COMMUNICATIONS

RAILWAYS

The Daund-Manmad line of the Central Railway is the only railway line passing through this district. It is a broad gauge single line covering a length of 197 kilometres with 19 stations in the district. As against the State average of 4 kilometres per 100 square kilometres of area, the district is served by 3 kilometres railway line per 100 square kilometres. The railway line almost bisects this district and traverses through Shrigonda, Ahmadnagar, Rahuri, Shrirampur and Kopargaon talukas. It thus serves the transport needs of the areas having sugar factories in the district. The other eight talukas of the district do not benefit by any railway line.

The following is a detailed account of railways in the district as furnished in the old Gazetteer of Ahmadnagar published in 1884:- " Under the British, besides by roads, the district communications have been improved by the opening of railways. Though neither branch of the Great Indian Peninsula railway enters the district, the north-east section which was opened for traffic in 1861 passes within twenty miles of the northern border, and the southeast section which was opened for traffic in 1858 within one or two miles of the southern border. The Dhond and Manmad railway forms a chord line 145 miles long between the two sections of the Peninsula railway connecting Manmad 162 miles from Bombay on the north-east section, with Dhond in Poona 167 miles from Bombay on the south-east section. The line crosses the district bridge over the Bhima at Dhond and runs due north to Ahmadnagar tapping the trade of Shrigonda and Parner. It crosses the Mula about two miles north-east of Rahuri and the Pravara at Lakh where are the head-works of the irrigation canal. It then takes a very winding course to Puntamba on the Godavari tapping the trade of Belapur, Kolhar and Rahata. From Puntamba it runs to Yeola in Nasik taking Kopargaon by the way and thence to Manmad where it joins the main line to north India. Of 145 miles, the total length of the line, one or two miles from Dhond are in Poona, about 121 miles with fourteen stations, Pimpri twelve miles from Dhond, Belvandi twenty-one miles, Visapur twenty-nine miles, Sarola thirty-nine miles, Akolner forty-three miles, Ahmadnagar fifty-one miles, Vilad sixty miles, Vamburi sixty-eight miles, Rahuri seventy-six miles, Lakh eighty-five miles, Belapur ninety-two miles, Chitali 100 miles, Puntamba 105 miles, Samvatsar 110 miles, and Kopargaon Road 120 miles are in Ahmadnagar, and the remaining twenty-two miles with three stations, Yeola, Ankai and Manmad, are in Nasik. The line was first surveyed in 1868 by the Peninsula railway engineers, but no progress was made till the rains of 1876, when the Bombay Government directed Mr. Hallam, Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, to start another survey. Mr. Hallam's lines showed an improved gradation in some places and avoided a tunnel in the Chikhli ridge, thirty miles from Dhond. The earth-work was begun in February 1877 and half of it was finished as a famine relief work, the labourers being chiefly from Ahmadnagar, Nasik, and Sholapur. The gauge is 5'-6", the same as on the Peninsula lines,.......... "

" The chief bridges are on the Bhima, the Godavari, the Pravara and the Mula. The Bhima bridge, 535 yards long, with twenty-eight fifty feet spans, cost about 49,410 (Rs. 4,94,100); the Godavari bridge, with twenty-one fifty feet spans, cost about 41,230 (Rs. 4,12,300); the Pravara bridge, 280 yards long, with eighteen forty feet spans, cost about 23,000 (Rs. 2,30,000); the Mula bridge, with four 147 feet girders, cost about 33,570 (Rs. 3,35,700). All these except the Mula bridge are founded on rock. Near the Mula, thirty feet of shifting sand and then ten feet of black deposit had to be dug through. Sheep piling had to be used and it required six ten horse-power engines working day and night to keep the pits dry. The stone used in all these bridges is boulder trap brought in by Vadars. The arching of the three large bridges is all of through stones two feet nine inches in depth. The lime nodules or kankar were of the best quality, proving on analysis to contain ninety per cent of fat lime. They were burnt with charcoal in the proportion of two to one, the average cost per hundredweight burnt and delivered being 1 16s. (Rs. 18). Besides these, there are in all sixty-nine bridges, twenty-six of them major and the rest minor, ranging from four to sixty feet long, and built at a total cost of 93,000 (Rs. 9,30,000). In all cases the stone was boulder trap cemented with the best mortar. The line has not yet been fully fenced. In some places, especially near Ahmadnagar and Lakh, the banks have been thickly planted with babhul and other trees. When finished the whole line will have cost about 13,50,000 (Rs. 1,35,00,000) or about 9,380 (Rs. 93,800) a mile, of which about 13,000 (Rs. 1,30,000) were paid for land compensation and preliminary expenses, and about 1,05,000 (Rs. 10,50,000) for earth-work. The line was opened for traffic on the 17th of April 1878. Some large bridges which were begun in 1879 were not finished till the rains of 1880. Up to the end of 1880 the line was managed by Government; it was then handed to the Peninsula railway authorities........." [Bombay Gazetteer, Ahmadnagar, 1884, pp. 330-32.]

In what follows is a brief description of the two important stations, viz., Ahmadnagar and Kopargaon, on this line.

Ahmadnagar: Ahmadnagar is an important station on the Daund-Manmad broad gauge railway line. It is of considerable commercial importance, and is the exporting centre of sugar and fruits to Sholapur, Daund and Pune in large quantities. Besides these, engineering spare parts are also exported to Nagpur, Bombay and Pune. Railway communication has lent added importance to this town.

The railway station building is well built and provided with two platforms, one for passenger traffic and another for goods traffic. The passenger traffic platform is equipped with electric fans, light, potable water, tea-stalls, book-stalls and benches. There are upper class, lower class and ladies waiting rooms equipped with all the necessary amenities to the travelling public. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian refreshment facilities are also provided.

Kopargaon: Kopargaon is another important station both as regards passenger traffic and goods traffic. Being in the heart of a very prosperous sugarcane-cultivating area, there is brisk business in sugar and gur. Thousands of quintals of sugar and gur are exported from this station. The other important items of export are oil-cake, pulses and grains.

The station has one plaform which is adequately provided with amenities like potable water, tea-stalls, fans and lights. The station is covered with a shed. There is also a fruit-stall and book-stall. The station is also equipped with upper class and lower class waiting rooms, and a separate waiting room for ladies.

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