North Western Railway zone
|Dates of operation||2002–|
|Predecessor||Northern Railway zone|
|Website||NWR official website|
The North Western Railway (abbreviated NWR) was one of the 18 railway zones in India. It was headquartered at Jaipur, with 59,075+ employees, 658+ stations and a route length of more than 5761 km across at least some parts of four states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana (c. 2009). NWR operated international rail service Thar Express from Jodhpur to Karachi. This zone was the key enabler of the Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project by virtue of running railways 1,500 km long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor.
In 1882, a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)-wide metre-gauge line from Marwar Junction to Pali was built by the Rajputana Railway. It was extended to Luni in 1884 and Jodhpur on 9 March 1885. New Jodhpur Railway was later combined with Bikaner Railway to form Jodhpur–Bikaner Railway in 1889, when the Bikaner Princely State and Jodhpur Princely State started constructing the Jodhpur–Bikaner Railway within the Rajputana Agency. In 1891, the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)-wide metre gauge Jodhpur–Bikaner line was commissioned under the Rajputana–Malwa Railway, Jodhpur–Merta Road section was commissioned on 8 April, the Merta Road-Nagaur section on 16 October, and the Nagaur-Bikaner section on 9 December. In 1900, Jodhpur–Bikaner line combined with Jodhpur–Hyderabad Railway, some part of this railway was in Pakistan, leading to connection with Hyderabad of Sindh Province. In 1901–02, the Jodhpur–Bikaner line was extended to Bathinda in 1901–02 to connected it with the metre-gauge section of the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway and the metre gauge of North Western Railway Delhi–Fazilka line via Hanumangarh. In 1924, the combined entity Jodhpur and Bikaner Railways was split to function as two independent Railway companies. After Independence, a part of Jodhpur Railway went to West Pakistan. In 1926, the workshop at Bikaner (Lalgarh) was set up to carried out periodic overhauling of metre gauge coaches and wagons. In 1951, on 5 November the Jodhpur–Bikaner line was merged with the Western Railway. Sometime around or prior to 1991, the construction work for the conversion from metre gauge to 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)-wide broad gauge of the Jodhpur–Bikaner line, along with the link to Phulera, were started, and it was already functioning as broad gauge Jodhpur–Merta City–Bikaner–Bathinda line by 2008. In 2002, on 1 October the North Western Railway zone came into existence. In 2012, the Bikaner Heritage Rail Museum was opened at Bikaner to displays items related to the Jodhpur and Bikaner Railway.
In 1884, The Rajputana–Malwa Railway extended the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)-wide metre-gauge Delhi–Rewari section of Delhi–Fazilka line to Bathinda, which was The Southern Punjab Railway Co. opened the Delhi–Bathinda–Samasatta line in 1897. The line passed through Muktasar and Fazilka tehsils and provided direct connection through Samma Satta (now in Pakistan) to Karachi.
On 18 February 2006, Thar Express, an Indian non-stop international passenger train operated weekly by Indian Railways using its own coaches and locomotives, between Jodhpur in India and Karachi in Pakistan.
Earlier, Sindh Mail train operated on this route from 1900 to 1965 when the track was bombed out by the Pakistan Air Force in Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Thar Link Express was ran started after 41 years in 2006 based on the earlier rail communication agreement. The rail communication agreement was signed by India and Pakistan in 1976, to eased the soured relations after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 for the successful liberation of Bangladesh by Indian Army. The rail communication agreement was renewable every three years, and currently it was valid until January 2019.
Between 2008 and 2011, the Bikaner–Rewari line was converted to broad gauge.
By December 2017, railways for the first time installed 6,095 GPS-enabled "Fog Pilot Assistance System" railway signalling devices in four most affected zones, Northern Railway zone, North Central Railway zone, North Eastern Railway zone and North Western Railway zone, by doing away with the old practice of putting firecrackers on train tracked to alterred train divers running trains on snail's pace. With these devices, train pilots precisely knew in advance, about the location of signals, level-crossing gates and other such approaching markers.
