that she be buried alive with him. The grave is still there on the citadel, accumulating debris of ages, in the village.

Pakpattan and Dipalpur are two of the oldest living cities of the South Asia and strategic sites of the past. A complexity of ideas, directly related to evolution of civilization in this part of the world, seems encircling these places. Besides kings and sultans – from Sabuktigine to Akbar — great men like Ibn-e-Batuta, Amir Kusro, Gru Nanik and Waris Shah visited at least one or both of these places. One of the thriving trade routes of the past passed through Adjodhan (name officially changed by Mughal King Akbar to Pakpattan due to its association with Saint Baba Farid ud Din Masod Ganj Shakar). Now the original builders might not even recognize these towns if they come back. These locations are not mentioned in travel guides, but anyone who wants to re-live the past can go there and know more about the archives.

In Sher Garh, you see a towering shrine of a saint Muhammad Ibrahim Kirmani Daud-e-Sani Bandgi. Sit for a while in the restful compound of the shrine and somebody will offer you food and some other might tell you a tale: the mason from Kasur, who installed the heavy pinnacle on the shrine, asked Shah Abdul Mou’ali to give him the best buffalo in his heard as charge of expert services to fix the pinnacle. The mason demanded this when he was standing at the top of the edifice of shrine before putting the final touches. Shah Abdul Mou’ali, who was the direct descendant of the saint, obliged the artisan and only then he came down, happy. Those were the days of commitments and reciprocal rights. Before turning to Sher Garh from National Highway near Renala Khurd, one may visit the still functional Ganga Hydroelectric Station installed by the famous philanthropist and engineer Sir Ganga Ram.

All these places in the trio introduced me to wonders and legions of what may be called middle ground of cultural fusion of the present Punjab. The area is a gold mine for history seekers, spiritual and curious travelers. You may find much more than what you hear or read. It pays to get out into the countryside and talk to ordinary people. People of the area are eager to help – on their own expense – when you ask them. I found volunteer ‘guides’ who were forthcoming with a wealth of information, from history to myths prevalent in the area. Where is Qaboola? Ask anybody when you are riding a bike with haversack and water bottle on your sides. The replies will always be same: nearby.

The ironic counter point is the lack of attention in maintaining the bits and pieces of unique heritage – the resource base of tourism. The neglect may be attributed to lack of awareness, education, coordination between authorities, economic constrains and/or simply the natural hazards. The magnificent vistas of a land of plans, fields and orchards have to be opened to the rest of the world. There is a need for information in the form of travel guide writing, pure travel journalism, travel book writing and geographical description in form of maps. No ordinary coldness of phrasing can express the surprise and delight, with which one makes acquaintance with the sites. Their perspective gives you a wonderful sense of being there. In fact, that is my recommendation: be there.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Delightfully tasty Eid dishes

Owais Mughal
The festival of Eid is here. Eid celebrations are not complete without some sweet dishes around . There is a very famous sher about sewayiaN (sweet vermacelli) which I want to share. arz kia hai (here I go):

jaatay hi bazm meiN jo us ne uThaai sewayiaN
jab tak bethay rahay hum na jhukaai sewayiaN
Today we’ve brought recipe’s of 4 sweet dishes from Begum Hafeez Inayatullah‘s book ‘Khana pakaana’. Her language and recipe’s directly seem to come out of Deputy Nazeer Ahmed‘s drama ‘Akbari and Asghari’.

(1) Sheer Khurma:
Sheer Khurma (photo at top left) which some people wrongly pronounce as ‘sheer qorma’ also, means a sweet milky and dried date dish.

When I first read the following recipe’ I mistakenly read it as ‘sher’ khurma, which means a Lion dish and it may still be true because if cooked properly ‘sheer khurma’ is indeed a ‘sher’ (lion) dish. Let us see what Begum Hafeez Inayatullah has to say:

(2) SewayiaN
No Eid is complete without a course of sweet vermacelli dish called ‘sewayiaN’. Do you agree? Well, whether you agree or not, SewayiaN in all forms is so delicious that I am forced to write:
na “IF” kijiyay, na “BUT” kijiyay
jo mil jaaye bus us ko chat kijiyay

Before I go to next recipe, I remember another ‘sher’ related to ‘sewayiaN’ from our Bazm-e-Eid Post of last year:

ye eid ke pakwan kaa kuch aisa asar hai
mahboob ki zulfeN bhi lagti hain sewayiaN
(3) Kheer
Kheer is a sweet mixture of rice and milk. Ofcourse not as simple as mixing these two together. One has to go through the ‘arq rez’ (juice extracting) hardwork of the recipe’ written below otherwise your kheer may turn out to be a teRhi kheer (An Urdu idiom which means a hard to get fruit). I like this recipe’ because it talks about serving kheer in earthen plates (photo:right) and covered with edible ‘silver’ decorations called ‘chandi ka waraq’. Serving kheer in such a way is something that has gone out of fashion decades ago. The last time I had kheer in an earthen plate was in my childhood. In traditional cooking lingo the process of putting ‘kheer’ in earthen plates is called ‘kheer lagaana’ and that reminds me of this famous sher:
ye kheer lag lag ke meri jaan kidhar jaati hai
ye meray qatal ka saamaan kidhar jaati hai
(4) Gajrela
In simplest of terms, the Gajrela recipe’ is same as the kheer recipe’ plus some carrots. Therefore Gajrela is also called gaajar kheer. But please! don’t be so naive as to simply add ‘carrots’ to the above recipe’. No. you won’t get the desired result. You must go through the pleasure of reading following recipe’ to get the desired taste. I also want to point out the unique word ‘gaajar ki guThli’ (seed of a carrot) used by Begum Sahiba below. No where else in Urdu literature can you find this word; ‘gaajar ki guThli’ :) And before I paste this unique recipe’ of gajrela below, a sher comes to mind which also sums up this whole post. ‘arz kia hai’:

sheer-khurma bhi pak raha hai, gajrela bhi pak raha hai
yehaN yooN bhi wah-wa hai, aur wooN bhi wah-wa hai

Dear readers, before we all end up eating too much sweets over the Eid holidays, I want to caution ourselves against an unwanted weight gain by quoting a Zameer Jafri sher:
ye buRhaapa to hai mujh ko khuda ne diya
magar ye moTaapa hai mera khud-saakhta

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Northern Areas

Those who have taken the chance to brave the unruly mountainous terrain in the Northern Areas must have seen at least a few of the Alpine lakes in the area.

Two-hour away from Gilgit, situated in surprisingly cool and green meadow, Nultar is at 2,880 meters and heavily wooded. A one-hour jeep ride from Nultar village takes to a mysterious Nultar Lake, the colour of which emanates from the bottom. Few visitors realize that Nultar Lake is just the beginning of the wonderful Nultar highlands.

