The International Steam Pages


Once upon a time, long ago,
More 2'6" Gauge on the Western Railway of India

Wilson Lythgoe has been circulating friends with some steam pictures taken some time back and with his permission and encouragement they are reproduced on these pages and will be added to from time to time. Click here for the index.


30th December 1984 - 2nd January 1985

Looking back I must have been brain dead when I planned this part of my Indian trip! How on earth did I ever expect to do justice, in a mere four days, to a narrow gauge system totalling over 500km that ran seventy two trains daily most of which were mixed. To add insult I used one of those days for a visit to another nearby system so really I only had three days on the Dabhoi network.

Day two I covered one some time ago in "New Years Eve on the Indian Narrow Gauge" so this time will reflect on the other three days.

My hotel was near the broad gauge station in Vadodara and the narrow gauge station at Pratapnagar was on the other side of the city. Exactly where I had no idea and my initial attempt, as a non Hindi speaking Kiwi, trying to communicate with a non English speaking cabbie did not get off to a good start. As luck would have it a passerby spoke some English, understood where I wanted to go, told the cabbie and I reached Pratapnagar with enough time to get a shot of ZB74 waiting to leave with the first train of the day.

Minutes later and 74 was underway and producing smoke effects worthy of a main line express.

Vishvamitri was the other narrow gauge station serving Vadodara and it was here the narrow gauge passed underneath the broad gauge main line. I climbed the broad gauge embankment for this view of ZB60 waiting to leave with a west bound train.

Ever an optimist I was hoping for another 'smoking' departure but it was not to be..........

On my third day I caught the broad gauge north to sample the narrow gauge based at Nadiad. Whether I was feeling off colour or was just unimpressed by what I found I only took two photos that day. This shot of ZB119 makes me wonder why I didn't take more though.

On my last day based at Vadodara I travelled to the heart of the narrow gauge network at Dabhoi where five lines headed out in different directions. Yard shunters were the 2-8-4T C class: three were built by Kerr Stuart in 1921 and at the time of my visit two were working at Dabhoi. Here C561 moves wagons through the station......

....and later the crew of sister loco C562, and others, pose for a more formal shot.

ZB63 arrived with a mixed service......

 .....followed a short time later by tender first running ZB79 on a quite substantial mixed. C562 with a lone carriage tries to get into the action on the right of the shot.

Later that afternoon, back at Pratapnagar, P606 was resting between duties as a local walked by. Built in 1949 by WG Bagnall there were only ever four of these 4-6-0 locos built; two in 1929 and the two twenty years later.

Between 1928 and 1959 over forty ZB 2-6-2 were built by five different builders with most during the period between 1951 and 1952. By chance my pictures show examples from four of these builders: the exception being Hanomag which built ZB1 way back in 1932. ZB74 was French built by Corpet Louvet in 1951, ZB60 and 63 were built by WG Bagnall in 1952 and ZB79 was a Krauss-Maffei product from 1952. ZB119 came from the final order of six in 1959 and was built by the Yugoslav company of Duro Dakovic.

Engine details were taken from 'Steam Locomotives in India Part 1 - Narrow Gauge' by Hugh Hughes and Frank Jux published by The Continental Railway Circle in 1980. 


Rob Dickinson

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