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.
(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.)
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):
I think this is my favourite:
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.
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?)
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.
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).
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)
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.”
Khyber Railway: A Lost Opportunity?, asks Abdur Razzaq at PACT Radio on 4 August 2012.
“Steam train to Afghan border 1997” is a pair of videos uploaded to YouTube by Willy Kaemena showing the Khyber Pass railway in Pakistan.
“View Of The Khyber Pass From Shagai Fort”, a photograph by Private J W Linley of 2nd Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment, uploaded to Flickr by Northampton Museums Service. There is a bit of railway in the bottom right corner.
There are also other interesting pictures on the Northampton Museums Service’s Flickr collection.