Tezpur-Balipara Light Tramway 4-4-0 Locomotives in India

Class Details by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media

Class unknown (Locobase 20836)

Data from "Four-Coupled Passenger Locomotive for the Tezpur-Balipura [sic]Tramway Co. of Assam", Locomotive Magazine, Volume XXVII [27] (15 February 1921), pp. 26. See also Mohan Bhuyan, "The Tezpur Balipara Light Railway" (2011), archived on the Indian Railways Fan Club (IRFCA) website at [], last accessed 2 February 2021.

Tezpur in Assam is the river town on the Brahmaputra River at the point where the Kameng empties into it. Bhuyan rhetorically asked what "drove the tea companies to invest these large sums in an isolated railway in the middle of nowhere?". Simply that many of Assam's "tea gardens" (plantations) "were more or less strewn along a single rough road" on which bullock carts moved the tea south to Tezpur.

He concedes that despite the considerable inconvenience, tea companies "weren't exactly thrilled" at having to fund a railway. So they asked for and mostly obtained concessions that include laying the line on the government road, using free timbers from government forests for the sleepers and a "princely sum" in subsidies from the Tezpur Local Board.

Curiously enough, once construction began, the builders made wise choices including the "far-sighted" decision to operate on the 2' ft 6" (762 mm) gauge. In addition to promoting change in name to TB Light Railway, the selection "ensured that it remained a profitable enterprise throughout its entire life." It was truly rural line using 30 lb/yard (15 kg/metre) rails, wooden bridges, and only selective fencing. The first 16 miles (25.7 km) opened "in time for the 1895 plucking season" with the rest of the road to Balipara opening in October.

"TBLR was a roaring success from the very beginning," wrote Bhuyan. Even though maximum train speed was 15 mph (24 kph), service was far more reliable than earlier means. "[I]t it held its own for nearly 60 years, right until 1952 when it was taken over by Indian Railways and merged into the North Eastern Zone and converted to metre gauge."

Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Middle Run Media

Locobase ID20836
RailroadTezpur-Balipara Light Tramway
Number in Class3
Road Numbers
Number Built3
BuilderWG Bagnall
Valve GearWalschaert
Locomotive Length and Weight
Driver Wheelbase (ft / m) 6.25 / 1.90
Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)15.58 / 4.75
Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheelbase 0.40
Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)28.50 / 8.69
Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)
Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)
Engine Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)
Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)
Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)960 / 3.64
Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / Liters/MT)
Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)
Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort
Driver Diameter (in / mm)39 / 991
Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)175 / 12.10
High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)11" x 15" / 279x381
Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)6923 / 3140.22
Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)
Heating Ability
Tubes (number - dia) (in / mm)101 - 1.75" / 44
Flues (number - dia) (in / mm)
Flue/Tube length (ft / m) 7.50 / 2.29
Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)52.87 / 4.91
Grate Area (sq ft / m2) 7.45 / 0.69
Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)399 / 37.07
Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)
Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)399 / 37.07
Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume241.84
Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)
Robert LeMassena's Power Computation1304
Same as above plus superheater percentage1304
Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area9252
Power L14573
Power MT

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