There are four more lakes of different colours above Nultar Lake: one cobalt-blue, one emerald, one turquoise and the last one at the highest altitude (3,550 meters) is grey and turbid due to glacial melt. The five lakes are connected underground, and the originally turbid water is naturally filtered and becomes clean, successively supplying the other lakes from the highest to the lowest.

Two lakes are situated near Dalsangpa - idyllic place at 4,150 meters that reflect a spectacular view of the dominating Masherbrum (7,821 meters). Translated as “an island of flowers” in Balti language, Dalsangpa is filled with alpine flowers in early August. Literally every grass blooms with its own flower. Among them, biebersteinia odora, called Horoos in Balti, is the most famous because of its strong fragrance.

Lack Shaucer is situated near Deosai. The deep blue Shaucer Lake, nestled in the pass, offers picture-book scenery. The view looking northward is of the endless series of peaks of the Karakoram Range, and to the south stands the 8,000 meters plus giant Nanga Parbat. Shaucer Lake is the most impressive part of the Deosai.

Off the beaten track, up in the upper Hunza Valley, is another lake Sheosar. This place offers beautiful views of distant peaks and a panoramic view of Deosai Plains. At Bara Pani, one may spend hours in a hope to watch a Bear.

North of Pasu glacier are Pasughar and Borit Lakes. Incredible peaks poked up from behind ridges, allowing sightseers to see nearly a dozen of the 100 tallest mountains in the course of one day.

Beyond Babusar Pass near Gittidas is the 11,000 feet high Lulusar Lake out of which river Kunhar issues anew with redoubled strength to flow down the valley first as placid blue stream and then a roaring torrent until it joins the River Jhelum. Lulusar has very enchanting beauty and its view remains in the mind of any one for a long time. Mohodand Lake is another beautiful lake about fifty kilometres from Kalam, the heart of the Swat valley.

And then there is a lake Saiful Muluk we are more familiar with; the Crown Prince of Persia hears about the beauty of the fairy Princess Badar Jamal - the daughter of king of Caucasus - and falls in love. The prince after wandering and hardships succeeds in winning the heart of Badar Jamal. The lake becomes the rendezvous where the lovers meet: contemplating matters of heart and their future together, hence the name.

With increase in tourism, lakes in the Northern Areas are becoming home to growing human activities: camping grounds and grazing fields. Visitors leave heaps of trash. Environmentalists think that carelessly growing human activities are destroying the environs of these heavenly spots on earth.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Travel Competitions

The Telegraph features information on all their regular competitions - including the Big Picture photography competition, Where in the World and our Just Back travel writing competition. Have a look here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Railway Stations of Pakistan

Few days ago ATP asked our readers to take a guess on number of Railway Stations in Pakistan. As far as my own personal research shows, the correct number is 1009 (possibly a few more) and my compilation of the complete index of stations is given below.

Some readers did guess the correct range, but as we had expected, most underestimated the number. I might have done so myself had I not already done the research. The list of stations is interesting to view, if only because you would read so many place names that you might never have heard of. I hope it will also make us think about the wonder that was the railway system in Pakistan at one time, but is no more.

The list below includes the stations that are currently operative as well as those which are now closed. We believe this list is still not exhaustive. There was atleast one railway section which connected Bahawalpur (Baghdad station) directly to Fort Abbas. This section was uprooted in the 1940s when during the World War II British needed steel. I am definitely missing the names of stations that were located on that section. If our readers know of any station that we missed, then let us know and we’ll update our records.
Before we go the list on next section, I want to feature the photo above by Tahir Iqbal of a small and now-closed Railway Station near Gujranwala called Theri Sansi. Pakistan has got hundreds of such small railway stations. With every passing day, unfortunately more and more of them are getting closed as Railways as means of transport in Pakistan is on a continuous decline.

