The International Steam Pages

North Eastern Railway - Metre Gauge

The North Eastern Railway was one for the steam connoisseur with a desire for completeness. Serving Uttar Pradesh and Bihar (as was) it ran through areas where extreme poverty was endemic and travelling conditions could not only be described as 'basic' but also 'risky' as dacoity was a daily occurrence especially in Bihar. The countryside was largely flat as it served mainly an area north of the Ganges and winter months could be very foggy ruining photography and making trains run even later than normal.

As far as steam variety was concerned there was very little beyond standard classes, there were YB 4-6-2s in the north-west, P 4-6-0s in the west in general and a few T class 2-6-2T at Lucknow.

What brought enthusiasts to the area were the railways associated with sugar mills which will be covered in a later separate section on industrial steam and much of the NER steam photographic record was compiled as a 'bonus' during such visits.

However, steam lasted on the NER into 1997 and I was one of many who made a visit 'just in time'. The maps show the system in the 1970s where just Sonpur had a broad gauge allocation. Twenty years later many of the busier lines were already broad gauge.

Rob Dickinson