By the early 1870s, it was possible to travel from Delhi via Amritsar, Lahore and Multan to Karachi through a combination of passenger trains run by the Delhi Railway, Punjab Railway, and Scinde Railway, and passenger steamships run by the Indus Steam Flotilla. The North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan were considered strategically important regions because of their access to Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, respectively. Accordingly, the Punjab Northern State Railway was created in 1870-71 to construct and operate the railway between Lahore and Peshawar, and the first section of the line was opened in 1876. Efforts to link Quetta in Balochistan by rail began in 1879 and the link was completed in 1887. In all probability, Horsley’s painting depicts soldiers boarding a train to Peshawar, on their way to Afghanistan across the Khyber Pass.