The following list is current as of November 11, 2010

1. Abad
2. Abbasnagar (not operational)
3. Abbaspur (not operational)
4. Abdul Hakim
5. Abdullahabad (Halt)
6. Abdullahpur Kolar
7. Ab-I-Gum
8. Adamsahaba
9. Adamwahan
10. Ahmadpur
11. Ahmedwal
12. Ahsanpur
13. Air Force (Halt) (not operational)
14. Airport (Halt) (not operational)
15. Ajnala
16. Akhtar Karnana
17. Akhtarabad (old name Dhuniwala)
18. Akora Khattak
19. Ala
20. Alam Reg
21. Alamgir Town (Halt)
22. Aldana
23. Alhar
24. Alipur Chatha (old name Akalgarh)
25. Alipur Sayadan Sharif (old name Alipur Sayadan)
26. Allahdadani
27. Allahdino Sand
28. Alluwali
29. Amirpur (Halt)
30. Ammu Siding Beleli
31. Amri
32. Amruka
33. Arain Road
34. Arif Wala
35. Ashraf Shah
36. Asrani (not operational)
37. Athilpur
38. Attock City Jn (old name Cambellpur)
39. Attock Khurd (old name Attock)
40. Azad
41. Azmatwala
42. Babakwal
43. Babar Kachh
44. Babari Banda
45. Badah
46. Badal Nala
47. Badami Bagh
48. Baddomalhi
49. Badin
50. Badli Mazari
51. Bagatora
52. Baghdad
53. Bagiari (not operational)
54. Bahalike
55. Bahawalnagar Jn
56. Bahawalpur
57. Bahram Hathiyun
58. Bahrianwala (not operational)
59. Bahuman (not operational)
60. Bakhsh Jatoi (Halt)
61. Bakhshan Khan
62. Bakhshapur
63. Bakhtiarabad Domki (old name Bell-pat)
64. Bakrala
65. Bakrani Road
66. Baldher
67. Baldia (not operational – located on Karachi Circular Railway)
68. Balishah
69. Balochabad
70. Bandhi
71. Bandial
72. Banh Mianwala
73. Banni Bangla
74. Bannu (old name Edwardsabad) (not operational)
75. Barocho Bagh (not operational)
76. Baruli
77. Basal Jn
78. Basal Sharif (Halt)
79. Basirpur
80. Basti Darwesh Lashari
81. Basti Fauja
82. Basti Qutab Shah
83. Basti Rehman
84. Begmanji
85. Begowala Ghartal
86. Behal
87. Behkari (not operational)
88. Beleli
89. Bero Chandia (not operational)
90. Bhakkar
91. Bhalwal
92. Bhan Sayadabad
93. Bhaun (not operational)
94. Bhera
95. Bhila Hithar
96. Bhiria Road
97. Bhitshah (not operational)
98. Bhoe Asal
99. Bholari
100. Bhumb
101. Bhurgari (not operational)
102. Bijar (Halt)
103. Bijrani (old name Unarwah)
104. Bin Qasim Pipri
105. Bobi Road (not operational)
106. Border Post 72
107. Bostan Afghanan
108. Bostan Jn
109. Braudabad
110. Bubak Road
111. Buch
112. Bucheri
113. Buchiana
114. Budapur
115. Budh
116. Budho
117. Burhan
118. Burj
119. Cadet College Kohat
120. Cadet College Petaro (old name Petaro)
121. Chabiana
122. Chachar
123. Chachran (not operational)
124. Chagai
125. Chah Noor Mohammad
126. Chak
127. Chak Abdullah
128. Chak Amru
129. Chak Asmatullah (Halt) (not operational)
130. Chak Ibrahim Bhatti
131. Chak Jhumra Jn
132. Chak Kambo
133. Chak Lala
134. Chak Naurang (Halt) (not operational)
135. Chak Nizam (not operational)
136. Chak Pirana
137. Chak Saida (Halt)
138. Chak Sher Mohammad
139. Chak Turan
140. Chak Wariachanwala
141. Chakwal (not operational)
142. Chalisa Jn
143. Chaman
144. Chandrami (Halt) (not operational)
145. Chanesar (Halt)
146. Chang
147. Changa Manga
148. Chanigot
149. Charnali
150. Charsadda (not operational)
151. Chauntra
152. Chaweka Road
153. Chawinda
154. Chenab West Bank
155. Chet Singhwala (not operational)
156. Chhab
157. Chhor
158. Chichawatni Road
159. Chichoki Mallian
160. Chidarzai (not operational)
161. Chikarkot (not operational)
162. Chilianwala
163. Chiniot
164. Chishtian
165. Choa Kariala
166. Chukhra (Halt) (not operational)
167. Chund
168. Chura Sharif (Halt)
169. Chutiana
170. D.C.O.S (Halt) (not operational)
171. Dabanwala
172. Dabheji
173. Dad Fatihana
174. Dadu
175. Daera Dinpanah
176. Daera Mehram
177. Daharki
178. Dalbandin
179. Damboli
180. Dandot
181. Darbar Sahib Kartarpur
182. Darbelo (not operational)
183. Darkhana
184. Darsmand (not operational)
185. Dar-ul-Ihsan (old name Salar Wala)
186. Darya Khan
187. Daud (Halt)
188. Daud Khel Jn
189. Daulatala (not operational)
190. Daulatpur Safan (not operational)
191. Daur
192. Deona Juliani
194. Departure Yard
195. Depot Hill Jn (not operational – Karachi Circular Railway)
196. Dera Allahyar (old name Jhatpat)
197. Dera Azim Khan (Halt) (not operational)
198. Dera Bakha (not operational)
199. Dera Ghazi Khan
200. Dera Murad Jamali (old name Temple Dera)
201. Dera Nawab Sahib
202. Dera Taj
203. Detha
204. Dhab Sanateka (not operational)
205. Dhak
206. Dhandi (not operational)
207. Dharowal Kang (Halt)
208. Dhaunkal
209. Dher Umed Ali
210. Dholan
211. Dhoro Naro
212. Dhrema (not operational)
213. Dhudial (not operational)
214. Digri
215. Dilmurad
216. Dina
217. Dinga
218. Dingra
219. Doaba (not operational)
220. Domala (old name Manjoke)
221. Domel (old name Pind Sultani Road)
222. Domeli
223. Dorata
224. Dozan
225. Drigh Colony Jn
226. Drigh Road Jn
227. Dunga Bunga (not operational)
228. Dunyapur
229. Durgai (not operational) (used to be the last station on Mardan-Dargai line)
230. Eminabad
231. Faisalabad (old name Lyallpur)
232. Faisalabad Dry Port
233. Faqir Hussain Shaheed (old name Nak Band) (not operational)
234. Faqirabad (old name Lawrencepur)
235. Faqirwali (not operational)
236. Farooqabad (old name Chuharkana)
237. Farooqia (Halt) (old name Hattar)
238. Fateh Jang
239. Fateh Shahpur (Halt)
240. Fazal Bhambro
241. Fazilpur Dhandi (not operational)
242. Firoza
243. Fort Abbas (not operational)
244. Gaddar
245. Gagan
246. Gaggoo
247. Gajargola
248. Galangur
249. Gambat
250. Gambila Serai (not operational)
251. Ganda Singhwala (not operational)
252. Garhi Khairo
253. Gat (Halt) (b/w Yakmach and Azad stations on Dalbandin-Koh-I-Taftan section) (not operational)
254. Gatti
255. Ghakka Mittar (not operational)
256. Ghakkar Mandi
257. Gharibwal
258. Ghotki
259. Ghulamabad (Halt) (not operational)
260. Ghungrila
261. Gidu (not operational) (located on the banks of River Indus at Kotri)
262. Gilani (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway – was supposed to be Karachi’s Central Train Terminal in one of the Master plans of the city)
263. Gilawala
264. Gilmala (Halt)
265. Girdhariwala (not operational)
266. Gojra
267. Golpur
268. Golpur Talbani
