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Railway Building

       Mr. F.S.P. (Sir Fredericklely) one of the tasks set before him was to build a railway line in the state. That undertaking could prosper only if it has blessing of Thakore Saheb of Gondal, in whose territories was situated the nearest railway head Dhoraji.

     Mr. Lely had cause to know that Bhagvatsinhji was anxious to carry railway to his own capital. To arouse the Thakore Saheb’s enthusiasm he bagged him to consider him how Gondal and Porbandar were naturally fitted in many respects to work together. Gondal was an inland state, he pointed out dependent upon the railway communication for the rapid transport of its agricultural surplus. The large and fertile cotton district owns its western side entirely lacked such facilities. Porbandar on another hand was developing port located on east coast of Arabian sea. 

     The Thakore Saheb knew that if he gave his blessing to Mr. Lely’s proposal the Gondal-Jetulsar scheme, upon his own heart had for years been set. His refusal on the other hand, would block, of best for the time being extension of railway in the Peninsula upon which the British were keen. Statesmanship seemed to lie in self abnegation and other much anxious consideration he entered into the partnership with the state. Mr. Lay has claimed Rs. 2,34,491 from the State to concern the Bhadar Bridge. Thakore Saheb refused and asked that ‘merely in return that the bridge to be built in Upleta has been designed to accommodate cart traffic also’. On Dec. 28, 1887 Lord Reay arrived to inaugurate the work. Thakore Saheb welcomed him on station platform. After inauguration a route was decided that the train would have to cross the Barda hills, extending for about 25 miles east and west and 15 miles north and south. A little less than 60 miles in length, he could have passed to Upleta, Kutiana and Ranavav. A somewhat longer route but less costly to built. It was advantageous from the other point of view. 

     1)      There was already direct road from Dhoraji to Porbandar, metalled and bridged throughout the greater part of its length. So that the locality was already supplied with one good means of communication.

     2)      Owing to its natural features, this district was liable to heavy floods which would constantly endanger the safety of the line and in any event would in value a large expenditure upon bridging.

     3)      A chief object of the railway was to serve a great area of Gondal State as possible, which on the direct route only about 14 miles of the line and two stations would be within its limit. On the northern route there would about 30 miles on line and five stations. It was therefore, natured that the Thakore Saheb should insist upon the adoption of this route as an essential condition of his support. Supedi, Upleta, Khakhara Jalia, Bhayavadar and Paneli were the five important station in the Gondal State.

     Circumstances were meanwhile stopping themselves to promote the scheme. The Thakore Saheb had so self sacrificing put a side to spool this project. His highness immediately shows the opportunity for realizing his long cherished ambition to put his capital on railway map. If the line was to be extended as far as Navagadh, why should it not be carried to Gondal? As the plan matured it grew in proportion. It was finally decided to carry the project line from Jetulsar to Rajkot through Gondal.

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Railway Station of Gondal

     A great celebration was held to celebrate this event. Lord Marris Governor of Bombay came to perform this ceremony. In asking the Governor to perform the ceremony, the Thakore Saheb hopes that the new railway would in great measure stimulate inland trade and inland industries, which stood in urgent, need of mutual encouragement. In this event, Thakore Saheb gave a banquet. After the dinner he drove to railway station and left by a special train for Porbandar.



Sir Bhagvatsinhji

The Maker of Modern Gondal



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