History of Indian Railways
The history of Indian Railways dates back to the British Raj. The idea of establishing a rail network in India was first mooted by the British authority in consideration of the huge size of the country, not unmixed with political, strategic and economic expediencies. Britain needed a fast and reliable transport system for troop movement (to counter armed rebellion) and for exploitation of the vast resources of India.
Thus the first railways in the sub-continent came into being on 3:35pm 16th April, 1853. when a train with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests left Bombay's Bori Bunder for Thane, with a 21-gun salute. It was hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The journey took an hour and fifteen minutes.
That, however, was just the first commercial passenger service in India. In fact, a steam loco, Thomason, had been used for hauling construction material in Roorkee for the Solani viaduct in 22nd December 1851.Earth for the approach embankments was transported along light rail lines about 5 to 10 km long from Piran Kaliyar to Roorkee. Standard gauge wagons were used, built from parts brought over from England, and hauled by men and later horses. In late 1851, the locomotive Thomason (named for the engineer on the project) was assembled on the spot from parts transported from Calcutta. It hauled two wagons at a time, at a speed of about 6km/h. It did not last very long, and after about 9 months India's first steam locomotive died a spectacular death with a boiler explosion.
The second locomotive to arrive in India was Falkland (named for a governor of Bombay), used by the contractors of the GIPR for shunting operations on the first line out of Bombay that was being built. There were also eight more locos from Vulcan Foundry imported by GIPR in 1852 and 1853. On November 18, 1852, a locomotive hauled some coaches on a trial run from Bori Bunder to Thana. This probably counts as the first "real" train to run in India.
One of the earliest pictures of railways in India
Extent of Great Indian Peninsular Railway network in 1870. The GIPR was one of the largest rail companies at that time.
The British government encouraged new railway companies backed by private investors under a scheme that would guarantee an annual return of five percent during the initial years of operation. Once established, the company would be transferred to the government, with the original company retaining operational control. The route mileage of this network was about 14,500 km (9,000 miles) by 1880, mostly radiating inward from the three major port cities of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. By 1895, India had started building its own locomotives, and in 1896 sent engineers and locomotives to help build the Uganda Railway.
Soon various independent kingdoms built their own rail systems and the network spread to the regions that became the modern-day states of Assam, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. A Railway Board was constituted in 1901, but decision-making power was retained by the Viceroy, Lord Curzon. The Railway Board operated under aegis of the Department of Commerce and Industry and had three members: a government railway official serving as chairman, a railway manager from England and an agent of one of the company railways. For the first time in its history, the Railways began to make a tidy profit. In 1907, almost all the rail companies were taken over by the government.
The following year, the first electric locomotive appeared. With the arrival of the First World War, the railways were used to meet the needs of the British outside India. By the end of the First World War, the railways had suffered immensely and were in a poor state. The government took over the management of the Railways and removed the link between the financing of the Railways and other governmental revenues in 1920, a practice that continues to date with a separate railway budget.
The Second World War severely crippled the railways as trains were diverted to the Middle East, and the railway workshops were converted into munitions workshops. At the time of independence in 1947, a large portion of the railways went to the then newly formed Pakistan. A total of forty-two separate railway systems, including thirty-two lines owned by the former Indian princely states, were amalgamated as a single unit which was christened as the Indian Railways.
The existing rail networks were abandoned in favour of zones in 1951 and a total of six zones came into being in 1952. As the economy of India improved, almost all railway production units were indigenised. By 1985, steam locomotives were phased out in favour of diesel and electric locomotives. The entire railway reservation system was streamlined with computerisation in 1995.
A commemorative postage stamp issued by the Indian Postal Service celebrated 100 years of the Indian Railway in 1953.
Chronology of railways in India
First proposal for a railway in India, in Madras. This remained a dream on paper.
Various proposals for railways in India, especially around Calcutta (EIR) and Bombay (GIPR).
R MacDonald Stephenson's "Report upon the Practicability and Advantages of the Introduction of Railways into British India" is published.
