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by: TERRY CASE

 

<= HOME <= CARMAN HUGHES LOUIS HUGHES HAL WATERS =>
       

 

Louis Phiillip Hughes.

Born 26/6/1895 at Shaharanpur. Louis was educated at St. Georges College, Mussoorie, UP. He started his working life as an engineering apprentice in the Moghalpura Locomotive Works (Lahore) where his father was the General Foreman. After Louis finished his time as an apprentice, he gave up engineering and transferred to the Kalka Simla Railway to work as a railcar driver.

Kalka – Simla Railway:

This famous narrow gauge line was built by the Delhi-Umballa Kalka Railway company. Work commenced in 1899. The line was to connect the British hill station and summer capital of Simla with the plains below. The line was transferred to the ownership of the NWR on 1 January, 1907.

The NWR was a pioneer of petrol and diesel traction and commenced regular railcar services on the line in May 1911. The original idea had been to use railcars to speed up the journey for first class passengers and the mail service.

Hal's father was to become a Rail Motor driver, and the picture below shows him driving RM no. 3. This was one of the first three railcars built for the line by LLoyd and Plaister in England. RM 2 and 3 were able to carry 10 passengers. Both these cars, along with RM 1 were rebuilt in 1914-1915 with larger engines. When further railcars were introduced after WW I, the earlier cars had their seating reduced to enable them to carry a greater quantity of mail.

click on images to enlarge

 

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Hal's father was to become a Rail Motor driver, and this picture below shows him driving RM no. 3.
In 1921, the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII) came to India. Louis Hughes was the driver of the railmotor that took the Prince to Simla. He was presented by the Prince with a pair of cuff links made of Welsh gold, with the Welsh Plumes embossed on them.
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Louis Hughes married Beryl Alice Tondorf on 18/12/1919. They had met at Umballa (Ambala) where Beryl's father was the Head Permanent Way Inspector based on the East Indian Railway. (EIR). Beryl's father had come to Indian from Germany with his brother. They were employed by the West End Watch Company to install clocks on the various Indian Railways. Hal's grandfather later took a job on the EIR at Umballa, where NWR locomotives exchanged their trains with their EIR counterparts. The shed at Umballa was the sole preserve of EIR engines.

Hal's two elder brothers were born in Lahore and New Delhi respectively. By this time, Louis was ready to change his career, as a Railmotor driver's pay was not sufficient to keep a family on. He transferred to working on steam locomotives, and started off as a Grade IV fireman. He was promoted through the ranks quickly, as his seniority was high, plus his experience as a Rail Motor driver put him in good standing. Louis and his family moved down to Shaharanpur, where Hal's eldest sister was born in 1926.

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Pat, Joyce and Hal Hughes taken outside 108 Loco Quarters Saharanpur 1941.
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Shaharanpur station in the early 20th Century. (circa 1907, to be more specific.). (Pic: H.V.O. Walter's Collection.)

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The family moved to a number of railway towns, as and when Louis was transferred. These included Kalka, Bhatinda, Sibi, Charman, Much, Quetta and Umballa. Quetta was a posting in 1926, and after moving elsewhere, the family again settled in Quetta for a six year spell in 1930. Patricia was born in Quetta on 13 March, 1932. They moved back to Shaharanpur in 1936, where Hal was born in 1938.
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Pat aged 4, outside the Hughes Rly Quarter Kalka.
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An XC class 4-6-2 engine of the NWR hauls the Frontier Mail on a stone viaduct at the Dara Pass, en-route to the North West frontier.

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By the time Louis returned to Shaharanpur, he was a very senior driver on the NWR, driving on the 1 up/2 dn Frontier Mail and 5 up/6 dn Howrah Express. When he was on the Frontier Mail, he drove the largest passenger engine class, the XC. (see picture above). The crew started a trip by taking out the 1 up Frontier Mail from Shaharanpur right through to Lahore, where they would rest for the day. They would return the next night with the 6 dn Howrah Express, taking it all the way down till Ludhiana. The crew would rest at Ludhiana, and take the 2 dn. Frontier Mail all the way down to Delhi the following night. A day was then spent in Delhi, before working a final night shift, returning with the 1 up Frontier Mail all the way back to Shahranpur.

