January 28, 2010

A Peek into the past with David (Part I)

If you ever travel up to Simla by the Kalka-Simla toy train, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it will be good to remember William Edge, who did pioneering work with the re-construction and repair of this line.
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We have here with us today, David Edge, grandson of William L Edge, who is now settled in Australia. David has been kind enough to tell us about his grand-dad, besides providing us a glimpse into the past with a delightful set of pictures from William’s albums.
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William Edge began service at the age of 22 years, David tells us, and was appointed by Major Kitchener to construct a railway from Suakin on the Red Sea to Khartoum.
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On his return to India, William secured employment with the North Western Railway as Engineer, and was engaged in reconstructing the railway on the Bolan Pass to Quetta. This line, seen in the picture alongside dating back to 1890, originally laid along valleys, was often washed away in flash floods, and the only way was to raise the track to a height. The credit of handling this onerous task goes to William, and a station called Edgenuga was named after him.
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Subsequent postings took William to Rawalpindi, Ambala and Lahore before he was appointed as Chief Engineer of the Kalka Simla railway in 1915. Here again, he distinguished himself by reconstructing the line using his skill and forethought, bringing down accidents and derailments that were so very common on this hill railway.
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The pictures you see here are all from William’s album, which David has shared with us. Thank you David for the superb pictures, you sure deserve a treat !!

Bridge on the Quetta Line, 1890

Railway Institute, Quetta, 1890

Kalka Simla Railway, 1917
Maintenance Train on Quetta Line, 1890
All Pictures Courtesy of David Edge