Survey work carried out for Bombay-Kalyan line and an extension up the Malay Ghat for proposed connections to Khandwa and Pune.
Madras Railway company is mooted.
East India Railway company is formed.
Governor-General Lord Dalhousie while advocating railway construction in India also says, "No one can safely say whether railways in this country will earn or not".
August 1: Great Indian Peninsular Railway incorporated by an Act of Parliament.
"Old Guarantee System" providing free land and guaranteed rates of return (5%) to the private English companies willing to work on building railways. Agreed upon in March, finalized on August 17.
Locomotive Thomason is used for construction work in Roorkee, beginning on December 22.
Construction begins of an "experimental" section of track (Howrah-Rajmahal) for the proposed Calcutta-Delhi link via Mirzapur (EIR).
Construction of a line out of Bombay begins, and a locomotive, Falkland, begins shunting operations on February 23. The line is ready by November, and on the 18th of November, a trial run of the Bombay-Thane trip (35 km) is held. (Some accounts suggest another locomotive, Vulcan might have also been used for shunting operations here.)
The Madras Guaranteed Railway Company is formed.
On April 16th, at 3:35pm, the first train in India leaves Bombay for Thane (see above for details). Initial scheduled services consist of two trains each way between Bombay and Thane and later Bombay and Mahim via Dadar.
Madras Railway incorporated; work begins on Madras-Arcot line.
Lord Dalhousie's famous Railway Minute of April 20 lays down the policy that private enterprise would be allowed to build railways in India, but that their operation would be closely supervised by the government.
On August 15th, the first passenger train in the eastern section is operated, from Howrah to Hoogly (24 miles). The section is soon extended to Pundooah.
By May, GIPR Bombay-Thane line is extended to Kalyan and is a double tracked line; inaugurated by Lord Elphinstone. Dapoorie viaduct is completed.
GIPR opens its first workshops at Byculla.
Stations are classified into 4 groups on some railways, according to traffic and the proportion of European and Indian passengers.
BB&CI Railway incorporated, and begins work on a Surat-Baroda line.
Thane-Kalyan line extended to Vasind on the north-east.
February 3: EIR's "experimental" track for a Calcutta-Delhi route now consists of a Howrah to Raneegunje (Raniganj, collieries near Asansol) section of 121 miles.
August: EIR 21 and 22 ("Express" and "Fairy Queen") begin work. The Fairy Queen is still working!
HMS Goodwin carrying railway carriages for East Indian Railway Co. sinks. Another ship carrying a locomotive is mis-routed to Australia.
On July 1st, the first train in the south was operated, from Royapuram / Veyasarapady (Madras) to Wallajah Road (Arcot) (approx. 100km) by the Madras Railway Company.
A combined Loco, Carriage and Wagon Workshop is set up by the Madras Guaranteed Rly. (later part of the MSMR) at Perambur, near Madras, later to become the Carriage and Wagon Workshops of SR (and the Loco Workshops at Perambur).
Sind (later Sind, Punjab and Delhi) Railway is formed, a guaranteed railway.
GIPR line extended to Khopoli via Palasdhari on the south-east. Regular services are now run from Mumbai to Vasind and from Mumbai to Khopoli. Stations opened at Dadar, Kurla, Titwala, Badlapur, and Neral.
Eastern Bengal Railway and the Great Southern of India formed (guaranteed railways).
June 14: Khandala-Pune section of GIPR open to traffic. The 21km gap over the Bhore ghat (Karjat - Khandala) is crossed by palanquin, horses, or on foot. In some cases the passenger cars were also carried over each way.
On March 3rd, the first train in the north was operated, from Allahabad to Kanpur (180km).
BBCI Railway obtains permission to extend its lines southwards from Surat, and opens its Grant Road terminus for its proposed line from Surat.
Eastern Bengal Railway begins construction on Calcutta-Kushtia line (175km).
Calcutta and South-Eastern Railway formed, with 5% guarantee from the government.
Several (about a dozen) railway companies are incorporated.
Various early experiments with providing passenger amenities such as toilets, lights, etc. These naturally tended to be introduced first in the First Class carriages and only later in the lower classes of accommodation.