Having finished the cycle, the crew would take a break of two days before starting out again, but this time with the 5 up Howrah Express. They would work the train to Lahore, spend the day there, and that evening, take it all the way down to Ludhiana. The next night would see them heading back to Shaharanpur with the 6 dn. Howrah Express, spending the next day there, before heading out to Lahore once again with the 1 dn Frontier Mail. And so the cycle went.

Hal found these details of his father's work when he came across some papers his father had written along with some senior drivers of that time. They had written in their new link after negiotiations with the Loco Foreman. Hal is sure that the senior drivers picked the best links with the most overtime and the best mileage pay.

The shed at Shaharanpur hosted locomotives that were kept clean and gleaming. Even the freight engines were spotlessly clean, and the maintenance was very good. Every express and mail engine had her footplate cleaned by the fireman himself. All the copper pipes and brass fittings were polished with 'Brasso'.  Many drivers had their own brass decorations for the footplate and the smokebox door.

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An EM class 4-4-2 Atlantic after she was rebuilt. (Photo by  Hal Hughes.)
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In 1941, Hal's father took charge of EM engine no. 919. At that time, quite a lot of railway staff had joined the British and Indian Armies and had gone off to war, resulting in crew shortages. On the rest days, Louis and other drivers would be called out to work troop trains. When EM 919 developed problems with her main frame, Louis took over EM 922, which he had for about a year, before he took over EM 932, which was to become his last engine.

Pat outside 108 Loco Qrts with her bike 1944.

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In 1941, Hal's father took charge of EM engine no. 919. At that time, quite a lot of railway staff had joined the British and Indian Armies and had gone off to war, resulting in crew shortages. On the rest days, Louis and other drivers would be called out to work troop trains. When EM 919 developed problems with her main frame, Louis took over EM 922, which he had for about a year, before he took over EM 932, which was to become his last engine.

Louis Hughes died in 1946 at the age of 51, after a very brief illness, and was buried in the cemetry at Shaharanpur.

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Grave of Louis Hughes in the Sahranpur graveyard.
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Hal Hughes and the NWR:

After Hal's father died, the family had to move out from the railway bungalow. Hal's mother took Hal and his sisters to live at Khan Alampura, which was about five miles from Shaharanpur. They stayed there till the family left India in 1948 to live in England. However, they found it difficult to settle there, and returned to India in 1950.

After finishing school, Hal was to take up employment at his father's old depot at Shaharanpur, to work as a fireman on express and mail trains, at times working on the old NWR EM Atlantics, which his father had driven earlier.

The Saharanpur Hughes Family taken outside 108 Loco Quarters in 1944 Standing Joyce Hughes Neville Hughes in Royal Air Force Uniform and Patricia Hughes.
Sitting Beryl Hughes with Hal on her lap and Louis Hughes.
(Albert Hughes in England doing duty in Royal Air Force at R.A.F. Langham Norfolk).

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Times had changed though, and the good old days faded as the new India struggled. In the early 1960s, Hal, feeling excluded from the new India, returned to England once again.

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WG 10334 on shed at Sharanpur on 31-12-1993. Shaharanpur was one of the last depots to still use steam, which ceased working from here as recently as 1994. (Photo by  Terry Case.)
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Do you have a story to tell about your family which was connected to the NWR?

It could be childhood memories of a trip on the narrow gauge line to Simla, or stories handed down concerning railway life on the NWR. If so, then please email me on: caset@benalla-college.vic.edu.au

 

Did members of your family work for the NWR?

Following correspondence in relation to our first page, we are considering setting up a roll of names and duties of those who served, together with an email address to contact, for the benefit of visitors to this site. If you are interested in adding to such a list, please contact me on caset@benalla-college.vic.edu.au

We shall add your page to this site when we are updating it next.

Best regards.

Terry Case

 

TO BE EXPANDED AS AND WHEN MATERIAL BECOMES AVAILABLE

 

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