A. B. Walawalkar,
Father of the Konkan Railway Project
Born on December 27,1897, and hailing from village Walawal in Kudal Tahsil of Sindhudurg District in Maharashtra , Shri Arjun Balwant Walawalkar joined Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (presently Western Railway) in its Drawing Department in 1922. He was the visionary who dreamt and conceived Konkan Railway Project and his detailed proposal was ready as far back as 1952 when he published a booklet entitled 'Konkan Railway Project'. While formulating the scheme, Shri Walawalkar undertook intensive and extensive tours in the Konkan Region and worked ceaselessly and tirelessly in propagating the scheme and enlisting popular support for it.
He wrote a number of articles in the newspapers, organised conferences, seminars and exhibitions, called on the successive Railway Ministers and Chief Ministers of the concerned States. Even public ridicules and criticisms did not deter him from his dream project.
On December 23,1970, Shri Walawalkar breathed his last but not before bringing his dream project within the realm of realization. Now his dream has come true as a broad gauge superfast link between Mumbai and Mangalore- Konkan Railway is the biggest new railway line construction undertaken on the Indian sub-continent in the present century.
This 760km-long broad gauge line passes through the most difficult terrains and involves 180 major bridges, over 1600 minor bridges and tunneling for a total length of 84 kms. The project took a little over seven years and was commissioned on January 26, 1998. The Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications, released a commemorative postage stamp in honour of late Shri Arjun Balwant Walawalkar, who has been described as 'Father of the Konkan Railway Project'.