Sind and Punjab Railway is engaged in construction of a northward line from Karachi, a Lahore-Multan line, and a Lahore-Delhi line.
Kanpur-Etawah section opened.
Bhusawal station set up by GIPR.
Vasind-Asangaon line opened.
Madras Railway's trunk route from Madras extended to Beypur / Kadalundi (near Calicut). Work begins on a north-western branch out of Arakkonam.
Great Southern Railway of India completes 125km BG line between Nagapatnam and Trichinopoly. ( Some sources suggest the line was till Tanjore, and extended to Trichinopoly by March 1862.)
Churchgate station opened by BBCI Railway as its new terminus for Bombay.
January 1: GIPR's Kasara line opens (extended from Asangaon).
May 13: Karachi-Kotri section of the Scinde Rly. opens to public traffic, the first section in the region that would later become Pakistan.
Feb. 8: Jamalpur Loco Works established.
Khanderao, the Gaekwar of Baroda, opens 8 miles of an NG railway line from Dabhoi towards Miyagam. Oxen were used as the motive power!
EIR's Delhi-Calcutta route progresses as far as the west bank of the Yamuna, via Mughalsarai.
Sealdah station commissioned.
Bhore ghat incline constructed, connecting Palasdhari to Khandala.
November: EBR's Calcutta-Kushtia line open for traffic.
Calcutta and South-Eastern Railway's 45km line from Calcutta to Port Canning is constructed.
Amritsar-Attari section completed on the route to Lahore.
The Indian Branch Railway Co. formed to construct short branches and feeder lines in northern India, with a 20-year subsidy but no guarantee.
The Indian Tramway Co. is formed for building short lines around Madras, also with a 20-year subsidy. This suffered losses later, was reorganized to become the Carnatic Railway and finally was taken over by the South Indian Railway.
Two-tier seating is introduced in Third Class (on EIR, GIPR, etc.) as a measure to alleviate overcrowding. A typical coach carries 50 passengers on the lower seats, and 70 on the upper level, nearly doubling the capacity of the already overcrowded third-class coaches. These were the first double-decker coaches to be used in India, and perhaps in the world .
Madras Railway extends its lines to Renigunta.
GSIR's Nagapatnam - Trichinopoly line opened to traffic.
May 14: GIPR line from Bombay across the Bhore Ghat to Pune constructed.
BB&CI Railway completes Surat-Baroda-Ahmedabad line.
EIR completes Arrah bridge over the Sone.
Port Canning - Mutlah line opened by the Calcutta & South-Eastern R Railway.
Nalhati - Azimganj 4' gauge line built by the Indian Branch Railway Co.
First luxury carriage in India is built for the Governor of Bombay.
August 1: First train into Delhi. Through trains run between Delhi and Calcutta; coaches are ferried on boats across the river at Allahabad.
Bombay-Surat line completed by BB&CI Railway.
Jolarpettai - Bangalore Cantt. branch added by Madras Railway; Bangalore Mail begins running.
First proposals for (horse-drawn) trams in Bombay.
Sind and Punjab Railway's Multan-Lahore-Amritsar line is completed. Works begins on line from Delhi to Amritsar.
BB&CI completes Bombay-Ahmedabad rail link.
Yamuna bridge at Allahabad opened, allowing EIR trains to cross over without using ferries.
Arakkonam-Conjeevaram 3'6" line built by the Indian Tramways Co.
Kasara line extended to Igatpuri over the Thull (Thall) ghat.
GIPR timetables show 'local trains' separately for the first time. These are in the sections to Mahim and Kalyan.
Alambagh Workshops set up by the Oudh and Rohilkhand Rly. (formerly the Indian Branch Rly. Co.).
Railway Branch formed in Central Public Works Department.
Delhi and Calcutta are linked directly by rail as the completion of the Yamuna bridge (road and rail) in Delhi allows the trains to reach what later became Delhi Junction. The 1 Dn / 2 Up Mail begins running -- this is the predecessor of the Howrah - Kalka Mail.
