What is Billimora-Waghai Line?
The Billimora Waghai Line is a 107-year-old narrow gauge railway line in Gujarat. In 2018, it was one among the 5 routes put forth by the Indian Railways for preservation as ‘industrial heritage’. However, it is now being scrapped due to economic constraints.
Why is it news?
It is one of the 11 such lines to be scraped by the Western Railways due to viability issues. The Railway Board recently approved the proposal of the Western Railways to permanently close its narrow gauge sections and other uneconomic branch lines in its system.
What are the other lines to be closed?
- Boriyavi Junction-Vadtal Swami Narayan
- Chota Udepur-Jambusar
The narrow guage lines are Choranda-Moti Koral, Billimora-Waghai, Chandod-Malsar.
About Billimora-Waghai train
The line was started by the Gaekwad Dynasty which ruled the Princely State of Baroda in 1913. It was laid by the British and operated by Gaekwad Baroda State Railway owned by Sayajirao Gaekwad III. The GBSR was owned by the Princely State of Baroda. The state was ruled by Gaekwad dynasty. It was used by the Gaekwad rulers to transport precious sag wood from forests.
After independence, GBSR merged with the Western Railways. A narrow-gauge train powered by steam engine was running in the route for more than twenty-four years. It was then put-on display in Mumbai Churchgate station as a Railway heritage.
Why is Billimora-Waghai line being scrapped?
The train service is now being used by the tribal people predominantly. They carry their vegetables to sell at Billimora. The train made only two trips a day. Also, the arrival and departure timings of the train was not certain. This is because the tickets were sold by the guard who cleared the train only after selling all the tickets. For these economic reasons, the route is being scrapped.
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