Constructed in 1880, the Attock Khurd Railway Station has a rich history and beautiful architecture. It is located on the bank of the Indus River and the Victorian structure made of stone masonry is surrounded by the Manglot Mountain Range.
It is located near the old iron girder bridge built in 1883, which connects Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Punjab.
This bridge is one of the most important strategic and commercial crosses on the Indus between Punjab and KP. It was originally designed by Sir Guildford Molesworth and was opened to traffic on May 24, 1883. It cost more than Rs3.2 million to construct.
The structure was redesigned by Sir Francis Callaghan and was reconstructed in 1929 at the cost of Rs2.5 million. The bridge has two levels and five spans. Three spans are 257 feet long and two are 312 feet.
The upper level is used for railway traffic and the lower was used for road traffic till a new bridge was made on G.T. Road a few kilometres from the old one.
The grand Attock Fort, built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1581, is also close by.
“The trains which come to the station, with the sound of it echoing around the mountains and the scenic natural beauty around, must seem like a time machine to the Victorian era to passengers as they pull into the station,” said Kaleemullah Khan, a frequent passenger.
An employee of the Pakistan Railways’ Peshawar section, Shahzad Ahmed, said the Attock Khurd resort was originally established as a fishing resort and hunting grounds of black partridge and wild fox.
He said only a few trains stop at the station even though it is located on the main Peshawar-Karachi line.
Station Master Allauddin told Dawn the fewer trains are due to the fact that few passengers use the station.
He said the station is looked after by four employees who work in shifts and that the main access to the station is via G.T. Road, which is located at a distance of six kilometres.
Divisional Transportation Officer Anwar Saadat Marwat said that the railway authorities had taken various initiatives in collaboration with the tourism department for the promotion of tourism such as a steam train safari. He added that the tourism department has financially supported a lot of preservation and restoration work on the historical railway station.
He added that the railways is planning on improving facilities for passengers such as more seating in the main hall and converting the station into a small museum on the lines of the Golra Railway Station.
Three narrow gauge antique coaches will be installed as well which will be converted into dining coaches for tourists.
A chartered train service will also be introduced which can be used for holding weddings and other events in, he said.
Mr Marwat added there are no plans yet for a rest house and that if a private company took the initiative, the railways can look into possible collaboration.
Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2018