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The Henry (Hal) V.O. Waters Photo Collection

(All photos by Hal Waters unless accredited otherwise)

Hal Waters was a man who knew how to take well composed photographs, and who in the era of plate glass cameras with slow shutter speeds was able to venture well beyond the confines of the studio. I have nothing but admiration for this photographer who must have had to contend with the extreme range of temperatures and climate found in northern India, together with the bane of photographers – dust…and in the case of India crowds of people who come to stare at the new curiosity. Hal was not a photographer by profession but for ten years worked for the NWR as an Inspector of accounts.

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1.This thoughtful self potrait shows Hal at work, inspecting accounts at Thal.
Hal was a third generation "Brit" in India, born in Simla in 1885 and died in 1966. His grandfather left Ireland in 1831 to join the EIC Artillery in Calcutta. His father was a school headmaster, principally at Rawalpindi Station European School, Hal was educated at his father’s school in Rawalpindi.

Hal joined the NWR as a guard in the Traffic Department under training for Superior Grade , he resigned as he felt obstacles were being put in his way to prevent him from succeeding. He took up the post of Travelling Inspector of Accounts and was thus able to see and photograph much of the NWR system.

Hal’s sercice record shows he worked as Accounts Inspector on the following sections:-

5/3/1907 under training. Rawalpindi to :- Hassan, Abdal.



Wazirabad to:- Jammu Tawi.


1908 Jhelum to:- Gujarkhan.


Lala Musa to Bhera.

1909-1910. Kalka – Simla Railway.

1910-1912 Mianwali. Jhand to:- Leiah.


Out Agency to Miranshah.

Daudkhal to Mari Ghat.

1912 – 1913 Kotri:- Kotri Bridge to Padidan.

Kotri to Dadu (excluding Kotri).

1913 Sukkur:- Sukkur to Rohri.

Rohri to Samasatta.

Khanpur to Chachran..

1914 to 15/2/1917. Saharanpur to :- Meerut City.

Rajpura Jn.

Patiala & Dhablan.

2. Inspector’s trolley turn of the century.

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3. Multan Inspector and gang about to set out 16/12/84. (Photo by Terry Case.)
In 1917 Hal resigned from the NWR to join the Civil Dept.and took up the position of Superintendent, Office IG of Prisons.

In 1950 Hal migrated to New Zealand at the age of 65.

In 1959 Neville Thomas married his daughter Rosemary. Neville & Rosemary have a family history site for the French & Waters family in India at:-


Further photos of NWR locomotives from the album can be found at Neville’s page:_


4. Hal’s NWR map. See the map key where Hal added details showing areas travelled and locations of some of the photos he took.


Photos from Hal's Album

It is not my intention to repeat the photos from Neville’s web site, however I will use a couple and give more details. As a railway enthusiast I think Hal’s photos are priceless, he obviously knew a lot about the railways and photographed methodically what was of interest.

Seeing the scans for the first time was truly exciting, but when I saw some whole pages from the album I began to understand Hal’s true abilities as a photographer who savoured the country and created such stunning images.

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5. P class 2-4-0 no 11, built by Dubbs in 1844. The locomotive was built for the Scinde, Punjab & Delhi Railway that became part of the NWR. These were the express passenger and mail train locos of the day, they were quickly overtaken by the growing weight of trains and replaced by larger 4-4-0 types.
6. Ghazighat 1907. An early photo from Hal’s collection shows the platform scene.

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7.Compare the scene at Ghazighat with one I took of a fruit vendor and pasengers awaiting departure of a train from Sargodha to Lala Musa on 3/1/95. (Photo by Terry Case.)
8. Another early photo shows Hal experimenting in catching a moving image of the Pershwar Mail train seen at Jhelum in 1909. The engine is a 4-4-0 type probably one of the new SPS class designed by the British Engineering Standards Association (BESA), to enable British manufacturesrs to complete large orders of standard classes for the various Indian private railway companies. The classes were highly successful and some of the ex NWR types had long lives finishing as branch passenger engines in Pakistan in the mid 1990s!

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9. Shows an SPS arriving at Sargodha passing the maze of semaphore signals on a train from Lala Musa on 2/1/95. (Photo by Terry Case.)
10. 1908 and the locomotive shed at Wazirababad (on the main line from Lahore to Pershwar). Note the station to the left.

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11. Compare Hal’s photo with the scene I took on  21/12/84; not much had changed! (CD10-68).
12. Hal’s time spent in the Frontier Province gave him the opportunity to photograph the Kohat-Thal light railway. The photo shows one of the original E class locomotives that has been derailed.

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The Kohat-Thal railway was built as a military narrow gauge line in the North West Frontier Province, near Preshwar and the Afghanistan border. The line opened to Kohat in 1902 and extended to Thal in 1903, a total of 91.5 miles. Connection with the main NWR system at Khushalgarth was originally by aerial ropeway across the Indus until this was closed in 1903 after an accident. The line as far as Kohat was converted to broad gauge in 1908 and included a bridge over the Indus.The traffic locomotives were part of a series of 36 supplied by Bagnall for light military railways in India, originally known as class MT but later NWR class E." some were later transferred to the Delhi Durbar Light Railway

The photo shows one of the original E class locomotives that has been derailed. More photos of these engines can be seen at Neville’s site.

Hal’s notes on the railway include:-"the only goods traffic other than military, being Patha palm from which matting and brooms are made. The passenger trains comprise of one 1st & 2nd class carriage & the rest are 3rd class carriages. In these the seats run across the carriage & the sides are open, hessian curtains are provided on the sides of the carriages for use in in-clement weather. The line runs along valleys between high hills, the former are very fertile & watered by numerous streams; the latter are barren & rocky except where covered with shrub or Patha palms. All the railway stations are fortified, excepting Kohat & Kohat City & are manned by a Police Constable armed with a smooth bore "Martini" and from two to six Pathan Chowkidara (watchmen) who are armed with "Brown Besse" rifles, which are loaded once in six months by the Traffic Inspector! These men refer to their rifles as "Sothas" (staves). The men often file down their rifle ramrods to a point so as to use them as bayonets when necessary. Once at Hangu a raider who had got into the station yard was prodded by one of these ramrods whilst trying to scale a wall after looting goods…" Life on the frontier!

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13. This is a scan of a builder’s advertisement showing one of the engines, modified with extended tanks.
14.  Vice Regal Special at Kohat in 1912. Does anyone know what the occasion was, or if it was one of the regular Vice Regal Tours of inspection? The train loco is another of the successful BESA designed engines, a Standard Goods loco (SG), which were often used as passenger engines in hill country.

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15. Some SGS locomotives built at the turn of the century reamined in use till the mid 1990s. This photo shows a SGS at Multan on 16-12-1984 being prepared for a passenger train. Terry Case. (CD 1-27)
16. A page from the album showing scenes around Kotri in 1913.

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The house is "Sandy Hook". Hal wrote about it:- "My first residence in Kotri. A house of 13 rooms in a sandy waste! After my father and brother left for Colacanune, I felt lost in such a huge bungalow so moved to another of half the size, nearer the station but surrounded by burrow-pits."

The photos of the fishing boat and the fishermen show elegant simplicity, which contrast with the unfortunate pile-up of wagons in the staion yard. The railway enthusiast in me exhults at seeing the elegant "Small L class". Not only are such photographs rare, it is the skill in composition that single out Hal's photos. The engine was part of a batch built by Neilson or Dubbs of Glasgow in 1886 and classified as HL. They were initially allocated to work Frontier Division traffic.

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17. Multan Cantonment station in 1913, architecture to the Raj style. This grand station remained well kept when I visited, in 1986, I saw the interior of one of the offices being converted to a mosque.
18. The Punjab Rifles (I.D.F.) Armoured Train Section photographed in 1919 at Moghalpura. There had been quite a bit of correspondence on the India List re Railway regiments, did the Punjab Rifles rate a mention? ***

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|*** Additional notes about the Punjab Rifles: The Punjab Rifles were raised on 1st April 1861 as the First Punjab Volunteer Rifle Corps. On 15th July 1871,they absorbed the Punjab Light Horse Volunteers (raised in 1867). They became the 3rd Punjab Rifles, Indian Defence Force on 1st April 1917, and the Punjab Rifles (AFI) on 1st Oct. 1920. As a badge, they bore the Punjab Coat of Arms with the motto "Crescate Fluviis". By 1936, they comprised Headquarters and two Companies of infantry, and two light mortar platoons and were administered as a part of the Punjab Contingent. (Information Courtesy: William).
Here we leave Hal's album. Please write to Neville or myself should you think that more photos would be of interest.

A reminder that these pages on the NWR are in international effort: my inspiration and prompting came from Hal Hughes who now lives in England. My technical guru and internet doctor is Shankar, an Indian expat now living in Dubai in the UAE. Shankar not only converts my material to Internet pages, he somehow finds space to post them to, whilst maintaining a huge website dedicated to the Indian Railways. Neville lives in New Zealand: he and Rosemary have made available the photos that you have seen. I hope you enjoy their generosity in sharing these.

Do you have a story to tell connected to the NWR?

If you have a tale to tell connected to the NWR, or have some old photographs on hand, (remember the Hals of this world are now very rare, and all the old photographs are now PRECIOUS!), why not share them with us on this page?

I have traveled to Indian and Pakistan many times in the 1980s and 90s, and have a love for the country and its history. I live in Australia, and can be contacted at:- caset@benalla-college.vic.edu.au

I hope our next page will be a celebration of the Kalka Simla Railway, and maybe the narrow gauge lines from Pathankot. We are looking for photos and stories to develop this page.

Terry Case.