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.
…the British Indian government had just started making inroads to the Khyber Agency by extending it’s railway beyond Jamrud.
The Peshawar – Jamrud railway had already been constructed on which the “Flying Afridi” train service would make a trip once a day. This train service, part of the greater Kabul River Railway or the Loye Shilman railway project, was to be extended much deeper into the Khyber Agency. The initial survey by Captain Macdonald was to follow the upstream right banks of the River Kabul along the Loye Shilman territory till the village of Palosi on the Afghan border. Although less challenging, this route was scrapped due to political issues of the time with the then Amir of Afghanistan, Amir Habibullah Khan and also probably due to the sheer number of bends in the River along the route.
Source: The Frontier Clasp and its Railways, Omar Usman, Khyber.org, 2011-03-14
There is a map which shows the Kabul River railway.
Peshawar-Jalalabad railway route
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Railways (PR) has completed a feasibility report of the Chaman-Qandahar railway track and it has now requested the World Bank to assist in the feasibility of the Peshawar-Jalalabad route.
Director Planning Ministry of Railways Aftab Akbar told APP that the PR’s top priority is rehabilitation, upgradation of infrastructure and lying of new tracks with an aim to be a hub of economic activities for regional countries.
Source: The News International, 2011-03-28
In January 2010 a Chaman – Kandahar study was reported as having been submitted to the Afghan government.
On July 7 Afghanistan and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding to undertake feasibility studies for extension of Pakistan Railways lines from Chaman to Kandahar and from the Khyber Pass to Torkham and Jalalabad.
Source: Railway Gazette International, August 2010
Photos of Peshawar and the Khyber Pass taken by Anthony Maw on 27 August 2007, showing the remains of the Khyber railway.
The April 2010 issue of British Railways Illustrated magazine has an article with lots of photographs of the Khyber Pass line taken by Gavin Morrison in the 1970s. There is a companion article about Pakistani narrow gauge in the April 2010 Railway Bylines, with basically the same text but different pictures.
The text isn’t especially detailed, being a brief description of the visit, rather than a history of the lines, but there are some very nice pictures of steam engines in action in spectacular scenery.
Sadly the Khyber Pass line is now out of action, with sections having been washed away and revival seemingly a distant prospect – unless the Chinese decide to rebuild and extend it to serve their Afghan copper mining concession at Aynak.
The 2’6″ gauge railway from Bostan to Zhob (Fort Sandeman) has closed. The track was lifted by the authorities to prevent (further) theft, although the government has announced plans to rebuild it as a 1676 mm gauge line and construct a 150 km extension to Dera Ismail Khan, cutting 400 km from the distance by rail between Quetta and Peshawar.
I’ve just been re-reading a fascinating book I found whilst browsing dusty shelves in a bookshop in Rawalpindi when I was last in Pakistan (1997). It is called “Adventure Through Khyber” by Victor Bayley … His task: to design and supervise the construction of a railway through the Khyber Pass, a railway which would eventually link far off Bombay to the Afghanistan Border at Landi Khana.