Pakistan, 1996: Malakwal and on to Faisalabad

This travelogue was originally published by Dr Roland Ziegler in 1999 in German. This English translation is by IRFCA, 2012. The original German version is available at www.rolandziegler.de

This is a part of the travelogue detailing Dr Ziegler's travel through Pakistan in 1996.

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Malakwal and on to Faisalabad

At the Malakwal depot, and then from Malakwal to Faisalabad

At some time in the middle of the night our train arrives at the provincial railway junction Malakwal. The next morning there will be plenty of time to explore the station and the last broad gauge steam locomotive assets of Pakistan Railways.

In 1996 there are still local trains from Malakwal to Gharibwal Khewra hauled by steam, and steam is also seen occasionally on the route to Kushab and the regional main line Lala Musa - Malakwal - Sargodha.

Malakwal supports the steam loco classes SPS and SGS, with internal maintenance for both. The SPS is a 2-4-0 and intended for passengers. The SGS is a freight train with wheel arrangement 0-6-0, but otherwise largely the same as the SPS. Both series come from a British manufacturer from 1911-1921, but recalling the design of English steam from the late 19th century.

Shunter at Malakwal station

Shunter at Malakwal station

The first encounter at the railway station is with SGS No. 2510, used only as a shunter. Several of this locomotive's pipes are leaking, and when the locomotive is moving, it is mostly shrouded in steam.

21 January 1996

Malakwal Depot

Malakwal Depot

The depot is situated at the western stationhead, south of the routes to Khushab and Sargodha.

The SPS No. 2976 is in better condition than her shunter-sister. She has already brought us here from Shorkot Jn. and will carry our special train still further. In the depot they have additional locomotives.

21 January 1996

Scrapyard

Scrapyard

On the grounds of the depot can be found an abundance of relics of the steam era coming to an end.

21 January 1996

Malakwal Depot - Workshops

Malakwal Depot - Workshops

In the workshops of the depot you will find antique machine tools that are driven by a large central transmission.

21 January 1996

Metal casting

Metal casting

This skilled worker produces bearings from white metal by casting. To the left the molten metal can be seen. In his hands he holds the mould, and on the right are the finished bearings. Western health and safety regulations may not necessarily apply here.

21 January 1996

Malakwal Depot

Malakwal Depot

SPS No. 2985 is also to be made available for our special train and therefore readied in the depot.

21 January 1996


It is not until after noon that our train is ready to depart. In Malakwal the clocks go extra slow, as we will find learn in the next few days.

Malakwal, arrival of a passenger train

Malakwal, arrival of a passenger train

Just outside Malakwal station on the north side the tracks from the depot and Kushab Sargodha come together. On the nearer line railway train R 443 from Sargodha to Lala Musa passes the outer home signal. It is hauled by an ALU-18 class locomotive (wheel arrangement Co-Co) built by Alco in 1960.

21 January 1996

Double headed by SPS locomotives

Double headed by SPS locomotives

Finally, our train is departing. Pulled by two locomotives of the SPS class, it heads for Sargodha (44km away). Both locomotives run with an auxiliary water tender. The first photo opportunities are at a false departure (a staged departure) at the station of Chak Saidat. The stone shelter for the pointsman is typical, protecting him from sun and rain.

21 January 1996

Mianwala Station

Mianwala Station

I then got myself on to the footplate where there was plenty of space and the hospitable loco crew entertained us with fruit and tea. Boiling water for brewing the mixture of tea, milk, sugar, and cardamom is available from the locomotive boiler in any quantity desired.

In the meantime, it's raining lightly, as we pass through the station of Banh Mianwala.

21 January 1996

Arrival in Sargodha

Arrival in Sargodha

We arrive late in the afternoon at Sargodha Junction, where despite the already delayed schedule of the special train, a staged photo-opportunity with a false arrival is held entering the station.

21 January 1996

At Sargodha one of the SPS locomotives leaves the train. The remaining engine, the now familiar SPS 2976, continues south with the train to Faisalabad (107km). It will already be dark when we get there. We complete the last leg to Lahore (142km), with diesel traction, again an ALU 18 from Alco, and arrive around 22:30 and spend the night, after three days on the train, for once in a hotel.

I spend the time during the diesel stage in the locomotive cab once more. Again, there is tea and, in a most English style, cookies are served. The night run poses its own special challenges for the staff, e.g., sighting the signals or the pedestrians on the tracks, and this is an exciting experience in itself for me.

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