He was way ahead of his time

 The seventh Nizam Mir Usman Ali Khan might be stingy, but in the new inflation-adjusted list of the world’s richest people of all time, he is ranked sixth richest with 236 billion dollars. Osman Ali Khan died in 1967 at the age of 80.

He was the architect of many landmarks that still adorn the land of Deccan. Such was the vision of the last Nizam; the Secunderabad and Kacheguda railway stations built by him could still accommodate thousands of passengers. The Nizam thus laid the railway lines that criss-cross the Deccan and link the east coast of Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad.

The railway line which is now under the South Central Railway headquartered at Secunderabad was actually called Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway (NGSR), a Railway Company in India (1879 to 1950), and was owned by the
Dominion of Nizam. The Nizam shocked the British by not only laying the lines but also successfully operating several trains.

The Railway was actually owned by a private company under the guarantee from the Hyderabad State. Initially, the company owned a metre-gauge line built from resources raised by the issue of redeemable mortgage debentures.

“This is the first-ever model under public-private partnership that was built with the monies raised from the public in those days,” said Vedkumar, a historian.

The Nizam Railway, which was built by Osman Ali’s ancestors in 1879, ran trains from Wadi on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, to the east to Warangal and then south-east towards Bezwada on the East Coast section of the Madras Railway.

The total length of the main line was 310 miles. It also ran into two branches from Husain Sagar (Now called Tank Bund) to Hyderabad and from Dornakal to the Singareni coalfields.

On the other hand, Nizam also linked his princely state up north through
Hyderabad-Godavari Valley Railways that took trains from Hyderabad city to Manmad on the north-eastern section of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway on broad gauge, built before 1891. A 391-mile narrow gauge line was opened between 1899 and 1901.

Nizam built the great railway line with a total capital expenditure of Hyderabad Rupees (HRs) 4.3 crore by the end of 1904. Such was the popularity for the railway line that it registered net earnings of HRs 28 lakh.

The Hyderabad-Godavari Valley Railways has cost HRs 2.6 crore, and earned HRs 7.7 lakh net in the same year.

Even as the present day Multi Mode Transportation Service (MMTS), which is supposed to provide bus linkage to MMTS trains, was unable to take off, the Nizam has done that some hundred years ago. The Nizams Railway was divided into various sub-rail divisions owned by NGSR.

The profits of these rail lines were enjoyed by it.Bus services began in 1932 under the NGSR administration. In all, 27 buses provided services to an extent of 450 km.  Within a decade, this was extended to nearly 500 vehicles, providing services to 7,200 km.

The decision to build Secunderabad railway station was taken in 1870 in an
effort to link Nizam's province with rest of the Indian peninsula. In the same year, Nizam’s Railway was formed as a private company and construction of the Secunderabad-Wadi line was launched. The railway line was to connect Nizam’s Railway to Peninsular Railway’s (the railway company owned by the British India) main line at Wadi Junction.

Within four years, the Secunderabad-Wadi Line was finished along with the
Secunderabad Railway Station on October 9, 1874. The main portico of the station was influenced by Asaf Jahi architecture and the entire building resembles a fort and is one of the tourist attractions in the twin cities.

In 1916 Kacheguda Railway Station was constructed as the headquarters of Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway and also to regulate the traffic at Secunderabad station. Diesel rail cars were tried in place of coal-based locomotives for the first time in Hyderabad Station 1939.

Kacheguda station is endowed with central and side domes and accompanying minarets remind us of Gothic style of architecture. Now, it is the headquarter station of the Hyderabad Division of South Central Railway.

The Kacheguda Railway Station also connects Hyderabad City with MMTS Rail Transit, connecting commercial areas such as Kacheguda, Barkatpura, Chaderghat, Narayanguda, Kothi and Abids.

Atraf-i-Balda District, which does not exist, had six stations with a total length of 98 miles. Nizamabad District had 10 stations covering 80 miles, Medak Distr­ict covered 22 miles, Mahbubnagar distr­ict had one station, and Nalgonda had five stations, Warangal district had railway lines covering a distance of 146 miles, with 17 stations within the district, besi­des the mineral line, 16 miles long, from Dornakal to Yellandlapad, covering a total of 162 miles. Aurangabad District had 11 railway stations; Parbhani district had nine stations within its limits, Nanded district had six stations, Gulbarga district had a length of 50 miles and Raichur district had eight stations.

However, the Nizam somehow left the Karimnagar, Adilabad, Bhir and Bidar districts, which were connected to the rest of the nation only after 1909.

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