Reminiscences: Erstwhile Dandakaranya-Bolangir-Kirandul Railway reminds the History poised to repeat itself in Vizag

The DBK Railway, with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, was formed by the Railway Board during the early 1960s.

Vintage Train pic of Vizag
The First Train from Visakhapatnam started on 1st Oct 1894. Initially our Vizag railway station was at one town near Old post office

Visakhapatnam: Over 50 years ago, Visakhapatnam had served as headquarters for a railway zone! Sounds interesting? The DBK Railway, with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, was formed by the Railway Board during the early 1960s. The zone had executed three prestigious construction projects within a decade, without any time and cost overruns.

Christened DBK (Dandakaranya, Bolangir and Kirandul) Railway, it had constructed three railway line projects Kottavalasa–Kirandul line (K-K line), designated as Dandakaranya line (446 km), Sambalpur–Titlagarh line (182 km, known by the district headquarters name of Bolangir) and Bimalgarh–Kiriburu line (34 km, called by the terminal station name).

Vizag Railway Station“All the three new lines were completed by the Visakhapatnam-headquartered DBK Railway without any time or cost overruns”, recalled retired General Manager (IRCON) S.S. Challa, former CAO (Construction) of Visakhapatnam A. Bheema Rao and former Chief Engineer of S.E. Railway J. Rajula Reddy, who were all associated with the prestigious projects.

“The Sambalpur-Titlagarh line was opened in 1964 and Bimalgarh-Kiruburu was completed and opened for traffic in 1966 and the K-K line was completed and opened for traffic in 1969, well within the estimated cost of Rs.5,500 lakh,” noted Mr. Challa in his technical treatise on “Effects of heavy haul trains on Kottavalasa-Kirandul railway line”, which was released here recently.

Darappa NallaThe travails and tribulations of the officers and workers, who braved the odds to climb mountains, were also recalled by the speakers at a function organised to release the book. Mr. Bheema Rao attributed the timely completion of the projects without cost overruns to the full powers given to the zonal headquarters in Visakhapatnam and lack of interference.

A train emerging out of a tunnel on way to the picturesque Araku Valley on Visakhapatnam Division
A train emerging out of a tunnel on way to the picturesque Araku Valley on Visakhapatnam Division

‘Today, one has to deal with multiple organisations to lay a railway line. The experiences during the execution of the three projects could be used when doubling of the K-K line is taken up. Durability and proper planning should be the watchword,” he said.

Araku train from Vizag

‘History repeats itself’, goes the saying now after more than half-a-century Visakhapatnam is poised to become the headquarters of the proposed new railway zone in Andhra Pradesh. The Centre should realise that postponing the issue would only lead to cost escalations of ongoing projects. (Courtesy: The Hindu)

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