Bhusawal-Khandwa section opened.
W. Newman & Co. begins publishing the "Newman's Indian Bradshaw" for train timetables in India.
Indian Branch Rly. Co. begins construction of Lucknow-Kanpur light MG line.
Virar - Bombay Backbay suburban service commences (BB&CI); one train in each direction each day.
Some Indian locos are sent overseas for the Abyssinian expedition.
GIPR branch line extended to Nagpur; Bhusawal-Badnera section opened.
EIR branch line extends from Allahabad to Jubbulpore (Jabalpur).
Lucknow-Kanpur line opened by the Indian Branch Railway Co.
Madras Railway extends its network (with a new terminus at Royapuram) to Salem, and also finishes the Jolarpettai - Bangalore Cantonment branch.
November: Sind, Punjab, and Delhi Railway's line towards Amritsar from Delhi (Ghaziabad) is open for traffic up to Ambala.
Calcutta and South-Eastern Railway, having suffered extensive losses on their Sealdah-Canning line because of floods and other problems, decide to transfer the line to the government in return for capital costs, becoming the first railway to be taken over by the state.
GSIR's line reaches Erode, connecting to the Madras State Rly.
Charbagh workshops set up by the Oudh and Rohilkhand Rly
Governor-General Lord Lawrence suggests that the Government of India itself undertake all future construction of railway lines. But GIPR's guarantees and leases are extended, and also those of the Bombay, Baroda, and Madras Railway Companies. Still, this year marks a turning point in government policy away from the guarantee system.
GIPR locals extended from Mahim to Bandra.
Jan. 25: Runaway train on the Bhore Ghat derails and crashes after failing to be stopped by a catch siding, and is made (in)famous by pictures in the Illustrated London News.
Total trackage in India is about 4000 miles.
March 7: GIPR connection over the Thull Ghat reaches Jubbulpore (Jabalpur) from Itarsi, linking up with EIR track there from Allahabad, and establishing connectivity between Bombay and Calcutta.
BBCI Railway runs direct trains between Ahmedabad and Bombay.
October: Sind, Punjab, and Delhi Railway completes Amritsar-Saharanpur-Ghaziabad line, linking Punjab Railway with the EIR and providing connectivity between Multan and Delhi.
Mughalsarai - Lahore main line is also completed.
Lord Mayo introduces meter gauge as a compromise between proposals for narrow gauges less thand 3' and broad gauge, for use in areas with limited traffic.
Mobile post-office services in trains on EIR.
The Nizam of Hyderabad pays for the construction of a railway linking Hyderabad to the GIPR.
Jamalpur workshop gets a rolling mill of its own.
South-east of Kalyan, the GIPR line extended over the Bhore Ghat to reach Raichur, connecting with the Madras Railway, whose branch line out of Arakkonam reaches Raichur by now.
BB&CI line to Viramgam.
The "main line" on the Delhi-Calcutta route (via Patna) is in place with the completion of the section from Raniganj to Kiul.
EBR line from Calcutta to Goalundo opens.
EIR trackage totals 1350 miles; other railways: GIPR -- 875, Madras Railway -- 680, Sind and Punjab -- 400, BBCI -- 300, East Bengal -- 115, and Great Southern -- 170.
Bombay suburban services extended to Arthur Bunder in Colaba.
First (??) MG line from Delhi to Farukh Nagar is built.
The Saunders system of air-cooling first-class coaches is introduced on the GIPR.
BB&CI line to Wadhwan (Surendranagar)
GSIR merged with with the MG Carnatic Rly.
Oudh & Rohilkund Rly. opens line from Benares (Varanasi) to Lucknow.
Colaba Terminus commissioned, envisioned as a temporary station pending completion of a permanent line between Marine Lines and Churchgate, making Marine Lines the new terminus.
The world's first commercial MG sevice runs from Delhi to Rewari.
Dabhoi-Miyagam line (the first 2'6" line) is re-laid with stronger rails to allow locomotives to be used (earlier oxen were the motive power) although locomotives were not used regularly on this until 1880. This later becomes part of the Gaekwar's Baroda State Railway.