269. Golra Sharif Jn (old name Golra Jn)
270. Gopang
271. Gosarji
272. Goth Shah Mohammad (not operational)
273. Gujar (old name Sody)
274. Gujar Garhi (not operational)
275. Gujar Khan
276. Gujranwala
277. Gujranwala Cant (old name Rahwali)
278. Gujranwala City (old name Gujranwala Town)
279. Gujrat
280. Gul Beg Marri (not operational)
281. Gul Imam (not operational)
282. Gul Sher
283. Gulistan
284. Gunna Kalan
285. Gurmani
286. Habib Kot Jn
287. Habibabad (old name Wan Radharam)
288. Hadali
289. Hafizabad
290. Haibat Shahid
291. Haider Jatoi (Halt)
292. Haji Chand
293. Hala (not operational)
294. Halani (not operational)
295. Halloki (Halt)
296. Hamdaniwala
297. Hangu (not operational) (Narrow gauge)
298. Haranpur
299. Harappa (old name Harappa Road)
300. Harbanspura
301. Hariah
302. Haripur Band
303. Haripur Hazara
304. Harnai
305. Harnal (Halt) (not operational)
306. Harunabad (not operational)
307. Haryanwala
308. Hasan Rind (not operational)
309. Hasilpur
310. Hasisar
311. Hassan Abdal
312. Hathiyan (not operational)
313. Haveli Wasawewala (old name Wasawewala)
314. Havelian
315. Hayat Sher Pao Shaheed
316. Hazrat Karmanwala (not operational)
317. Hazurpur
318. Hiral
319. Hirok
320. Humayun
321. Husri (not operational)
322. Hyderabad Jn
323. Injra
324. Iqbal Nagar
325. Isa Khel (not operational)
326. Jacobabad Jn
327. Jafarwala (not operational)
328. Jahangira Road
329. Jahania
330. Jajja Abbassian (not operational)
331. Jalal Marri
332. Jallo
333. Jallo Park (Halt)
334. Jalu-Jo-Chaunro (not operational)
335. Jam Sahib (not operational)
336. Jaman Shah
337. Jamke Chatta
338. Jampur
339. Jamraniwah
340. Jamrao Jn
341. Jamrud
342. Jan Muhammadwala
343. Jand Jn
344. Jangal Mariala
345. Janiwala
346. Jarala
347. Jaranwala
348. Jassar Jn
349. Jatoi (not operational)
350. Jauharabad
351. Jaurah Karnana
352. Jetha Bhutta
353. Jhakka Ladhana (on now closed Faisalabad-Jaranwala section) (not operational)
354. Jhalar
355. Jhamat
356. Jhang City
357. Jhang Sadar
358. Jhelum
359. Jhimpir
360. Jhok Ditta
361. Jhol (not operational)
362. Jhudo
363. Jhuluri
364. Jumma Goth
365. Jungshahi
366. Kabul River (not operational)
367. Kacha Khuh
368. Kachelo
369. Kachlak
370. Kahal (not operational)
371. Kahi (not operational)
372. Kahror Pakka
373. Kala Gujran (old name Kala)
374. Kala Khatai
375. Kala Shah Ka Ku
376. Kalabagh (not operational)
377. Kalanchwala
378. Kalas Goraya (Halt)
379. Kaleke
380. Kalhora (not operational)
381. Kaliamawan
382. Kallur Kot
383. Kalpani (not operational)
384. Kaluwal
385. Kamalia
386. Kamar Mashani (not operational)
387. Kamaro Sharif (not operational)
388. Kambar Ali Khan
389. Kamoke
390. Kan Mehtarzai (not operational) (used to be the highest narrow gauge station in South Asia before its closure in 1985)
391. Kana Kacha
392. Kanak (Halt)
393. Kandhkot
394. Kandiaro (not operational)
395. Kandwal (Halt)
396. Kanganpur
397. Kanjur
398. Kanjwani
399. Zorgarh
400. Karachi Cant
401. Karachi City
402. Karachi Unviersity (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
403. Karor
404. Karsaz (Halt) (not operational)
405. Karyal (Halt) (not operational)
406. Kashmor
407. Kashmor Colony
408. Kassowal
409. Kasur Jn
410. Kata Kushta (not operational)
411. Kathala
412. Kazi Ahmed (not operational)
413. Khadro
414. Khairabad Kund
415. Khairpur
416. Khan (not operational)
417. Khanai (not operational)
418. Khanewal Jn
419. Khanora
420. Khanot
421. Khanpur Jn
42 2. Khanqah Mohamed Panah (not operational)
423. Khanqah Sirajia
424. Kharian
425. Kharian Cant
426. Khatan (not operational)
427. Khathar
428. Khatian
429. Khatian Road
430. Khatlani Shaheed (Halt) (not operational)
431. Khattakabad
432. Khewra
433. Khichiwala (not operational)
434. Khokhropar
435. Khost
436. Khudabad
437. Khudian Khas
438. Khuman (not operational)
439. Khunda Ladheke
440. Khushab
441. Khushal Kot
442. Kiamari East Wharf
443. Kiamari West Wharf
444. Kila Dewa Singh
445. Kila Saifulla (not operational) (narrow gauge)
446. Killa Abdullah
447. Killa Sobha Singh
448. Kinjheji (not operational)
449. Kirdagap
450. Kiridhor (not operational)
451. Kishingi
452. Kissan
453. Kohat Cant
454. Kohat Tehsil (not operational)
455. Koh-I-Noor
456. Kolpur
457. Korangi (not operational) (spur on Karachi Circular Railway)
458. Kot Abadan (Halt)
459. Kot Abbas Shaheed (old name Kot Mela Ram)
460. Kot Adu Jn
461. Kot Behram
462. Kot Chutta
463. Kot Darya Bal
464. Kot Daya Kishan (not operational)
465. Kot Ghulam Mohammad (old name Jamesabad) (not operational)
466. Kot Gurdit Singh (not operational)
467. Kot Haji Shah
468. Kot Ihsan (not operational)
469. Kot Khair Din (Halt)
470. Kot Lakhpat
471. Kot Lalloo
472. Kot Mul Chand
473. Kot Najib Ullah
474. Kot Nasir
475. Kot Nawaz (on now closed Faisalabad-Jaranwala section) (not operational)
476. Kot Pir Abdul Aziz (Halt)
477. Kot Radha Kishan
478. Kot Salim Shaheed (old name Kot Nihal Singh) (not operational)
479. Kot Sultan
480. Kotla Adib Shaheed
481. Kotla Jam
482. Kotla Pathan (not operational)
483. Kotri Jn
484. Kotsamaba
485. Kuchlak
486. Kuh-I-taftan
487. Kul Mokal
488. Kulab (not operational)
489. Kundian Jn
490. Kunri
491. Kunri Memon (Halt) (not operational)
492. Kussam Sar (not operational)
493. Kutabpur
494. Kut-al-Imara (not operational)
495. Kutbal (not operational)
496. Lahore Cant
497. Lahore Jn
498. Lakha Road
499. Lakhi Ghulam Shah (Halt) (not operational)
500. Lakhnewala (not operational)
501. Laki Marwat Jn (not operational) (Narrow Gauge)
502. Laki Shah Saddar
503. Lal Pir
504. Lala Musa Jn
505. Lalian
506. Lalsuhanra
507. Landhi Jn
508. Landi Khana (not operational) (used to be last station on Khyber Railway)
509. Landi Kotal (not operational)
510. Langar
511. Langowal Baruhi
512. Larkana Jn
513. Latif Chang (Closed after intro. of Auto block signalling b/w Karachi-Kotri)
514. Leiah
515. Liaqatabad (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
516. Liaquatpur
517. Lilla
518. Lilla Town
519. Lindsay
520. Lodhran Jn
521. Lohi Bihir
522. Ludewala
523. Lundo
