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Shimoga

Shimoga

Shimoga, town (1991 pop. 193,028), Karnataka state, SW India, on the Tunga River. Shimoga is district headquarters for a region that produces coffee, sugarcane, cotton, millet, oilseed, and rice. Limestone, manganese, and iron ore are mined in the region. The town was plundered by the Marathas in 1798 and occupied by the British in the early 19th cent. after the Maratha wars.

Shimoga-Talaguppa railway is a railway line in India connecting the city of Shimoga to the village of Talaguppa in the Indian state of Karnataka. The line passes through the town of Sagara.

History

British Indian authorities started laying the metre gauge line in the year 1938 from Shimoga to Talaguppa to provide access to Jog Falls. Another purpose was to transport wooden logs from the forests of the Malnad region to make wooden sleepers and also to be used as a fuel in the furnaces of the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Limited at Bhadravathi. In 1939, Mirza Ismail took the maiden journey on this line to visit Sagara town. The connection till Talaguppa was inaugurated on 9 November 1940. Some of the prominent people who have used this line to visit Jog Falls include Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Sir M. Visvesvaraya, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Morarji Desai. Socialist leader, Ram Manohar Lohia travelled in a train on this line to participate in the Kagodu Satyagraha but was arrested at Sagara station.

Stations

Railway stations in order from Shimoga to Talaguppa on this line are:
Shimoga Town — Konagavalli — Harnahalli — Kumsi — Arasalu — Kenchanalu — Anandapuram — Adderi — Balegundi — Sagar Jambagaru — Kanale — Talaguppa.

Trains

Initially, 3 daily passenger trains and goods trains used to run on this line. The trains also used to carry construction material needed for the construction of the Linganamakki dam and the associated power house. Subsequently, the number of passenger trains were reduced to one and goods trains were withdrawn. In the 1990s, the line between Bangalore and Shimoga was converted to broad gauge, after which the passenger train on the Shimoga-Talaguppa line was replaced by a railcar. The railcar could accommodate 52 passengers and took 3:45 hours to cover the distance of 82 km, a journey which took considerably lesser time to cover by road. It was one of the few trains with conductors on board and tickets could be bought on the train itself, whereas the normal practice followed in Indian Railways, was that passengers should buy tickets before boarding a train. Once the railcar reaches Talaguppa, the rail car has to be reversed using a turntable, so that it can start its return journey.

Efforts were being made to convert this line into a broad gauge so that trains could run from Talaguppa to places beyond Shimoga. However, there was a proposal to close down this line permanently as well. Indian Railways withdrew around 16 gatemen who were posted to man the level crossings along this line. This created a situation where in a mobile gateman had to travel aboard the railcar, get down near every level crossing to close the gates, allow the train to pass and then hop back on to the train. There is also a proposal to extend this line from Talaguppa onwards and connect it Honnavar or Bhatkal on the Konkan Railway, which could provide a shorter alternative route to Mumbai from southern parts of India.

The railcar has been withdrawn, ever since work has been undertaken to convert the track into broad gauge.

References

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