Private railway lines
Whether they became part of the South Indian Railway or not, the small ‘private’ railway lines in the South appear to be a part of the memory of many a reader as separate service providers and they continue to update me on this.
‘Reader T.A.D Sami’ writes that there was a line that was owned by the Tanjore District Board from Vedaranyam to Point Calimere and it was also taken over by the SIR. The compensation the Board received, he adds, was used for charities. A Chatram Development Board with full fledged officers — a Chatram Tahsildar, Chatram Revenue Inspector etc. — was set up. The Chatrams at Tanjore and Rajamadan were maintained by the Board for many years.
Reader A. Sitaraman reminds me of the light railway whose route was Kayalpattinam-Tiruchendur-Kulasekarapatnam. Parry & Co. owned this line, which was a great service to the coastal villages. Before World War II, Parry’s wanted to close the line. Neither did the Tinnevely District Board want to buy it nor were banks willing to help persons interested in buying it and running the service. Ultimately, the line was closed and dismantled.
Following the trail of what was known as the Kulasekarapatnam Light Railway (KLR), I discovered that Parry’s had, at one time, wanted to buy the lines of the Tanjore District Board. Parry’s KLR, on the other hand, was little more than a tramline established to carry jaggery to the company’s factory in Kulasekarapatnam which had been set up in the early 1900s. The SIR persuaded Parry’s to extend the line northwards to Tiruchendur, and the service operated from 1915 to 1940, even after the factory had closed in 1926.
In 1940, Parry’s made the line a part of its war effort, digging up the track and gifting the steel to the Government. But whether the line went still further north from Tiruchendur to Kayalpattinam, I have not been able to verify.
Send this article to Friends by