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British Industrial History

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Indus Flotilla Co

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The Indus Flotilla Co was a steamship company established in 1859 in British India to provide the navigation of the Indus, &c, by means of steam ships, between Kotree and Mooltan, to be worked in connection with the railways. It worked the Indus River from Karachi Port in the south to Makhad in the north, via Jhirk (Jerruck) and Mithankot. The journey between Karachi and Multan (Mooltan) alone used to take up to 40 days. The northern portion of the line was often referred to as the Punjab flotilla.

The company had its headquarters at Kotri. Its promoters negotiated the same guaranteed rate of return as the original guaranteed railways.

1855 The Scinde Railway was formed.

In 1856 the charter of the Scinde Railway was expanded to include the construction of the Punjab Railway to connect Mooltan to Lahore and Amritsar.

1861 The company succeeded in connecting Karachi to Kotri, a distance of 108 miles. Once this railway was in place, the steamers of the Indus Flotilla could take cargo from Kotri instead of Karachi, saving themselves about 150 miles of circuitous wending through the Indus River delta. The railway, however, bypassed Jhirk/Jherruk completely, reducing its importance.

In 1863 the Scinde Railway's charter was further amended to permit the construction of a line from Amritsar to Delhi. The distance from Mooltan to Delhi was about 490 miles.

1869 The Scinde Railway, the Indus Flotilla Co, the Punjab Railway and the Delhi Railway, were amalgamated into the Scinde, Punjab and Delhi Railway

The Secretary of State for India purchased the SPDR in 1885, and in January, 1886, it was named North Western State Railway, which was later on renamed as North Western Railway.

In 1961, the Pakistani portion of the North Western Railway was renamed Pakistan Railways.

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