Prominence of Hubballi Dharwad in Indian Railways

Hubballi Dharwad played a Prominent role in Strengthening the Railway Infrastructure of the North Karnataka region. Let us have a look at events that made Hubballi Dharwad special as far as Indian Railways is concerned.

The Southern Mahratta Railway company was formed on 1 June 1882 with its headquarters at Dharwad. Southern Mahratta Railway’s first line was a Metre Gauge line of around 70kms mile long from Bellary to Hospet.

Karnataka College Dharwad
Karnataka College, Dharwad: Then Southern Mahratta Railway headquarters

The Loco, Carriage, and Wagon workshop at Hubballi was established in the year 1885 under Southern Mahratta Railway (SMR) for the Maintenance of Meter Gauge Locos, Coaches, and Wagons. The Southern Mahratta Railway opened the 130 Km long Hubballi–Harihar railway line on 18th October 1886.

In 1919, Madras & Southern Mahratta Railway (MSMR) was formed and the Hubballi Workshop was brought under the jurisdiction of MSMR. The workshop continued with Periodic Overhauling activities of MG Rolling Stock.

On Reorganization of the Railways after Independence, Six Railway Zones were formed in 1951, and the Hubballi workshop was brought under the control of Southern Railways. In 1960-66, New complex with EOT Crane for the repair of Steam Locomotives was installed and a 100T Traverse was installed at a cost of ₹ 1.5 Crores.

Other Important Events in chronological order:

  • Periodic Over Haul (POH) of passenger class YP 4-6-2 and goods class YG 2-8-2 configuration steam locomotives and YD 2-8-2 dual-class steam locomotives used on steep gradients were carried out by Erecting Shop and Boiler shop.
  • In recognition of the commendable work done by the Workshop, the first MG Diesel Locomotive rolled out from Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi in 1961 was aptly named as ‘Hubli‘.
  • Later in 1966, another reorganization of Railways was undertaken and 3 more Zones were carved out of the existing Zones, South Central Railway (SCR) was formed by merging the Hubballi and Vijayawada divisions of Southern Railways.
  • In 1969, the entire Repair works of the Meter Gauge Rolling Stocks of Central Railways portion which was previously done in the Lallaguda Workshop was transferred to Hubballi Workshop.
  • In the same year, the Workshop was adjudged the best Railway workshop in Indian Railways for achieving Productivity Improvement of over 10 percent.
  • As part of the diversification process, The Workshop commenced fabrication of UIC Bogies for BOX Wagons in 1987. However, the UIC Bogie Manufacturing activity was discontinued in 1995 due to phasing out of BOX wagons on Indian Railways.
  • Furthermore, in 1990 the workshop commenced the Manufacture of Fabricated bogies for ICF type coaches.
  • In 1989, under SCR, the second Modernization plan was undertaken at a total cost of about ₹.17 Crores that emphasized on Introduction of new Machinery and Plant along with Material Handling facilities.
  • In 1993, with the end of Steam Traction, the periodic overhaul of MG Locomotives was discontinued. In the following year, Periodic Overhaul of MG Coaches and Wagons was also discontinued due to Gauge Conversion.
  • And finally, with the formation of South Western Railways, the workshop is now part of SWR from 1st April 2003. Hubballi workshop thus forms the backbone of SWR for Maintenance and Repair Activities of Rolling Stock and its components.
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