524. Lyari (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
525. Mach
526. Machhi Goth
527. Machhianwala
528. Machhike (not operational)
529. Machur (Halt) (not operational)
530. Mackrach Road (not operational)
531. Madeji Road
532. Madharianwala (not operational)
533. Madina-tul-Hujjaj
534. Madrisa
535. Magneja (not operational)
536. Mahesar
537. Mahiota
538. Mahmood Kot
539. Mahmunwali
540. Maibal
541. Mailsi
542. Makhad Road
543. Makhdum Sahib
544. Makhdumpur Pahoran
545. Malakwal Jn
546. Malir
547. Malir Cant
548. Malir Colony Jn
549. Mamu Kanjan
550. Mancher Chatta
551. Mandi Ahmadabad Hira Singh
552. Mandi Baha-ud-din
553. Mandi Burewala
554. Mandi Rahme Shah Chak Rahme Shah
555. Mandi Sadiq Ganj Jn (old name McLeod Ganj Jn)
556. Mando Dairo
557. Mandra Jn
558. Manga (not operational)
559. Manghopir
560. Mangoli
561. Manguana (Halt)
562. Manjhand
563. Manjhla Bagh
564. Mankiala
565. Mansurabad
566. Mansurwali
567. Mardan Jn (not operational)
568. Margallah Islamabad Dry Port Station in Sector I-9
569. Marh Balochan
570. Mari Indus
571. Mariyal
572. Marshalling Yard Pipri
573. Mashori Sharif (Halt)
574. Massan
575. Matapan (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
576. Matli
577. Mauladad
578. Maulviwala
579. Medanak (not operational)
580. Mehar Shah
581. Mehrabpur Jn
582. Mehta Suja
583. Meting
584. Metla (not operational)
585. Mian Channun
586. Mian Shamir
587. Miani
588. Mianwali
589. Mina Bazar (not operational)
590. Minchinabad
591. Mir Allahdad Talpur (Halt) (not operational)
592. Mir Dostali
593. Mir Hassan Khoso (Halt)
594. Mirdad Muafi
595. Mirjawa
596. Mirpur Khas Jn
597. Mirpur Mathelo
598. Mirrani (not operational)
599. Missa Keswal
600. Missan Kalar
601. Mitha Lak
602. Mitha Tiwana
603. Mithankot
604. Mithiani (not operational)
605. Mithri
606. Mitti Roya (not operational)
607. Model Colony (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
608. Moenjo-Daro (old name Dokri)
609. Moghalpura (old name Mian Mir and Lahore Cant)
610. Mohammadpur Diwan (not operational)
611. Mohammadwala (on now closed Faisalabad-Jaranwala section) (not operational)
612. Mohra Shahwali (Halt)
613. Mohsinwal (old name Kot Sujan Singh)
614. Moman
615. Mona
616. Moro (not operational)
617. Mubarakabad (not operational)
618. Mubarakpur
619. Muddoki
620. Mughal
621. Muhammad Nagar
622. Muhammad Rahim Kalru (not operational)
623. Mujahidabad (Halt)
624. Mujaldiwala (Halt) (not operational)
625. Mulla Makhan (not operational)
626. Multan Cant
627. Multan City
628. Munianwala (not operational)
629. Murad Chishti (old name Chak Datar Singh)
630. Muradi Janjil (Halt) (not operational)
631. Murghai
632. Muridke
633. Musa Virk (not operational)
634. Mushkaf
635. Muslimbagh (old name Hindubagh) (not operational) (Narrow gauge)
636. Muzaffarabad
637. Muzaffargarh
638. Nabisar Road
639. Nafees Nagar (Halt) (not operational)
640. Naim Ashfaq Shaheed (old name Khikha)
641. Nakus
642. Nammal
643. Nankana Sahab
644. Nao-Abad (not operational)
645. Narang
646. Nari
647. Nari Bank
648. Narija (Halt) (not operational)
649. Narowal Jn
650. Nasai (not operational)
651. Nasarpur
652. Nasrat (Halt)
653. Naukot
654. Naurang Serai (not operational)
655. Naushaharo Feroze (not operational)
656. Nautheh
657. Nawab Wali Muhammad Khan
658. Nawabshah Jn
659. Nawan Pind (Halt)
660. Nawaz Dahri
661. Nazikabad (not operational)
662. Nethri (on now closed Faisalabad-Jaranwala section) (not operational)
663. New Chhor
664. New Saidabad (not operational)
665. Nishatabad
666. Nishtarabad (old name Sikhanwala)
667. Nizam Sama (Halt)
668. Nizamabad (not operational)
669. Nok-Kundi
670. Noor Mohammad Mokal
671. Noor Shah
672. Norai Sharif
673. North Block Hut
674. North Nazimabad (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
675. Notak
676. Nowshera Jn
677. Nur
678. Nurkot
679. Nushki
680. Nuttall
681. Oderolal
682. Odhano (not operational)
683. Okara
684. Okara Cant (old name Gambar)
685. Ongar (Closed after intro. of Auto block signalling b/w Karachi-Kotri)
686. Orangi (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
687. Pabbi
688. Pad Idan Jn
689. Padag Road
690. Paharpur Thal (old name Sohyathul) (Halt)
691. Pai Khel
692. Paigah
693. Pakhowal
694. Pakka Anna
695. Pakka Sidhar
696. Pakpattan
697. Palh
698. Palijani (not operational)
699. Panir
700. Panj Girain
701. Panj Pulla (Halt)
702. Pano Akil
703. Parche-ji-Veri (not operational)
704. Parkhu Dheri (not operational)
705. Pasrur
706. Patla
707. Patoyun (not operational)
708. Pattoki
709. Peeru Lashari
710. Pehro Kunri
711. Pejowali
712. Perak
713. Pervezwala (not operational)
714. Peshawar Cant
715. Peshawar City
716. Peshi
717. Pezu (not operational)
718. Phularwan
719. Phulji
720. Piaro Goth
721. Pin Dadan Khan
72 2. Pind Mukko (Halt)
723. Pindi Rasul
724. Pindora
725. Piplan
726. Pir Barkhurdar
727. Pir Jhand (Halt)
728. Pir Katpar (not operational)
729. Pir Mahal
730. Pir Mukhtiarwala (Halt) (not operational)
731. Pir Piai
732. Piran Ghaib
733. Pirawalla (not operational)
734. Pithoro Jn
735. Pithu Rana (Halt)
736. Port Trust (Halt) (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
737. Prem Nagar
738. Qadirabad (not operational)
739. Qaimpur (not operational)
740. Qalat-I-Nasir (Halt) (not operational)
741. Qila Sattar Shah
742. Qila Sheikhupura Jn
743. Quaidabad
744. Qudrat (Halt) (not operational)
745. Qudratabad
746. Quetta
747. Rabwah
748. Radhan
749. Rafiqabad (not operational)
750. Rafiqwal
751. Rahim Yarkhan
752. Rahmani Nagar (old name Sita Road)
753. Rahuki (not operational)
754. Raisan (not operational)
755. Raiwind Jn
756. Raja Jang
757. Rajan Shah
758. Rajanpur
759. Rajar Pak Rajar (not operational) (located on meter gauge Mirpur Khas-Nawabshah section)
760. Rajput Nagar
761. Rakh Rajar (not operational)
762. Ran Pethani
763. Ranipur Riyasat
764. Raokhanwala
765. Rashidabad (Halt) (Inaugurated June 3, 2003)
766. Rashkai (not operational)
767. Rasulpur (Halt)
768. Ratanabad (not operational)
769. Ratial
770. Rattian (Halt)
771. Rawalpindi
772. Raya Khas
