Industrial Locomotives of South Asia website launched

Simon Darvill has undertaken extensive research into industrial locomotives in south Asia, and the results have been compiled into a new website, which is now live.

There are detailed records of industrial locos which have been used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma and Bhutan (yes, really!) since the early 1850s.

Included in the section on railways used for military purposes in India up to 1947 are details of railways used for British overseas campaigns up until the end of World War I. This includes the campaign in Mespotamia (now Iraq).

Simon has supplied this site with details of locomotives in Afghanistan; his site also has an Afghan section.

Afghan locos found in Austria

Simon Darvill has found four more industrial locos which were supplied to Afghanistan – and two of them survive in Europe.

Ruhrtaler seem to have delivered more locos to the same Mahipar project as the other Ruhrtalers. However these were delivered to Siemens-Bauunion GmbH, München. They were 3800 and 3812-4 of 1965. They were of the same G 60 O/V type, and 600 mm gauge.

The Siemens website describes Siemens-Bauunion.

Siemens-Bauunion GmbH was founded in 1921 as a subsidiary of Siemens & Halske AG and Siemens-Schuckertwerke GmbH. Previously the Siemens parent companies had contracted out the civil engineering works necessary for the building of power plants, tramways and subways to external companies, but because they worked with these companies they had their own experienced staff of civil engineers and building workers. In order to make better use of this potential and to be in a position to offer large-scale building projects from a single source, it was clear that the parent companies would have to have their own construction company. In the 1920s, Siemens-Bauunion was responsible for the building of numerous hydroelectric power plants and subways (Athens, Buenos Aires). Much of the motorway construction in the 1930s was also carried out by the Bauunion. In 1972 Siemens sold the company to Dyckerhoff & Widmann AG.

Loco 3800 went back to Austria and was used by a company called Bauhof AKB in Bludenz. It then went to Kärntner Museumsbahn as their number 284. It is now at the Montan- und Werksbahnmuseum in Graz, Austria.

Number 3814 also came back for use by Hochtief Bauunternehmung, on Frankfurt/Main’s U-Bahnbaustelle Bf Westend project [lines U6/U7?]. It was in use here by 1987, then went to the same two preservation sites, numbered 285.

There are details of the locos at (in German), which also mentions the Kabul steam locos. It seems the Montan- und Werksbahnmuseum (Mountain and Industrial Railway Museum) in Graz is not currently open to the public.

Anyone got an pictures of these locos?

More industrial diesels supplied to Afghanistan

Records of more locos delivered to Afghanistan have been found by Simon Darvill.

These are two 600mm Deutz OMZ117 F 4wDM locos built in 1938 (w/ns 22732 & 3). They left Deutz on 25/2/1938 and were delivered to “Regierungseinkaufsstelle von Afghanistan, Berlin, für Karachi”. I believe that this translates as Government Purchase Place of Afghanistan – I am showing them as delivered to the Afghanistan Government. I assume that the Karachi reference is where they were shipped to and then were collected by whoever the end user was. Interestingly they were still working in 1954 as Deutz delivered two new A2L514 engines for them in that year. I have no idea the moment what they were used for but it is interesting that all industrial locos supplied to Afghanistan appear to be of the same gauge.

Afghan locos found in works list

Simon Darvill has found some records of more industrial locomotives which were supplied to Afghanistan!

He is currently going through the works lists for German loco builders as part of some work for the Industrial Railway Society on industrial railways of Benelux, and found the Afghan machines in a Ruhrthaler works list.

German company Ruhrthaler Maschinenfabrik built four 600 mm gauge 4wDM locos, works numbers 3787-90/1964. According to Ruhrthaler’s works list they were delivered to “Working Group Mahipar”.

Simon’s theory is that they were supplied in conjunction with the constuction of the Mahipar power station, a hydro-electric power station on the Kabul River 40 km downstream from Kabul. The dates support this, as the locos were supplied to Hochtief, dispatched on 31 July 1964 and the power station opened in 1966.

Dr Paul E Waters’s 2002 book Afghanistan: A Railway History says (unfortunately without a reference):

On 15 March 1969 Wilfrid Simms noted four B-B diesel-hydraulic locomotives in a compound at the head of the Tang-i-Jharoo or Afghan Pass on the road from Kabul towards the Khyber Pass. They were numbered TIJ 1 to 4, were of about 60 cm gauge and appeared to be of East German or other Soviet Block origin. They had presumably been used on recently completed road improvements, whch included several tunnels. Armed guards inhibited attempts at close inspection or photography.

Could these be the same locos – actually West German and for a hydroelectric project? I’ve not pinned down the location of Tang-i-Jharoo on a map yet. Anyone know where it is?

Ruhrthaler background

Ruhrthaler Maschinenfabrik is now part of Bräutigam, who describe Ruhrthaler as follows:

In order to further strengthen our market position, we acquired the RUHRTHALER machine works in 1996. A prestigious company that established itself worldwide as a designer and manufacturer of locomotives and as the market leader in mining locomotives and monorail systems over the course of its 100-year history. From 1924 on, they supplied local and foreign sources with more than 4500 diesel locomotives.

Power station background

A PDF with details of the Mahipar & Sarobi Hydropower Plants:

The run-of-river hydroelectric power plant Mahipar is located on the Kabul river about 40 km downstream of the capital Kabul. The hydropower scheme was completed and the first two units commissioned in 1966 to provide mid and peak load electrical power to the grid for supplying the city of Kabul. A third unit was installed some years later.

The Afghan Energy Information Center has some more information.