Early attempts to set up a horse-drawn tram system in Calcutta, between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street (3.8km). This service opened on Feb. 24 and closed by Nov. 20 for lack of patronage.
Stearnes and Kittredge get contract for horse-drawn tram system in Bombay.
Famines in several areas of India result in more railway lines being bulit for relief.
Wadi-Secunderabad railway line built with financing from the Nizam of Hyderabad, and later becomes part of the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway. Secunderabad railway station built by this railway.
Delhi-Bandikui, Bandikui-Agra lines of Rajputana State Railway opened, and Alwar line is under construction (all MG).
Fourth Class accommodation is introduced on several railways, consisting of coaches with no seats in them, or just a few benches, as a way of alleviating overcrowding.
Lord Salisbury, Secretary of State for India, stipulates the use of BG to settle the gauge debate, and work begins on relaying many MG lines to BG.
"F" class 0-6-0 MG locomotives are introduced, soon to be among the most widely-used in India for just about all kinds of duties. Dubs & co. of Glasgow built the first few.
GSIR and Carnatic Rly. merger is now renamed the South Indian Railway.
ORR extends line from Lucknow to Moradabad.
Tirhoot State Rly. opens MG lines to Samastipur and Darbhanga.
SIR on July 1 takes over GSIR (BG) and Carnatic Rly. (MG).
May 9: Horse-drawn tram system begins operation in Bombay, betwen Parel and Colaba. Operated by Stearnes and Kittredge with a stable of 900 horses.
Hathras Road - Mathura Cantt. section opened to traffic. The first train runs here on Oct. 19.
Rajputana State Railway MG line reaches Ajmer.
Special train built for the Prince of Wales on his visit to India; this train is later used as the vice-regal train for the next 3 decades.
Former GSIR Nagapatnam - Trichinopoly BG line converted to MG.
Construction work begins on the Ajmer workshops of the Rajputana-Malwa State Rly.
Masjid, Parel, Ghatkopar, Diva, and Chinchpokli stations opened for Mumbai local services.
Emile Moreau, a French author, and T K Bannerjee, an Indian businessman, start the bookstore chain 'A H Wheeler & Co.', which later spread to have its book stalls in a great many small and big railway stations in India, especially in the north. The company was also the one that published Rudyard Kipling in 1988 when he was all but unknown. The company's name was borrowed from a then-successful London bookstore, Arthur Henry Wheeler's.
Punjab Northern State Railway builds the Lahore-Jhelum line (parts that opened as MG in 1876 are converted to BG).
Railway line laid across the Bolan Pass to help move men and materiel during hostilities in Afghanistan.
Indus Valley State Rly. opens Multan-Kotri line.
Khandwa-Indore MG line of Holkar State Railway under construction, passing the Mhow ghat section by 1878.
Construction of Victoria Terminus begins in Bombay.
Construction of the Siliguri-Darjeeling line, the first hill railway in India (not counting the ghat sections near Bombay).
In a reversal of the broad-gauge policy instituted under Lord Salisbury, the Rajputana-Malwa Railway is authorized to build its lines to meter-gauge.
Continuous vacuum brakes are brought into use for passenger rakes.
BB&CI extends BG network to Wadhwan (Surendranagar) in Kathiawar.
Ahmedabad-Palanpur MG section opened.
All of the former GSIR lines (now in SIR) are converted to MG from BG.
The state takes over the Nizam's Railway.
North Bengal State Rly. opens Parbatipur-Kaunia MG line.
Following an agreement between the British and the French, an MG line is laid between Pondicherry and Villupuram.
About 9,000 miles of railways in India, of which 2,175 miles are state-owned. Famine Commission suggests creating another 5,000 miles of railways, and private construction of railways is resumed.
EIR taken over by the state, but the construction and operation of the railway are handed back to the company.
The Kandahar State Railway from Ruk to Sibi is formed; 133.5 miles of track are laid in 101 days!