773. Renala Khurd
774. Reti
775. Riazabad
776. Risalewala
777. Risalpur Cant (not operational)
778. Rohri Jn
779. Rojhan
780. Roshanabad (not operational)
781. Ruk
782. Rukanpur
783. Rumian
784. Rurala Road
785. Rustam Sargana
786. S.I.T.E (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
787. Sabu Rahu (not operational)
788. Sabzazar
789. Sachha Sauda
790. Sadhar (Halt)
791. Sadhoke
792. Sadikabad
793. Sadiqpur (not operational)
794. Sadoro (Closed after intro. of Auto block signalling b/w Karachi-Kotri)
795. Safdarabad (old name Dhaban Singh)
796. Sahianwala
797. Sahiwal (old name Montgomery)
798. Sahja (not operational)
799. Sahowala
800. Saindad
801. Sakrand Jn (not operational)
802. Saleem Awan (old name Banth) (not operational)
803. Salih Bhambro (not operational)
804. Samanabad
805. Samandwala
806. Samaro Road
807. Samasata Cabin A
808. Samasata Goods
809. Samasata Jn
810. Sambrial
811. Samtiah
812. Samungli Road
813. Sanawan
814. Sandral (not operational)
815. Sangi
816. Sangjani
817. Sangla Hill Jn
818. Sanjwal
819. Sann
820. Sanzala
821. Sar Shamir Road
822. Sarai Alamgir
823. Saranan
824. Sardar Jhandir
825. Sardar Wali Mazari
826. Sardheri (not operational)
827. Sargodha Jn
828. Sarhad (not operational)
829. Sarhari
830. Sar-I-ab
831. Saroba (old name Machrach Road)
832. Sarwar Shaheed (Halt)
833. Sarwarnagar (old name Mohattanagar) (not operational)
834. Sathoiwala (not operational)
835. Sawai Wala (not operational)
836. Sayyed Kasran (not operational)
837. Sehjowal
838. Sehwan Sharif
839. Seni Gambat
840. Serai Saleh
841. Setharja
842. Shadan Lund
843. Shadia
844. Shadipalli
845. Shafiabad (not operational)
846. Shah Abdul Latif (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
847. Shah Alam
848. Shah Jewana
849. Shah Nal
850. Shah Nawaz Bhutto
851. Shah Nikdur
852. Shah Panjo (Halt)
853. Shah Sultan (Halt)
854. Shah Taj (not operational)
855. Shahbaz Khel (not operational)
856. Shahbazwala (not operational)
857. Shahdadpur
858. Shahdara Bagh Jn
859. Shaheed Allah Bakhsh (not operational)
860. Shahgai (not operational)
861. Shahidanwala
862. Shahinabad Jn (old name Hundewali)
863. Shahpur Chakar (not operational)
864. Shahpur City
865. Shahpur Jahania (not operational)
866. Shahpur Sadar (not operational)
867. Shahwali
868. Shamkote
869. Sharigh
870. Sheikh Mandah
871. Sheikh Wasil
872. Sheikhwahan
873. Shelabagh
874. Sher Shah Jn
875. Shikarpur
876. Shinkai (not operational)
877. Shori (not operational)
878. Shori Chatta (not operational)
879. Shorkot Cant Jn (old name Shorkot Road Jn)
880. Shujabad
881. Sialabad
882. Sialkot Jn
883. Sibi Jn
884. Sihala
885. Sihar
886. Sillanwali
887. Silra Shahdadkot
888. Simzai (not operational)
889. Sind University
890. Sinjhoro (not operational)
891. Sirajwala (not operational)
892. Skhakot (not operational)
893. Sobhaga
894. Sobhawalla
895. Sodhra Kopra
896. Sohan Bridge
897. Sohawa
898. Sood Bhidana (Halt) (not operational)
899. South Block Hut
900. Spezand Jn
901. Spintangi
902. Srirampura
903. Sufiabad (not operational)
904. Sukh Beas (not operational)
905. Sukheke
906. Sukho (not operational)
907. Sukhpur (not operational)
908. Sukio Manahejo (not operational)
909. Sukkur
910. Sulemanabad
911. Sultan Khel (not operational)
912. Sultan Kot
913. Sultan Krori (Halt) (not operational)
914. Sultanabad
915. Sumbal Hamid
916. Sumrasar (Halt)
917. Sunehri
918. Tajpur Nasarpur Road
919. Takht Mahal
920. Takht-I-Bhai (not operational)
921. Talhar
922. Talhi (not operational)
923. Tamewali
924. Tandlianwala
925. Tando Adam Jn
926. Tando Allahyar
927. Tando Jam
928. Tando Jan Mohammad (not operational)
929. Tando Mohammad Khan
930. Tando Mustikhan
931. Tando Sarwar (old name Tando Siru) (not operational)
932. Tandoi
933. Tank (not operational) (narrow gauge)
934. Tanwari (not operational)
935. Taqipur
936. Tara Garh (Halt) (not operational)
937. Tarinda
938. Tarki
939. Taru Jabba
940. Tasirabad (Halt)
941. Tatipur
942. Taunsa Barrage
943. Taunsa Barrage Colony
944. Taxila Cant Jn (old name Taxila Jn)
945. Tehsil Shakargarh
946. Thal (not operational)
947. Thanedarwala (not operational)
948. Tharushah Jn (not operational)
949. Thatt Hotchand (not operational)
950. Thatta Mahla
951. Theri Sansi (not operational)
952. Thermal Power Station (Between Budh and Muzaffargarh Stations)
953. Thul Nao Thul Sind
954. Tibbi Alamgir (not operational)
955. Tibbi Izzat (not operational)
956. Tinoka
957. Toba Tek Singh
958. Tobah
959. Togh (not operational)
960. Tora Tigga (not operational)
961. Toraghbargi (not operational)
962. Tozgi (not operational)
963. Trag (not operational)
964. Tufail Shaheed (Halt)
965. Uchhri
966. Ugoke
967. Ummedpur (b/w Narang and Srirampura on Lahore-Narowal section) (not operational)
968. Umid Ali Junejo (Halt)
969. Unarpur
970. Urdu College (Halt) (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
971. Usman Khattar
972. Usmanwala
973. Usta Mohammad
974. Ustarzai (not operational)
975. Vakilwala (not operational)
976. Vasar Bah (not operational)
977. Vihari
978. Wagah
979. Wagowal
980. Wah
981. Wah Cant
982. Wahab Shah
983. Walhar
984. Wali Khan (old name Mastung Road)
985. Walton (old name Walton Training School)
986. Wan Adhan (not operational)
987. Wanbachran
988. Warburton
989. Waryam
990. Wazir Mansion (not operational) (Karachi Circular Railway)
991. Wazirabad Jn
992. Wilsonpur
993. Yakmach
994. Yaru
995. Yaru Khosa
996. Yazman (b/w Kut-ul-Imara and Fort Abbas. Dismantled during WW II) (not operational)
997. Yousafwala (not operational)
998. Zafar Iqbal (Halt)
999. Zafarwal
1000. Zahidan Duzdap
1001. Zahir Nagar (Halt)
1002. Zahir Pir
1003. Zardalu (Last station on Sibi-Khost line beyond Khost) (not operational)
1004. Zarghun (not operational)
1005. Zarif Shaheed (old name Raja Ram) (not operational)
1006. Zeal Pak
1007. Zero Mile (Built in 2006. at Khokhrapar – Munabao Border)
1008. Zhob (old name Fort Sandeman) (not operational)
1009. Zintara (not operational)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Khyber Pass

