Posts Tagged ‘Khyber Pass’

Opening of the Khyber railway

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

The UK’s National Army Museum has this rather good photo of The opening of the Khyber railway, 1925. Photograph by Randolph Bezzant Holmes (1888-1973), India, North West Frontier, 1925. NAM Image Number 118645.

The text says:

The Khyber Pass Railway from Jamrud, near Peshawar, to the Afghan border near Landi Kotal was opened on 4 November 1925. Built to allow easier movement of troops to the frontier, the railway climbed more than 1,200 metres (3,900 feet) through 34 tunnels and 92 bridges, and culverts to reach Landi Kotal.

Khyber Pass border signs

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Photos of Khyber Pass border signs through the years. Although a railway alignment seems to have been cleared from the short-lived Landi Khana station to the Indo-Afghan frontier, it appears (unless anyone knows better) that tracks were probably never laid on it.

Khyber Pass photo album

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

John Saunders has uploaded to Flickr the contents of an album of 1930s and 1940s photos which belonged to his uncle Bill Saunders (1916-69), who was an aircraftsman in the Royal Air Force and spent some years in India.

RAF on the Afghan border

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

(no trains in this post!)

ON THE AFGHAN BORDER

“ON THE AFGHAN BORDER – Air-Marshal Sir John Steel inspects the Bomber Squadron R.A.F. at Risalpur.”

Air Marshal Sir John Steel inspects the line of planes at the Royal Air Force (RAF) base, Risalpur, India. Formation of planes flying over Khyber Pass – problem bordering area between India and Afghanistan. Several shots of the planes in the air.

HAWKER HEARTS – EARLY BIPLANES

Hawker Hearts – early biplanes.

Several shots of the aircraft in flight over snow covered mountains in Afghanistan. RAF (Royal Air Force) man handle plane at base on the North West frontier. Shots of aircraft coming into land at the base. More shots of planes in-flight.

(Hawker Heart should presumably be Hawker Hart.)

The Khyber Pass in 1937

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

On Flickr is a wonderful collection of photographs of Landi Kotal and the Khyber Pass in 1937, taken (or collected?) by Albert Chalcroft of The King’s Regiment.

These are some of the railway ones (click to enlarge and visit on Flickr):

Albert Chalcroft, The King's Regiment, Landi Kotal, Kyber Pass, 1937

Albert Chalcroft, The King's Regiment, Landi Kotal, Kyber Pass, 1937

Albert Chalcroft, The King's Regiment , Landi Kotal, Kyber Pass, 1937

I think this is my favourite:

Albert Chalcroft, The King's Regiment , Landi Kotal, Kyber Pass, 1937

Khyber Ropeway at Ali Masjid

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

I recently acquired a postcard entitled “Alimusjid Fort with Ropeway, Khyber Pass”, published by Mela Ram & Sons of Peshawar in the 1920s.

This aerial ropeway carried freight from the railhead at Jamrud to British military posts in the Khyber Pass during the period between the Third Afghan War and the opening of the Khyber railway.

1920s postcard showing Ali Masjid fort and the Khyber Pass ropeway

The ropeway’s history has been somewhat ignored in comparison to the railway. I have been (very slowly) doing some research at various libraries, and am putting together an article which should appear on this website in due course.

If anyone knows anything about the ropeway or the Khyber Ropeway Company (the army unit which operated it) then do please get in touch. I guess it is pretty much beyond living memory now, but someone might have heard some stories, read their grandfather’s diary or have found some old photos of it tucked away.

(Also, do ropeway historical societies/publications/enthusiasts exist?)

Khyber Pass railway tunnel photo

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

A photo of the Khyber Pass railway from the Railway Gazette International archives.

On the back of the picture is a handwritten caption: “On the Khyber Railway – a push trolly on a down grade entering a tunnel, after it has already passed through the top tunnel. P.W.R.”.

PWR is presumably Pakistan Western Railway. The back of the picture has a 30 March 1962 date stamp; this might be when the picture was developed or when the magazine received it, rather than when the picture was taken.

Edmund Rich’s Kabul River Railway archive

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Bonhams auction 19952 on 4 December 2012 included this lot 283, which sold for £3750.

283 RICH (EDMUND TILLOTSON)

A very good archive representing the military career of Edmund Rich (1874-1937), an officer of the Royal Engineers and surveyor, mostly on the North-West Frontier and in Burma (at first in conjunction with the Survey of India and latterly as one of its directors), also relating to survey in South Persia during World War I, and with the British forces in Southern Russia in 1919, comprising a series of photographs albums, loose photographs, autograph letters, orders, draft reports, maps ephemera, etc., together with a small quantity of photographs, letters and documents relating to Rich’s ancestors, those of his wife Aileen Owen (d.1918), and their son (quantity)

[...]
In 1905 Rich was sent to Peshawar in charge of No. 12 Party with orders to survey the sensitive area north of Kohat Pass. This work lasted four years and included the Bazar Valley and Mohmand campaigns of 1908. The archive contains Rich’s alternative survey for the Kabul River Railway which resulted in the cancellation of the line then under construction, and the dismantling of track and bridges already in place. 1909-1911 were spent in England (Rich married in 1910).
[...]
Source: Bonhams

According to the auction listing, the most substantial of the items include “An album containing titled in manuscript ‘Views of the Khyber Pass…taken chiefly by E.T. Rich when surveying there 1905-1909, approximately 176 gelatin silver prints”.

From this it can be inferred that photos of the Kabul River Railway might well exist.

If you bought this archive, and you happen to read this webpage, is there any chance that I could have a look at it, please? :-)

(a different Edmund Rich was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 13th century, which complicates web searches for any information about this particular one)

Pakistan Railways CEO’s photos

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

Photos from an online album by retired Pakistani railwayman Kiskhan: “I joined the Pakistan Railway as a junior officer way back in 1968. I rose to become its General Manager and CEO in Jan. 2000 and finally retired in Jun. 2003 at the age of 60.”

The Khyber Pass line. Note the umbrella, and “Coupling to Khyber Pass” headboard:
Through the Khyber Pass

The Pakistan side of the Afghan border at Chaman in 2003:
Chaman - Afghan border 2003

A lost opportunity?

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Khyber Railway: A Lost Opportunity?, asks Abdur Razzaq at PACT Radio on 4 August 2012.