Volume - 1 : Issue - 1

Published : Sep. - Nov. 2001

Group : History

Back to the List

Sindh Railway - Tracking the Rails

Travelling down memory, we have a look into the inception of the first railway tracks in Sindh.

One of the early railway enterprises in the east, Sindh Railway Company was established in 1855, to introduce railways into the province of Sindh. The first railway tracks were laid between the port of Karachi and Hyderabad. This line, about 110 miles in length, placed Karachi, the seaport of Sindh, in communication with the Indus, the great commercial artery of the countries on the north-west frontier, at a point where the river becomes free from the intricacies, dangers and delays of the navigation of the Delta. The officers of East India Company conducted the initial survey of the historical Karachi-Hyderabad line and dispatched the political and commercial advantages of this undertaking to the Commissioner of Sindh. The late Lieutenant Chapman of the Bombay Engineers, primarily responsible for the preliminary research presented the finest facilities for the construction of this line which were both cost-effective and the very best gradients.

This railway line had the significant advantage of connecting important towns at either terminus. Karachi, the lower terminus was the only important sea-port for many hundred miles and Hyderabad, the upper terminus was the then former capital of the region and an extremely important centrespot for inland trade in the province. The Railways proved to be of high utility to the public. Apart from reducing the time consumed to commute between the two important locations, the Sindh railway also exerted a powerful influence in promoting the development of the trade in the Indus valley. Apart from the advantages it offered on the political and economical front, the Sindh Railway Company was formed by the British due to the increased facilities that it would extend to their troops for landing and conveyance into any part of Punjab and neighbouring territories. The Railways was also expected to save the government a large sum in the costs of transportation of stores, leading to a greater enhancement in the Indus Flotilla service.

The Sindh Railway Company, which offered the contract to eminent contractors, Messrs Bray of Leeds, completed laying the line in reasonably quick time after repeated recommendations from Colonel Turner, the then Superintending Engineer of Sindh, Mr. Frere, the then Commissioner of province and Lord Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay. Thus began the journey of one of the foremost railway services in the East.