Owais Mughal

It is 8:00 a.m. on a sunny Sunday at Peshawar cantonment. The Steam locomotive number 2216, which was built in 1916 by Kitson and Company of Leeds, UK is all set to start on yet another journey. The driver and fireman give one final inspection to the engine vitals and with a long whistle the number 2216 coupled to a tourist train pulls out of the station. Today the destination is Landi Kotal via Khyber Pass.
Railtracks across a Runway
The train gains speed and soon passes through Peshawar localities of Notia Gate, Swati Gate and Bara Gate. Since the track is now seldom used, there are vehicles parked very close to the track. Many children run along and clap as they see the approaching train. After crossing Bara Gate the train slows down and ultimately comes to a full stop. In front of the locomotive lies the 9000 ft long runway of Peshawar International Airport. The train now waits for clearance from the airport control tower before it could move. Peshawar is the only international airport in the world where a rail track crosses the main runway. The photo to the left is the satellite image of Peshawar airport's main runway. The diagonal path crossing the runway is the Peshawar - Landi Kotal rail track. After clearance is received from the control tower, the train chugs forward.
After clearing runway the train passes through the localities of University town, Kacha Garhi and Hayatabad. The famous 1756 km long Karachi-Torkham highway N5 comes closer to the rail track and both start traveling in parallel towards Jamrud. Located 18 km west of Peshawar, Jamrud is the gateway to Khyber Pass. The train reaches Jamrud in a less than an hour and and after a short stop continues its journey westward into the Khyber Pass. The photo to the right shows the arrival of a tourist train at Jamrud station
While the train is slowly steaming through its 3 hour journey towards Landi Kotal, how about if we take a detour of about 150 years and cover the history of railways in Khyber. We will catch the train again as it will be entering the Landi Kotal platform around noon.
History of Khyber Pass Railway
Let us go back in time to the year 1857. The ‘Great Game’ is being played between the World powers on the chess board of central and south Asia. Russian influence is present in Afghanistan and British think there is a big possibility of Russian invasion into India. The most obvious routes for this possibility will be through Khyber or Bolan Pass. Therefore it is suggested that strategic railways be built in both of these passes to thwart any Russian invasion in to India.
The black and white photo to the left above shows a train through Khyber Pass in 1970.
In 1878, second Anglo-Afghan war (1878-1880) takes place and it makes it all the while more important to lay a railway track through western passes of India. In 1879 a reconnaissance survey is conducted with an aim to find the feasibility of laying railways through Khyber Pass. In 1880, a British engineer named Victor Bailey is entrusted for making plans for laying a meter-gauge (1000 mm) railway through Khyber Pass. Many years pass without any action on the ground. Finally the construction starts in 1905 from a place called Kacha Garhi between Peshawar and Jamrud. The track makes progress westwards and 32 km of track is laid by 1907.

The photo to the left shows an engine through sequential tunnels in Khyber Pass.
International situation changes soon and an alliance takes place between Russia and Afghanistan. Russia agrees to consider Afghanistan out of its circle of influence countries. British now considerRussia as no longer a threat as it used to be. This stops the work on Khyber Railway. In 1909, several kilometers of permanent way and bridges are uprooted from Khyber Pass and sent to other areas of India to be used there.
As it goes with the World politics, international situation changes again and the third Anglo-Afghan war of May 1919 brings life back to Khyber Pass Railway project. Colonel Gordon Hearn is now assigned the work to survey and recommend the best route through Khyber Pass. Until now all surveys recommended a meter gauge (1000 mm) track. Gordon Hearn proposes and demonstrates by a masterly survey that broad-gauge (1676 mm) line can be laid through the pass.
Who drove the first train in Khyber Pass?
Construction restarts in 1920 and the section from Jamrud to Landi Kotal, opens on November 3, 1925. Next day on November 4, Mrs. Victor Bailey, wife of the British engineer entrusted with the construction of Khyber Railway drives the first train through Khyber Pass. There are two stories as to why Mrs. Victor Bailey drove the first train through the pass.

  1. It was decided by the British government that Victor Bailey will run the inaugural train as recognition of his great work at the project but he died three months before the inauguration. His wife then honored the driving of train on her husband’s behalf.

  2. According to second version, as the track was being laid, the locals of the Khyber Agency did not allow the train to move on it. However, knowing the traditional respect the Pathans have for women, Victory Bailey, asked his wife to drive the first train in the Khyber Agency. It has been reported that she drew long hair so that she could be identified as a women from a distance.
On April 3, 1926 another portion of 8 km track is opened up to Landi Khana which fall just 3 km short of the actual frontier post of Torkham. The photo in sepia to the left is from April 27, 1932. It shows a tunnel on Khyber Pass railway alongwith (now highway) N5 which runs alongside the track. On December 15, 1932 the Landi Kotal to Landi Khana section of railway is closed down at the insistence of Afghan Government.
The Cost of Construction

The cost of building Khyber Pass railway was accounted as Rupees 485000 per kilometer in 1926. despite this exorbitant cost of construction, Khyber Pass has never seen heavy rail traffic. At best there were only 2 trains per week here. Scenery wise Khyber Pass is also not an eye catch either but the feature that sets it apart from other railways in the region is the engineering aspect of it.
Engineering Features of Khyber Pass Railway

The Khyber Pass railway has a ruling gradient of 3 percent between Jamrud and Landi Kotal. There is a rise of nearly 2000 feet in 34 kilometers, and a drop of 872 feet in the next 8 kilometers to Landi Khana, where in many places the gradient stiffens to 1 in 25. There are 4 reversing stations, 34 tunnels with an aggregate length of more than 4 kilometers, 92 bridges and culverts, and 4 locomotive watering stations. And during the construction, three million cubic yards of materials mainly rock, were moved in the cuttings and embankments.
Reversing Stations and Catch sidings