The Darjeeling Steam Tramway (later the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway) starts services on its first section, the Siliguri-Darjeeling line.
The durable 'L' class 4-6-0 tender locos make their appearance.
GIPR runs about 14 local services in each direction in Mumbai, including five terminating at Kurla. It is believed that at this time Currey Road station is used for loading and unloading horses for the races at Mahalaxmi.
Bhavnagar-Wadhwan (Surendranagar) line opened by Kathiawar State Rly. (later part of Bhavnagar State Rly.). (MG)
Kanpur-Farukhabad section is operational.
Dec. 22 : Calcutta Tramways Co. incorporated.
Ajmer-Ahmedabad line (MG) opens, and becomes part of the Rajputana State Railway.
September: Darjeeling Steam Tramway becomes the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
The Maharaja Sindia of Gwalior opens the Agra-Gwalior line of what became the Sindia State Rly.
Jan.: Horse-drawn trams begin regular operation in Calcutta.
BB&CI trunk route reaches Godhra.
Khandwa-Indore line extended to Ajmer.
Rajputana State Rly. merged into Rajputana Malwa Rly.
Bangalore-Mysore MG line opened by the Mysore State Rly. (this line later went to the Southern Mahratta Railway Co. which was chartered in 1882 to operate some famine-relief lines opened by the state).
Marwar-Pali section opened on June 24 as part of the new Jodhpur Railway.
Bangalore City linked to Bangalore Cantonment by Madras Railway.
Assam Rly. and Trading Co. opens Dibrugarh/Amlapatty - Dinjan Stream MG section as part of the Dibru-Sadia Railway (section operational on Aug. 15).
Railway Watch and Ward, the predecessor of the RPF, constituted.
Post of Director General of Railways is created in the Central Public Works Department.
Jan 1: Victoria Terminus, still under construction, is opened to the public.
First 'A' class tank locomotives built for the DHR.
Nagpur-Rajnandgaon MG line opened.
Steam tramway system begins operating in Calcutta.
Punjab Northern State Railway line extended from Jhelum to Peshawar.
Attock bridge across the Indus is constructed.
Bengal-Nagpur Railway (a private company) sanctioned, with guarantees.
A Select Committee in the House of Commons recommends continuing the policy of using MG for local and secondary lines only, and suggests that feeder lines to BG should also be BG.
Amlapatty - Dinjan route extended to Tinsukia and Margherita.
Pali-Luni section of Jodhpur Railway opens on June 17.
Delhi-Mathura line opened
Calcutta-Khulna line opened by Bengal Central Rly.
Bhopal-Itarsi line opened by the Begum of Bhopal.
Southern Mahratta Rly. Co. opens Hospet-Bellary and Gadag-Hotgi lines.
April: Bengal & North-Western Rly. opens Nawabganz-Gonda-Bahraich line (MG).
MG lines: Assam Behar State Rly. builds to Parbatipur; Bangalore-Tumkur-Gubbi (Mysore State Rly.); Rohilkund-Kumaon Rly. builds line to Kathgodam.
Budni-Burkhera ghat section opened.
NG lines: Two lines from Kaunia to Dharlla river (part of the East Bengal State Rly.)
Meridian Conference in Washington, DC, sets the foundation for worldwide standard time zones from which, eventually, Indian Standard Time emerged in the 20th century.
Jodhpur is connected (via Luni) to the Rajputana Malwa Railway network (first train on March 9) (MG). This line later becomes part of the Jodhpur Bikaner Rly.
Seats are provided in Fourth Class accommodation. Simultaneously, accommodation classes are reorganized so that the Fourth Class becomes Third Class, Third Class is renamed Second Class, and Second Class is transformed to "Inter" Class.
First coaches (wooden-bodied) with steel underframes introduced.
Assam Rlys. & Trading Co. builds Dibru-Sadiya Rly. (MG)
Narayangang-Mymensingh MG line opened by Dacca State Rly.
DHR line extended to Darjeeling Bazaar.
April 20: A steam tramway opens in Karachi.
Victoria Terminus - Byculla track is doubled.
