This page was produced after reading my friend Apurva Bahadur's account of his 2001 holiday in Goa which brought back happy memories of my two brief visits there ( see Links page for details).

 

The Galleries on the next two pages contain some images of the railway in Goa as it was in the very early 1980s.

The erstwhile West of India Portuguese Railway ( despite the title, this was a British company with a concession to build and operate the railway) built a  metre gauge line from the Portuguese colony of Goa inland to connect with the Madras and Southern  Mahratta Railway line at Londa Junction.

The line ran from the port of Marmagao at the mouth of the Zuari River through the nearby town of Vasco -da -gama.  This line was relatively flat over the coastal plains, and it bypassed the magnificent Vel Goa ( Old Goa, near the smaller river port of Panajim, capital of Goa) where European cathedrals rise out of the jungle, but this sight can be glimpsed from the new Konkan Railway which runs for over 600 kms along the coast connecting Mumbai with Goa and Kerala.

The Konkan Railway has replaced the old metre gauge route via Londa, Miraj and Pune as the main traffic artery, but this route has itself been recently converted to broad gauge. Completely new methods of working have been introduced for the line, and passenger trains have been recently reintroduced after a period when the line was not available for passenger traffic.

The highlight of the Metre Gauge route was the climb from the coastal plains from Kolamb to Castle Rock over the Braganza Ghats.  This section, over which all trains were banked in the rear,  involves tunnels, sharp curves and grades as steep as 1 in 40, has its own highlight in the form of the spectacular Dudh Sagar Falls.  The train crosses over the Falls themselves, as can be seen on the next page. This photograph was taken in late December 1983, when the Falls are comparatively dry.

In the 1980s the line was still worked by a fleet of YD 2-8-2s based at the Castle Rock depot.  These worked the local passenger trains on the coastal section, the morning through passenger, which was also banked by a YD, and they also banked the day and night diesel hauled through trains. The only other steam loco class I saw on the line were some standard YGs on ballast trains, one of which also banked a YD on the  13.30 passenger out of Vasco.

However, the WIPR was home to six large 0-6-6-0 Mallets built in 1911 and 1921, and 4-8-0s some of which survived to work for the Marmagao Port Trust into the 1970s.  But even without these locos, the YDs provided metre gauge variety, and they sounded impressive running at speed through the lush coastal plains.

 

Vel Goa ( Old Goa)

Click on any thumbnail for a full size image

 
Many guide books dismiss the town of Vasco-da-Gama, yet it has some pleasant aspects, such as this street parallel to the railway line.

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But the greatest place of interest is the World Heritage Listed site of Old Goa.  Here the Sť Cathedral and the Basilca of Bom Jesus, the mausoleum of  St Francis Xavier, stand clear of the jungle.

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Every 10 years the saint's body is moved to the Sť Cathedral for an Exposition ( the last was from November 1994 till January 7, 1995).

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On " Holy Hill", the chapel of Saint Anthony, patron saint of the Portugese Navy.

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My visit to Old Goa was on Christmas Day, 1981.  Another visitor was feted.

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The belfry of the Augustinian Monastery on Holy Hill.

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The Convent of Saint Monica is still occupied by nuns from the Mater Dei Institute.

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All photographs Copyright © John Lacey 2002


Click on  either of the Photos buttons below for photo galleries.  The first gallery covers Vasco to Kolamb, while the second covers Kolamb to Dudh Sagar. Click on  the Links button for links to my other web pages and a comprehensive list of other pages on Indian Railways.

 

 

 

 

 

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