This zone was formed on 1 October 2002, comprising four divisions: Jodhpur and reorganized Bikaner division of the erstwhile Northern Railway zone, and reorganized Jaipur and Ajmer divisions of the erstwhile Western Railway zone.
Ajmer railway division
The Ajmer railway division, founded on 5 November 1951, had ~9,050 employees handling 48 passenger trains across 141 stations (15 main stations with Computerized Passenger Reservation System), covering the elongated elliptical shaped loop railway network in Marwar region central Rajasthan, from Pushkar to Palanpur via Marwar, and from Palanpur back to Pushkar via Chittorgarh. The main goods traffic were the export of cement from Ajmer district, and rock phosphate and soapstone powder from Udaipur district. The passenger segment handled traffic on the prominent religious and tourist circuit of Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Pushkar, Dilwara Jain Temples at Mount Abu and Ranakpur Jain temple.
Bikaner railway division
The Bikaner railway division, founded in 1924, had ~12,000 employees handling 142 trains across 198 stations (14 with Computerized Passenger Reservation System), covering the eastern Rajasthan, western and southern triangular half of Haryana (railway line network from Rewari–Bhiwani to Hisar, Sirsa and Dabwali, Rohtak to Hansi–Hisar), and a very small corner of south west Punjab (Sirsa to Bhatinda). The quantum of traffic was equally split between goods and passenger segment, with food grains, china clay and gypsum being the main outbound goods traffic.
Jaipur railway division
The Jaipur railway division was formed after merging parts of Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway, Jaipur State Railway and Rajputana–Malwa Railway. It had ~10,250 employees handling 146 trains across 128 stations (14 with Computerized Passenger Reservation System), covering the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. a very small corner of south west Punjab (Sirsa to Bathinda). 85% of the income was from the passenger traffic. It forms a logistics hub for the cross traffic of Western Dedicated Freight Corridor, carrying fertilizer, cement, oil, salt, food grains, oil seeds, limestone and gypsum traffic, with bulk container loading facilities.
Jodhpur railway division
The Jodhpur railway division, with origin going back to 1882, was founded on 5 November 1951. It had ~14,000 employees handling 92 trains across 144 stations (15 with Computerized Passenger Reservation System), It coverred Jodhpur, Pali Marwar, Nagaur, Jalore, Barmer, Jaisalmer districts in Rajasthan and certain districts of Gujarat state. The main goods export traffic consisted of limestone, salt and gypsum.
For the employees and their families, the zone also had the following healthcare facilities:
- Zonal hospitals
- Divisional hospitals
- Sub-divisional hospitals
- Rewari Sub-Divisional Railway Hospital near Rewari (Bikaner division)
- Bandikui Sub-Divisional Railway Hospital near Bandikui Junction (Jaipur division)
- Ajmer Sub-Divisional Railway Hospital near Abu Road (Ajmer division)
- Udaipur Sub-Divisional Railway Hospital near Rana Pratap Nagar at Udaipur (Jodhpur division)
- Health units, 29 in total
- First aid posts, 2 in total
Route and track length
This railway zone had a total of 578 stations, covering a total of 5,449.29 kilometres (3,386.03 mi) route kilometers out of which 2,575.03 kilometres (1,600.05 mi) were broad gauge and 2,874.23 kilometres (1,785.96 mi) were metre gauge (c. 2009), and 7,329.80 kilometres (4,554.53 mi) track kilometers out of6,696.36 kilometres (4,160.93 mi) were broad gauge and 733.44 kilometres (455.74 mi) were metre gauge (c. 2009).
