BAHAWALNAGAR The Bahawalnagar railways station played a key role in development of former Bahawalpur state, especially of Bahawalnagar district which was established in 1952-53, while the rail section set up in 1894 was named as Rojhanwali Railway Station. Later, the station was renamed by Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan as Bahawalnagar Railway Junction in 1901.
But now, it wears a deserted look as no train is running now-a-days. The only train which had been running through these tracks for years from Samma Satta to Amrooka was suspended on July 26, 2011. Moreover railway assets are being stolen and land being grabbed. Beside, most of the Railways quarters and officers accommodation have been occupied by influential persons.
The rail service was originally introduced by the Southern Punjab Railway Company among Delhi, Bhatinda and Samma Satta on 257 kilometres track. The west part of the rail track was laid between Samma Satta and Amrooka section at the Pakistan-India border. It linked Baghdad-ul-Jadeed, Khairpur, Tamewali, Qaimpur, Hasilpur, Chishtian, Bahawalnagar and Mandi Sadiq Gunj railway stations to Ferozpur and Amrooka stations through various lines.
Likewise, the second railway track was laid down between Bhatinda and Hindumal Kot of Indian state. Before partition of the subcontinent, the rail line was of great importance for connecting Delhi and Karachi. It was utilised for transportation of staff and their belongings in 1947 from India to Karachi. State railway lines were named as Darbar Lines and all their expenditures were borne by the respective states. It was running under the control of the Northern Western Railways. The 112 km Darbar line of the then Bahawalpur state was laid down between Bahawalnagar and Fortabbas in 1928.
On the track, new grain markets of Khichiwala, Faqirwali, Haroonabad and Donga Bonga were established. But unfortunately, the rail service on the track had been suspended since long, while a renowned Mandi Dhab Sanateka railway station has been submerged with filthy water. The Bahawalnagar Railways Junction was at its climax in 1935. Then, dozens of rails among Karachi, Delhi and Lahore by Ferozepur, Amrooka, Bahawalnagar to Samma Satta, particularly freight trains from Quetta to Delhi used to run regularly. Hustle and Bustle of passengers on the station round-the-clock was a permanent feature and it was considered one of the important railways junctions of the subcontinent at that time.
In 1938, a power substation was set up which generated DC power with the help of diesel engine, while today, the railway section has been deprived of electricity supply due to non-payment. After the partition, the well-equipped junction continued its reputation as business centre till 1980. It was more important than the town. It was given final shape in 1935 and 1938, when five hundred quarters for staff were constructed including the railway officers accommodations, railway hospital, DC electricity power station, DAK Bungalow, playgrounds, graveyard, dance club, workshop, Railway police. With the completion of the all railway requirements, it turned into a beautiful location.
At its climax, hundreds of workers discharge their duties. A beautiful overhead bridge of the junction was unique for its visitors. Unfortunately, such a glorious railway junction had fallen prey to corruption. Mohammad Rafique, the station master of Bahawalnagar railway station, termed the Railways Ministry a main cause of the downfall of the Railway. Mohammad Yousaf, a retired railway employee and union activist, resented the apathetic attitude of the ministry, saying that after serving for 30 years, the railways employees are in miserable condition.