MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the sanction of the Secretary of State in Council has been given to proposals, lately formulated by the Indian Government, whereby the railway on two-feet six-inches gauge, planned to start from Rawal Pindi and to run along the frontier south-westward as far as the border station of Bannu, would be changed over the greater part of the line to a sixty-six-inch gauge, with heavier bridge and other works; and, if so, will he state what is the estimated increased cost that will be incurred if such a change should be made in the plan of this military railway, and what is its total length of mileage.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. BRODRICK, Surrey,) Guildford
The railway referred to by the hon. Member comprises a section from 572 Rawal Pindi to Kushalgarh (seventy-nine and a quarter miles) which has been open since 1881, and was constructed on the broad gauge. The extension of this line across the Indus towards Bannu has beei: carried out as far as Thai on the two-feet six-inches gauge. But the adoption of this gauge for the section from Kushalgarh to Kohat was only a temporary measure, and it was decided last year to convert the line to the broad gauge, and to construct a permanent bridge over the Indus at Kushalgarh in place of the temporary arrangement hitherto provided for crossing the river. The conversion of the Kohat-Thal section has not yet been decided upon. The length of line from Kushalgarh to Kohat, which is to be converted to broad gauge, is 33.1 miles, and the cost of the conversion is estimated at Rs. 1,278,626. The cost of constructing the bridge is estimated at Rs. 1,1 67,191. The length of the two-feet six-inches line from Kohat to Thai is 58.12 miles.