- North Western Railway zone
- Route km: broad gauge 2,575.03 kilometres (1,600.05 mi), metre gauge 2,874.23 kilometres (1,785.96 mi), total 5,449.29 kilometres (3,386.03 mi)
- Track km: broad gauge 6,696.36 kilometres (4,160.93 mi), metre gauge 733.44 kilometres (455.74 mi), total 7,329.80 kilometres (4,554.53 mi)
- Ajmer railway division
- Route km: broad gauge 732.56 kilometres (455.19 mi), metre gauge 442.29 kilometres (274.83 mi), total 1,174.85 kilometres (730.02 mi)
- Track km: broad gauge 1,149.0 kilometres (714.0 mi), metre gauge 466.73 kilometres (290.01 mi), total 1,617.83 kilometres (1,005.27 mi)
- Bikaner railway division: coverred Rajasthan and parts of Railway in Haryana
- Route km: broad gauge 1,730.96 kilometres (1,075.57 mi), metre gauge 48.76 kilometres (30.30 mi), total 1,779.72 kilometres (1,105.87 mi)
- Track km: broad gauge 2,182.31 kilometres (1,356.02 mi), metre gauge 51.17 kilometres (31.80 mi), total 2,233.58 kilometres (1,387.88 mi)
- Jaipur railway division
- Route km: broad gauge 830.20 kilometres (515.86 mi), metre gauge 196.61 kilometres (122.17 mi), total 1,026.81 kilometres (638.03 mi)
- Track km: broad gauge 1,385.13 kilometres (860.68 mi), metre gauge 213.53 kilometres (132.68 mi), total 1,598.66 kilometres (993.36 mi)
- Jodhpur railway division
- Route km: broad gauge 1,568.42 kilometres (974.57 mi) 1,568 km, metre gauge 0 km, total 1,568.42 kilometres (974.57 mi)
- Track km: broad gauge 1,979.73 kilometres (1,230.15 mi), metre gauge 0 km, total 1,979.73 kilometres (1,230.15 mi)
Rail transport infrastructure
The zone had the following types of locomotive engines: (Legends: W – broad gauge, D – diesel, G – goods, M – mixed, P – passenger)
- Ajmer railway division
- Jodhpur railway division
- Bhagat Ki Kothi (BGKT) shed at Jodhpur: WDM-2, WDGs, WDP-4s, WDM-3As
- Jaipur railway division
Some of the major trains operated by North Western Railways were as followed:
|Number||Train name||Starting station||Terminating station|
|14854/14864/14866||Marudhar Express (via Faizabad)||Jodhpur||Varanasi|
|19667/19668||Udaipur City–Mysuru Palace Queen Humsafar Express||Udaipur||Mysuru|
|22985/22986||Udaipur City–Delhi Sarai Rohilla Rajasthan Humsafar Express||Udaipur||Delhi Sarai Rohilla|
|12963/12964||Hazrat Nizamuddin–Udaipur City Mewar Superfast Express||Udaipur||Hazarat Nizamuddin|
The zone had the following training institutes:
- Zonal Railway Training Institute, Udaipur in Ajmer division
- Diesel Traction Training Centre, Abu Road in Ajmer division
- Divisional Training Centre (Engineering), Ajmer
- Supervisor's Training Centre, Ajmer
- Basic Training Centre (C&W), Ajmer
- Basic Training Centre(Loco), Ajmer
- Area Training Centre, Ajmer
- Divisional Training Centre (Engineering), Bandikui, Bikaner
- Area Training Centre, Bandikui, Bikaner
- Divisional Training Centre(Traffic, C&W, Civil), Lalgarh, Bikaner
- Basic Training Centre, Bikaner
- Railway Police Force (RPF) Training Centre, Bandikui, Bikaner
- Divisional Training Centre (Engineering), Jodhpur
- Carriage & Wagon Training Centre, Jodhpur
- Diesel Traction Training Centre, Bhagat Ki Kothi, Jodhpur
- Personnel Training Centre, Jodhpur
- Transportation Training Centre, Jodhpur
- Basic Training Centre, Jodhpur
- Diesel Loco Shed, Abu Road
- Diesel Loco Shed, Bhagat Ki Kothi
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- How to get to Pakistan, The Hindu, 12 May 2017
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- Indian Railways to use GPS-enabled devices to fight fog this season, Economic Times, 12 Dec 2017.