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Author Topic: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway  (Read 5019 times)

Offline Silent Invader

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Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« on: August 28, 2016, 04:27:49 PM »
Anybody have any good info or sources on narrow gauge railways in Afghanistan?  :)

There are some references to Decauville 600mm gauge track and there's this fantastic image here of components supposedly being moved through the Bolan Pass* deeper into Afghanistan:



*If I understand it correctly, at that time the Bolan Pass was in Afghanistan but is now in Pakistan

http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/afghanistan/railways/the-great-game/

http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/afghanistan/tag/narrow-gauge/

http://www.andrewgrantham.co.uk/afghanistan/elephants-carrying-locomotives-through-the-bolan-pass/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decauville

Even if it veers from the historical to the maybe/fantasy I might add tiles with some Hornby track and trains to my Afghan boards.  :D
Images from old posts are now at https://www.SilentInvader.uk

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Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 06:54:18 PM »
If I'm honest I'd read the title hoping you did.
But I have to say it's a wonderfully evocative image of the train on the back of an elephant.Its a while since I made any elephants but the ears look more African than Indian ( to me) which makes me wonder if the illustration isn't suffering from artistic license.
I'm not doubting the train was transported on the back of elephants.Just wondering if it wasn't a little less 'train' and a couple more Loads,when it comes to the engine.
But from a gaming point of view it's going to be a conversation piece as it stands.
I hope you do add the element of trains to your boards especially the elephants.As it's just a wonderful idea/ image.(one I'm tempted to make and figure out what to use it for later)

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 07:28:12 PM »
I agree about the artistic license. It surely must have been drawn back in the UK from a description.  lol

I'm sorely tempted to add a track and train. I already have a suitable Hornby engine as base model from a 28mm upscale conversion (Michi is a master of it) that I started a couple of years ago. I doubt I'll be doing elephants though, I just fancy a game of Afghan tribes raiding a train for plunder.  ;)


Offline Will Bailie

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2016, 09:22:08 PM »
Not apropos to this thread, but it reminded me of an Afghan joke:

Man from Pakistan:  Why do you Afghans have a Minister of Railways if you have no railways?
Man from Afghanistan:  Why not?  YOU have a Minister of Justice!

Offline Michi

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 11:37:09 PM »
I googled a bit for Decauville engines and found a very small 3ton type. I am not aware what the payload of an elephant actually is though...


Online OSHIROmodels

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 11:57:32 PM »
Get cracking mate, enquiring minds need to see  :D

cheers

James

Offline Etranger

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2016, 02:30:18 AM »
I googled a bit for Decauville engines and found a very small 3ton type. I am not aware what the payload of an elephant actually is though...



It wouldn't have been transported whole. Probably several loads worth of subassemblies, chassis, boiler, cab and tanks & unlikely to be Elephant borne..
"It's only a flesh wound...."

Offline Michi

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2016, 07:33:25 AM »
It wouldn't have been transported whole. Probably several loads worth of subassemblies, chassis, boiler, cab and tanks & unlikely to be Elephant borne..

Then the drawing seems to be rather close to that: The left elephant obviously carries the chassis while the one on the right has the boiler with tanks and cab loaded on his back. The small 600mm gauge two-axled wagons shouldn´t have been a big burden to haul for an elephant however. The pre-assembled all-iron Decauville track pieces neither (see the man in the background on the left lifting one alone)...

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2016, 07:47:16 AM »
That's a great find Michi.  8)

I struggled with finding more on elephant payloads but did come up with this link which suggests (with Howdah plus humans) more than a ton (Though probably not ultimately in the elephant's best interests).

http://millenniumelephantfoundation.com/projects/howdah-not-to-do-it/

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2016, 08:02:49 AM »
And as soon as I post, I find out more!

Laying of the railway began in 1880 but was suspended after the Battle of Maiwand

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php/Bolan_Pass_Railway_Construction

There's a comprehensive article in Scientific American of 15th August 1885 which is quoted here:

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/antique-machinery-and-history/off-topic-indian-railway-199362/

Note the quote from the article:

Quote
M. Decauville had the locomotive made in two parts, the larger of which weighed on 3,978 pounds, the greatest weight that an elephant can carry."


Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2016, 08:16:35 AM »
Btw, this illustration from The Graphic of 2nd October 1880, shows different methods used by the British to transport supplies in Afghanistan (note train in background):



Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2016, 09:37:25 AM »
I must confess I went looking for maximum weight loads for elephants.After Michi posted the engine picks last night( spot on by the way)and completely forgot to put my two pence worth.
Modern weight loads are quoted as being roughly 3/5 of ton so give or take 1200lbs.(which is a lot more than the majority of modern humane society's quote).

So SI's quote find .would be roughly 1 3/4 tons.It would be a brutality crippling load of almost its own body weight again on its back.If you remove the modern concept of the humane treatment of animals.Then its beginning to look very likely that the original illustration is an attempt to convey all aspects of transporting the railway without the need of a written description.Rather than a fictional illustration
Its likely to be a miserably hard existence for your elephants ,lugging it around be it in two parts or ten.As heartless as it sounds it's still a going to be a great looking model.(so tempted)
Mark.

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2016, 09:55:42 AM »
It's certainly a fascinating subject matter.

The Bolan Pass was subject to flash floods as depicted here



IIRC attempts to lay track in the lower levels of the pass resulted in it being washed away.

I guess that using a couple of elephants to do the worst of the heavy lift to the other side seemed entirely logical against the animal welfare standards of the time.  :'(

Btw, the Practical Machinist thread says the prefabricated track sections weighed 200lbs each. The elephants seem to be carrying 6 each so 1200lbs, a comparatively light load compared ( :o ) to the two lumbered with the engine.

Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2016, 05:21:08 PM »
It's interesting to note how implausible things seem when you've grown up in a culture that has a health and safety executive.
I am sorely tempted to build one.So with that in mind I'm going to ask some lazy questions(just to get a quick idea of its usefulness) How long was this type of engine used for(as id have to use it for multiple periods to Justify the effort)for 600mm would it be visually better to use HO or N gauge rails(not bothered about the sleepers as they'd need reworking either way.)if HO then I could probably reuse the ww1 light railway track I've on a back burner.
The trouble is all this images are evocate and run the risk of totally sidetracking into making camels and the like.
That's the trouble with this forum. Just when you think you've got to grips with your back logged projects.
Someone posts a thread like this.,😁

Offline Silent Invader

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Re: Late 19thC Afghanistan Narrow Guage Railway
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2016, 07:27:01 PM »
Mark

From the Wikipedia link in the first post

Quote
The French military became interested in the Decauville system as early as 1888 and chose the 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge track to equip its strongholds and to carry artillery pieces and ammunition during military campaigns. Decauville track was used during the French military expeditions to Madagascar and Morocco.

The Maginot line was built with both external and internal 600mm railways, the former served by combustion engines pulling supply trains from 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge marshalling yards[2] behind the front, and the latter, served by eletric locomotives taking over the loaded wagons inside the fortifications. Tracks inside the fortresses went from the munitions entries in the rear all the way up to the fighting blocks, where ammunition loads were transfered to forward magazines using overhead monorails.

Similar feldbahn equipment was used in German South-West Africa where Otavi Minen- und Eisenbahn-Gesellschaft built the 600 mm (1 ft 11 5⁄8 in) gauge Otavibahn.[3]

By the First World War, the Decauville system had become a military standard and the French and British eventually built thousands of miles of trench railways track. The Germans had a similar system, with normalized engines

So basically, the world is your oyster  ;) :D

No idea as yet on which track size to use..... but......

600mm at 1/56 is 10.7mm [versus the 16.5mm gauge of Hornby track (or 1/36) and the 9mm of British N gauge (or 1/66)]

..... my inclination is towards the larger Hornby, as the minis will be based and the track/engine/stock wont.  :)



 

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