Unique Shakuntala Express Train & Locos – 3 Photos 1989
Three rare old photos of the Shakuntala Express Steam Locos taken in 1989. The boom in cotton export led to the creation of the Central Province Railway (CPR) or the Shakuntala Railway by the British in 1910. To transport the raw cotton cultivated in the deep interiors of the Vidharba region to Bombay Port (now Mumbai). Railways were undoubtedly the best mode of transportation. Since automotive vehicles did not make an appearance on a large scale yet at the time.
The bullock cart the most prolific transport then was too slow with limited carrying capacity. Thus the British firm Killick, Nixon & Co established a private 188 km railway stretch between Achalpur to Yavatmal. Built by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR). This narrow-gauge stretch was officially known as the Central Province Railway. Though it was better known by its other name Shakuntala Railway for some reason. Raw cotton was collected between the Achalpur and Yavatmal stations.
It was then from Murtizapur Junction carried to Bombay on the broad gauge line. Since Murtizapur is also a junction on the Mumbai-Nagpur-Howrah broad gauge line. The Shakuntala Express additionally had coaches for passenger traffic. Eventually, it became a more passenger-oriented train. That diligently operated between Yavatmal and Achalpur till its closure in 2020. Unfortunately, the Indian Government shut it down after the conversion of this narrow gauge railway to a broad gauge. Its ever-captivating steam locomotives were replaced with diesel locomotives in 1995. Killick, Nixon & Co which still existed in the UK were paid a royalty till this unique private railway was closed down.
Did you know- this was the only privately held railway that the goverment forgot to nationalize after India’s independence.
From the collection- 11 Picture Postcards On Raja Ravi Varma Oil Paintings., Main Street Pune – Old Postcard 1910., Man Singh Palace Gwalior – Old Print 1872., Century In Malabar Peirce Leslie & Co – Old Book