Exodus Truck - Stella in the Taurus Mountains Turkey in 1986 - photo by Paul King
Taken on an Exodus trip in 1986 outside the Shah Abbassi Hotel in Esphahan Iran - photo by Paul King

The Hetauda - Kathmandu Ropeway
Most overlanders would never have seen the Kathmandu Ropeway, it was visible coming up the Tribuvan Rajpath from Raxual. It ran from Hetauda about 50 kms from Raxual to just outside Kathmandu. Built by the Americans in 1956, it was the most advanced project in Nepal to date. Designed to take goods to and from India, it could move freight at a much lower cost than trucks plying the Rajpath. It should have had a great future but as with many third world projects, it was doomed to failure.

In terms of foreign currency, the country could save more than Rs.175, 000 required to import oil each day. At the same time, Nepal Electricity Authority could have generated additional revenue from a robust client. Whatever benefits the ropeway may have offered to the country, the infrastructure (worth billions of rupees) is waiting to be dismantled and sold for scrap value. The longer it remains idle, the sooner the equipment would deteriorate.

Had the ropeway continued to operate, the country would have saved millions of dollars in precious foreign currency. According to an estimate, every hour, ropeway carriers can transport goods equivalent to two truckloads. As a truck needs about 250 litres of diesel to fetch the goods up from India, upward of 5,000 liters of diesel can be saved in operating the ropeway for 12 hours. Since the transport cost of the ropeway is cheaper than trucks, the essential commodities would also be available for cheaper prices.

Despite its importance in transporting goods in a cheap and cost-effective manner, Nepal Ropeway is now just a part of the history of Nepal's development process. Constructed with the financial and technical support of the United States of America, amid great promise, Nepal's first modern ropeway was shut down a few years ago after a three-decade struggle for survival. Unlike many other government undertakings, few noticed the discontinuation of the ropeway. Fewer still remember that the phase of modernization in Nepal came through the ropeway technology. In other mountainous countries, the ropeway is an enduring success story. Nobody knows precisely how the saga of Nepal Ropeway went sour.

Check out this YouTube video on the Ropeway, its in Nepali but you get the point.

Ropeway hauling goods to Kathmandu

Drive station on the Ropeway

Many Nepali villages rely on their Ropeway

One in three people in the country live on just £1 per day, surviving by growing and selling food. Transporting crops to market or buying from traders often involved long and dangerous journeys and, in bad weather conditions, proved impossible. This meant that villages saw an increase in the price of food and other goods. Even items such as soap were becoming scarce and expensive.

Wire Bridges (Tuin) are an indigenous technology and one of the most common structures for river crossing in the hilly region of rural Nepal. There are more than 6000 rivers in Nepal and most of the rivers have no means of crossing. Because of that, many people have lost their life during monsoon (attempting to cross). There are more than 15 tuin in operation along the Trisuli river alone. On average nearly 50 households are using each tuin, which amounts to more than 300 people using each tuin. A journey to get their goods to market could involve hours of travel up and down steep valleys but the tuin can move the goods in an hour or less.

Tuin is the main means of river crossing in Nepal

It is difficult for homes in rural areas to link up to established roads - building new roads would be very expensive and often conditions mean many roads would not last more than one season. The simple micro-hydro-electric aerial rope system has changed life for the people of Nepal. Not only has money been saved, but much less time is spent on transporting goods which gives people more time to spend on vital education. For more info use this LINK


Pamukkale - Turkey

A sight not to be missed.
There is a link to a great Power Point Show below. 3 people sent this to me, so not sure who found it, but it is worth a look. Once it opens just click anywhere on the screen to move though the images.

Pamukkale Slide Show

If you don't have a Power Point viewer installed on your computer you can download one from Microsoft HERE, it will come in handy as there a lots of this type of file about.


Mail Bag
Hi Derek,
I was an overland driver in the mid 80s and I'm still married to one of my passengers. If I find any more of my old photos I will send them. Perhaps you could start a section on your site for overland pics.
The pic I have attached is of me cooking the xmas day meal in the gardens of Queen Victoria's cottage just outside the walls of Jaipur.

-- 
Paul King

Ashley Butterfield - Asian Rover and the Overland
Hello Derek,
 
I lay claim to have taken more 'overland to India' tours that anyone else -and I don't get a mention on your websight.
 
After driving a minibus twice to Pakistan in 1965 for a 'crook' called Hickey of Fulham, my brother and I decided that using public transport was the only way to run tours, we did a test run then in 1967 started out business with a times advt that brought us 12 passengers. Using public transport,  trains through europe to Istanbul, then a series of locally hired or public buses from 15 different companies as far as Landi Kotal then   on the roof of an Afrida bus down the Khyber to Peshawer, on by train to Lahore then Delhi. The great advantage was that we could guarantee our arrival  time, we could take any number of passengers( we once took 60) and when the vehicle broke down or punctured we just had to drink tea while someone else got underneath and fixed it, in the event it couldn't be mended we just hire transpot to our next town where we had a different vehicle booked.
 
Exodus and  Explore were agents for us and Trailfinders never ran their own  overland tours but used ourselves, when the business got too big for us to handle we started 'Asian Rover' in conjunction with Trailfinders here people bought a book of 15 coupons which together with our guide book enabled them to travel to India on their own but have transport paid forin advance(this only worked because we  paid up all the transport companies during our tours.). Over 1400 of these  coupon books were sold until the 'Shah' was deposed then the Russian invasion of Afghanistan  put an end to this way of travel. I had taken some 65 overland tours in 14 years flying back after each trip with sometimes only 5 days break between trips.
 
In 1977 we  started the first railway tour of India using our own carriage with dorms kitchen, dining room etc and for 13 years took upto 24 passengers round India on 3/5 week tours.
 
I have got some suprising facts regarding costs, which I can now reveal, such as how we took people from London to Istanbul by rail on student group tickets that cost us £18 per head and that in the early days we could get a passenger from Istanbul to Delhi for £10. Passengers paid for their hotel costs which averaged about £15 for the 28 day trip(they were travelling 5 nights on buses and trains.)
 
The last 'bogie' tour of India ended  in  March 2000. In October that year we had a reunion in Itarsi (the very center of India)where over 90 ex=passengers turned up and we took them on a 10 day mystery tour in a hired railway coach.
 
That might have been the end of the story but at the reunion passengers donated money to help us build a  shelter  for platform children, my wife and I registered  a charity in UK(www.itarsi2000.org) and now spend about 5 months each year  in India keeping an eye on various project we have an interest in there.
 
I'm sure all of us who ran overland tours in the 70s and 80s have great memories and perhaps we could not  now do these adventures in the way we did then due to all the regulations and  the 'sue them' culture.
 
 
Regards Ashley Butterfield 

Off Traveling
Cindy and I are are off traveling mid October and should be back mid November. This trip is to Malaysia, visiting Melaka, Penang & the Island of Langkawi, then over to Phuket to see how our house is coming along. By the look of the latest photo's it will not be long before it is ready. I will get out another Newsletter before Xmas so till then keep those emails coming.

Overland DVD's
There is now a YouTube clip for each of the DVD's available on this site, plus a collection of YouTube video's that you may find interesting. You can also now use Visa & Master Card via PayPal to purchase them.

To help premote the India Overland website would you please Recommend us to a Friend. Just use this link to spread the word.
If you have any stories or pictures related to the Overland I would love to get a copy. Lists of passengers or just the ones you can remember would be a great addition to this project. To view back issues of this newsletter use this LINK. You can post anything to the Forum if you prefer, all info would be greatly received.

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This newsletter is produced by Derek Amey - Gold Coast Australia.

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