Railway Development
in Rajputana to 1888


(by David Page, based on Internet research)


The Indian Railways in 1893

Click here for a general map of the railways at this date (five years after Kipling’s visit to Rajputana).


The Indian railway network was developed with four different gauges (width between the rails) with track widths being selected by the railway companies or the State depending upon the geography of the route and the cost. Although many lines have now been converted from Meter Gauge to Broad Gauge, the different gauges still exist with current (2007) track lengths for the whole of India as shown.

BG Broad Gauge 1676mm (5ft 6in) 86,526l km
MG Meter Gauge 1000mm (3ft 3.4in) 18,529 km
NG Narrow Gauge 762 / 610mm (2ft 6in / 2ft 0in) 3,651 km

Development History

In Western India, the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway, incorporated in 1855, initially laid BG track starting with the Baroda-Surat line, which they began to extend to Bombay in 1859, then in the opposite direction to Ahmedabad which was completed in 1869.

In 1870, Lord Mayo introduced the concept of meter gauge (MG) track as a compromise proposal for use in areas of limited traffic. In 1873 the first commercial traffic on this gauge ran between Delhi and Rewari. In 1874 the Delhi-Bandikui, Bandikui-Agra lines of Rajputana State Railway opened, and the extension to Alwar was under construction (all MG). In 1875, the Rajputana State Railway MG line reached Ajmer, and in 1877, construction of Ajmer the railway workshops of the Rajputana-Malwa line had begun.

In 1874, Lord Salisbury, Secretary of State for India, had stipulated that track should henceforward be to the BG standard, but in 1879 under a reversal of this policy, the Rajputana-Malwa railway was authorised to continue building its lines to Meter Gauge, and the Ahmedabad-Palanpur MG section was opened that year. Then in 1881 the Ajmer-Ahmedabad MG line opened and became part of the Rajputana State Railway.

In 1882, the Rajputana State Railway was merged into the Rajputana-Malwa Railway and in 1885, Jodhpur was connected to this network from Marwar Junction with MG track and later became part of the Jodhpur Bikaner Railway. The line from Ajmer to Chitor is still Meter gauge.

Delhi-Ahmedabad (via Ringas) railway line is a Meter Gauge line passing through the Ajmer district. Ajmer, Kishangarh, Beawar towns of the district are the important stations of this line. The district is also directly linked with Ratlam and Indore by Meter Gauge. Important railway stations on the Ajmer-Khandwa rail line are Ajmer, Nasirabad and Bijaynagar.


©David Page 2007 All rights reserved