Reversing stations are an important feature of Khyber Railways. Since it is not easy to bend a train here due to tight space, trains switch tracks and engines change direction at the reversing station. The Khyber Railways is the last of the great railway constructions undertaken on the frontier during the British Raj. Besides reversing stations, track at numerous places is also provided with the runway train catch sidings. One such catch siding is shown in the photo on the left.
From 1947 onwards, Pakistan Railway has continued a weekly passenger service through Khyber Pass. The service runs free of charge simply as a gesture to prove to the fiercely independent tribesmen that the line, in-spite of them, is open and the Pakistan Government is the boss. The regular service in Khyber Pass stopped in 1982 due to the lack of commercial patronage.
Khyber Steam Safari Schedule for 2006
Due to axle load limitations, diesel engines cannot run on this track. Therefore Khyber Pass railway to date is served by steam locomotion only. At present a tourist train called the 'Khyber Steam Safari' is operated here by a privately owned tourist company. The train runs few times a year on scheduled days as well as it can be chartered too.
For the remaining part of 2006, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) in collaboration with PRACS and Sehrai travels will be running the Khyber Steam Safari trains on October 1, November 5 and December 3, 2006. For reservations you can call the UAN 111-366-366. Telephone number of Sehrai travels in Peshawar is 92-91-5272084/5
Locomotives Serving the Khyber Pass Railway
As of summer 2006, Peshawar shed is maintaining 3 HGS steam engines which are used on this tourist train called the Khyber Steam Safari. All of these are in working condition (as of 2006) and their details are as follows:
  1. 2-8-0 HG/S Serial # 2216 built by Kitson and Co, of Leeds UK in the year 1916
  2. 2-8-0 HG/S Serial # 2277 built Vulcan foundry in the year1923, and
  3. 2-8-0 HG/S Serial # 2306 built Vulcan foundry in the year1923.

This completes the brief history of Khyber railway. It is around noon now. Let us now go to Landi Kotal station where our train which we parted in Jamrud is arriving. The station gives a festive look. The trains in Khyber Pass run seldom now therefore many locals have showed up at the station to welcome the train. Landi Kotal station is built in a very unique fortress like architecture. There are no windows or doors on the forbidding facade facing the platform.

Distance and Altitudes on Khyber Pass Railway
Considering Peshawar Cantt as 0 km, following table gives a view of distances and altitude of different landmarks along Khyber Pass Railway.
  1. (0 km) Peshawar Cantt 1048 ft
  2. (18 km) Jamrud 1496 ft
  3. Bagiari 1837 ft
  4. Medanak (1st Reversing Station) 2086 ft
  5. (34 km) Chagai (2nd Reversing Station) 2270 ft
  6. Shahgai 2265 ft
  7. Kata Kushta 2799 ft
  8. Zintara 3114 ft
  9. Sultan Khel 3293 ft
  10. (52 km) Landi Kotal 3494 ft
  11. Tora Tigga (3rd Reversing Station) 2876 ft
  12. (60 km) Landi Khana (4th Reversing Station) 2622 ft

The photo above shows the arrival of Sunday passenger at Landi Kotal in 1975.

Chronology of Khyber Pass Railway
As an appendix, I want to give the chronology of important dates regarding Khyber Pass Railway in the following.

1857: Chairman of Scinde, Punjab and Delhi Railway Company, Mr. William Andrew proposes rail routes through Khyber and Bolan passes.
1878: Second Anglo-Afghan war takes place
1879: Sir Guilford Molesworth, an English Civil Engineer who was consulting for Indian government considered a survey of meter gauge (1000 mm) railway through Khyber Pass.
March 27, 1880: A news appears in the Morning Post newspaper announcing the construction of Khyber Pass Railways. An excerpt from the news goes like this: "After three and twenty years of apathy the necessity has been realized and now these railways are being constructed."
1880: An engineer by the name of Victor Bailey is entrusted with the actual construction of Khyber Pass railways.
1885: Another survey was conducted by Captain JRL McDonald up to Landi Kotal.

1890: Captain JRL McDonald surveys another route to Khyber Pass following the gorge of River Kabul.
1898: One more survey was conducted to lay railways through Khyber Pass.1901: Broad Gauge (1676 mm) track is completed from Peshawar to Jamrud.
1905: Work started on laying an alternate meter gauge route following River Kabul into Mullagori hills.
1907: 32 km of broad gauge track was completed from Kacha Garhi to west of Jamrud into Loi Shilman valley.
August 31, 1907: Britain and Russia decide on an accord in St Petersburg. According to this agreement Britain will not annex or occupy Afghanistan and in return Russia will not consider Afghanistan a country of influence.
1909: Kabul River Railway is abandoned as threat from Russia is considered very low.

1919: Third Anglo-Afghan war takes place. Col Gordon Hearn plans a broad gauge Khyber Pass railway from Jamrud westwards.

1920: Construction of railways restarts west of Jamrud

November 3, 1925: Khyber Pass railway is inaugurated up to Landi Kotal.

November 4, 1925: First train runs on Khyber Pass railway. Train is driven by Mrs Victor Bailey.

April 23, 1926: Khyber Pass railway is extended to Landi Khana.

1926: Tracks were laid from Landi Khana to the border post at Torkham but a train never traveled on them.
December 15, 1932: Landi Kotal to Landi Khana section is closed on requests from Afghan government.
August 14, 1947: Pakistan gets independence and a weekly Sunday service to Landi Kotal continues
1982: Regular service to Landi Kotal is suspended because of lack of commercial value.

mid 1990s: A tourist train called ‘Khyber Steam Safari’ is started by a private enterprise in collaboration with Pakistan railways. This train is still in operation as of 2006. It runs on designated days a year and can be chartered too.
Video of Khyber Steam Safari 2004

An amateur video of Khyber Steam Safari 2004 is here. Copyrights belong to the link owner.
Photo Credits
Mr. Peter Patt, Mr. Zakir Khan and Mr Rana Rashid, Dr. Roland Ziegler and Mr. Nick Lera
  1. Couplings to Khyber by P.S.A Berridge, 1968
  2. Hundred Years of Pakistan Railway, M.B.K Malik, 1962
  3. North Western Railway Time Table, November 1959
  4. The Imperial Way by Paul Theroux, 1985
  5. Andrew Grantham's page here
  6. Dr. Roland Ziegler’s page on Pakistan tour of 1996 here.
  7. Khyber Railway preservation Society of Pakistan here
  8. Dr Ken J Walker at here
  9. Mr. Rob Dickinson here
  10. Pakistan Railway Newsgroup here
  11. Illustrated Book of Steam and Rail by Colin Garratt, 2002