The Reversing Station, Bhore Ghat Railway Incline, 1872
Scope and Contents
217 x 192 mm. View looking along the track towards the reversing station on the Bhore Ghat Incline on the Bombay Poona line. The great natural obstacle of the Western Ghats, rising to over 2000 ft., was a major problem in linking Bombay with the rest of India by rail, and work on the line (which in places had a gradient of 1:37) employed an average labour force of 30-40,000 people, with a mortality rate of some 30%. The first section of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, from Bombay to Thana, was officially opened in April 1853, but it was to be another ten years before the line was built over the Ghats and on to Poona. Of this, the incline, rising 1821 ft. in the 16 miles of its length, occupied 7 years, 6 months. The task of designing the line fell to James Berkley (1819-1862), a former pupil of Robert Stephenson and Chief Resident Engineer of the GIPR from 1850-58. In the print, the line at the right ascends from Karjat. The train then proceeds to the sidings in the background and continues the ascent by reversing up the middle track. The track on the left is a catch siding for descending trains; this safety measure did not however prevent 14 deaths in January 1869, after a brake failure caused the Poona to Bombay mail train to crash over the edge. In the left background can be seen the rocky outcrop known as the Duke's Nose.
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