The Khyber Railway, India

The Locomotive, March 15th 1926, Page 80.

The vision of an ‘Afghan Express’ leaving Bombay for Cabul [Kabul] on arrival of the British mail steamer has been all but realized by the opening of the latest addition to the Indian trunk railway system, the extension of the main lines of the N.W. Ry. from Jamrud to within about a mile and a half of the Afghan border. The new line is 27-¾ miles in length and is a wonderful triumph for British engineering skill. Leaving Jamrud at a level of 1,496 feet above the sea, it reaches its summit at Landi Kotal, 3,494 ft., in a distance of 21 miles, and thence falls to the terminus at Landi Khana, 2,622 ft., in a further distance of 4-½ miles mostly at 1 in 25, whence a good road enables communication being maintained with Cabul, 115 miles distant, and the interior of Afghanistan.

As already mentioned in these pages the new railway has been constructed on the 5ft. 6in. gauge to the enlarged dimensions recently adopted by the Railway Board for all new Indian railways, and one of our photos shows a sample covered goods wagon built to the size now permissible with a load limit of 31-½ tons, coupled to a standard wagon of 22 tons capacity.

The view of the railway, taken near Landi Khana, gives a good idea of the rugged country it traverses; this spot is close to the Afghan frontier. There are thirty-four tunnels aggregating three miles in length and numerous bridges, with a viaduct of some importance at Bagiari, near Jamrud.

There are four reversing stations, two below the jaws of the Jamrud end of the pass; one beyond the point where the line passes from the main valley to the Tora Tigga Valley by a tunnel, and the fourth at Landi Khana.

Chaman – Spin Boldak railway construction reportedly begins

Pakistan Railways has started work on a project to lay an 11 km railway line from Chaman to Spin Boldak in Afghanistan, SAMAA TV reported on 5 November 2021. “The construction material is being transported to the area to lay the track which will extend to the zero line, SAMAA TV‘s Saeed Achakzai reported on Friday. Pakistan Railways officials told SAMAA TV that the rails would soon be laid on the sleepers. The most recent effort to construct the Chaman-Spin Boldak line was launched last December when Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed announced the revival of the project.”

There is also some history, citing this website :-)

Khyber Pass railway revival contemplated

The government of Pakistan is considering plans rebuild the Khyber Pass railway, reports the Express Tribune.

Pakistan Railways’ chairperson Perveen Agha along with other senior officials visited the track on Thursday. “The purpose of the visit is to start work on reviving and restoring the Peshawar-Torkham railway track,” said an official of the political administration. The political administration has already given shopkeepers and other encroachers along the railway track to vacate Pakistan Railway’s property within a week so that restoration work can begin.

Source: Govt mulling plans to restore historic railway track at Torkham, Express Tribune, 15 September 2017

Jalalabad railway survey

A survey for a railway from Peshawar in Pakistan to Jalalabad in Afghanistan is to be launched soon, reports The News International1 citing an Afghan Ministry of Public Works press release (which I can’t seem to find) of Wednesday 4 May 2016. Rs60 million has been allocated and a private firm has been engaged to conduct the eight-month survey for the line, which the head of the (unspecified) company in Afghanistan, Wahidullah Oryakhel said would be 150 km long, with 75 km in Nangarhar province. Pakistan is providing financial assistance for the project.

Busines Recorder says the consultancy is Umar Munshi Associates of Karachi.2

The reports do not say whether this proposal would involve reviving the moribund and flood damaged Khyber Pass Railway, or building a new line through the Shilman Valley.

Khyber Railway revival?

Steam train in Khyber Pass

“A railway track, spanning 145 kilometers, from Peshawar to Jalalabad is likely to be laid soon. Authorities are in the process of awarding contract for this ambitious project”, reports Afghan Zaria.1

The report says the government of Pakistan’s 2015-16 budget has allocated 620m rupees for a nine-month feability study, which would involve engineers from Pakistan and Afghanistan. NESpak, Mines Construction, Mine Hart, ILF (LIK), MMBP, Usmania Associates Karachi and “a company from China” have submitted tenders. Tracklaying could begun in 2017-18.

The request for proposals was issued in March 2015.

This is not the first time a railway to Jalalabad has been proposed, but so far railways have never crossed the border from the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan.