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Frontier Model School, Warsak Road, Peshawar

A railway guard poses next to a rail engine. The steam hauled train, operating since 1925 on this route, makes an exciting journey passing through several tunnels and tortuous bends in the steep mountains to make its way up the world famous Khyber Pass.It was recently featured on a TV series for BBC by presenter Michael Palin

The Khyber Railway is the last great railway construction undertaken in the Frontier during the British Raj, and the first train was driven by a lady Mrs Victor Belay on November 4, 1925.

The first reference to a proposal to build a railway to Afghanistan appeared during the second Afghan War in 1879, when Sir Guilford Moleswoth examined the possibility of running a metre-gauge line through the Khyber. history states that after experiencing logistic difficulties during the first and second Afghan wars, the British Indian government felt a need for laying "railway track in the Khyber Agency" according to a plan prepared by a British Engineer, Victor Belay in 1880.

In 1901, the North Western Railway was extended to Jamrud, the entrance to the Khyber Pass and in 1905, a start was made with the construction of a railway running up the Kabul river gorge and then turning west up the Loi Shilman valley. But an alliance between Afghanistan and Russia slowed down the work, and in 1909, 20 miles of permanent way and bridges were reversed and the whole scheme was abandoned. the construction of Khyber Railway began in 1920 and the section from Jamrud to Landi Kotal was opened on November 4, 1925, and down to Landi Khana, just eight kilometres short of the actual Afghan frontier post.

“According to some accounts, Peshawar is more than 2,000 years old and is arguably Pakistan’s oldest city. The Kushan kings of Gandhara civilization reportedly founded the city. Peshawar derives its name from a Sanskrit language word, Pushpapura, meaning the city of flowers. The Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs (1508), Baburnama, mentioned old Peshawar in these words: “There were flowers all of the sides…as far as the eye reached, flowers were in bloom.” Babur’s grandson Akbar the Great referred to the city as the “The Place at the Frontier.” “Peshawar flourished as an important destination on the fabled Silk Route. Its location at the crossroads of civilizations and near the famous Khyber Pass made it an entry point of invaders, adventurers and traders coming from Central Asia and travelling toward ancient India. The Grand Trunk Road built by the Pashtun King, Sher Shah Suri, to link Delhi with his native Peshawar and Kabul made our great city the centre of

“Since Pakistan’s creation in 1947, Peshawar has been the capital of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan. The Afghan border is only 50 kilometres to the west of Peshawar. The city’s population was 2.242 million according to the 1998 census. It excludes the Afghan refugees, whose registered population is around 0.4 million. In addition, there are half a million unregistered Afghan refugees living in Peshawar city and its surroundings. Peshawar city is spread over an area of 1,257 square kilometers.

 

View shows the famous Ishpola stupa as seen from the Khyber Steam Rail that runs up the legendary Khyber Pass on the outskirts of Peshawar, on the border with Afghanistan.

“According to some accounts, Peshawar is more than 2,000 years old and is arguably Pakistan’s oldest city. The Kushan kings of the Buddhist Gandhara civilization reportedly founded the city. Peshawar derives its name from a Sanskrit language word, Pushpapura, meaning the city of flowers. The Mughal Emperor Babur in his memoirs (1508), Baburnama, mentioned old Peshawar in these words: “There were flowers all of the sides…as far as the eye reached, flowers were in bloom.” Babur’s grandson Akbar the Great referred to the city as the “The Place at the Frontier.” “Peshawar flourished as an important destination on the fabled Silk Route. Its location at the crossroads of civilizations and near the famous Khyber Pass made it an entry point of invaders, adventurers and traders coming from Central Asia and travelling toward ancient India. The Grand Trunk Road built by the Pashtun King, Sher Shah Suri, to link Delhi with his native Peshawar and Kabul made our great city the centre of trade and commerce.

 

“Since Pakistan’s creation in 1947, Peshawar has been the capital of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) bordering Afghanistan. The Afghan border is only 50 kilometres to the west of Peshawar. The city’s population was 2.242 million according to the 1998 census. It excludes the Afghan refugees, whose registered population is around 0.4 million. In addition, there are half a million unregistered Afghan refugees living in Peshawar city and its surroundings. Peshawar city is spread over an area of 1,257 square kilometers.

 

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