ORR line extended to Saharanpur.
NG lines: Cherra-Companyganj Rly. (Cherrapunjee Mountain Rly.) builds line from Companyganj to Therria Ghat and across it to Cherrapunji with 7 gradients worked by rope mechanisms.
Miraj-Pune MG line opened.
Karachi's steam tramway is replaced by a horse-drawn system.
Dufferin Bridge constructed over the Ganga at Varanasi, allowing EIR trains to go from Mughalsarai to Varanasi.
Victoria Terminus named after Queen Victoria on Jubilee Day.
Madras Railway trunk route from Madras extended along the west coast to Calicut.
Construction of Bombay's Victoria Terminus building is completed. The cost was estimated at Rs 1,640,000
Landsdowne bridge over the Indus (at Sukkur).
Kushtia-Siliguri line (MG) of North Bengal State Railway.
A. H. Wheeler and Co. introduce their Indian Railway Library series of publications.
Southern Mahratta Rly.'s main eastward route connects with other lines going until Bezwada (Vijayawada), which were later taken over by the SMR. The section in Goa worked by SMR for West of India Portuguese Rly. terminating at Marmagoa opens.
Nizam's State Railway's main line is extended to Bezwada (Vijayawada).
Delhi-Ambala-Kalka line laid.
A Select Committee in the House of Commons recommends against laying any new MG lines outside areas where MG was dominant.
Jamshedpur workshops work on putting together some locos (but the first complete loco is not built in India until 1895 at Ajmer).
EIR appoints the first Signal Engineer in India (Mr S T Dutton).
Jodhpur Bikaner Railway formed.
First 'B' class locomotives of the DHR built.
Indian Midland Rly. opens lines from Jhansi to Gwalior, Kanpur, Manikpur, and Bhopal.
Assam Behar State Rly.'s Parbatipur MG line is extended to Katihar.
Jamlpur-Jagannathganj Rly. open to traffic.
Gubbi-Birur-Harihar MG line opened by Mysore State Rly.
Six platforms constructed at Bombay Victoria Terminus.
Goa-Guntakal MG line completed by the Southern Mahratta Rly Co., with branches from Londa to Poona (connecting to Mysore via Bangalore, and also with Gadag-Hotgi), and Bezwada (Vijayawada) to Marmagoa.
East Coast State Railway (government-owned) sanctioned.
SIR taken over by the state, but working of lines is by a reconstituted SIR company .
NG lines: Wadhwan-Morvi-Rajkot line opened (later converted to BG); Shahjahanpur-Powayan (Powayan Steam Tramways).
Some time in the 1890s third class passengers are allowed on the prestigious Mail trains.
Railways Act passed by the government defining the framework for railway construction and operation.
Jodhpur connected to Bikaner by MG (Jodhpur - Merta Road opened April 8, Merta Road - Nagaur on Oct. 16, and Nagaur-Bikaner on Dec. 9).
Following political and passenger demands, toilet facilities are introduced on a large scale in first class carriages.
Khojak tunnel opens, the westernmost point of the Kandahar State Rly. (Chaman Extension Rly.) which was to reach Afghanistan but which in fact never crossed the frontier from British India beyond Chaman. At the time, this was the longest railway tunnel in the subcontinent.
Construction begins for the Nilgiri railway.
Delhi-Ambala-Kalka line opened.
Rope-worked section over Therria Ghat of Cherra-Companyganj Rly. dismantled.
Assam Bengal Railway incorporated (MG).
Early use of simple mechnanical interlocking devices (List and List & Morse systems) at six single line crossings of NWR.
BB&CI line to Godhra
Yeshwantpur-Dodballapur MG line by Mysore State Rly.
The government-built Godhra-Nagda link is handed over to the BB&CI Railway for operation.
Cabin interlocking introduced in some places by the GIPR on the Bombay-Delhi route. (Equipment supplied by Saxby and Farmer.)
First railway foundry set up at Jamalpur Workshops
Merta - Kuchaman section opened to carry salt traffic from the Rajputana areas.
Bengal Dooars Rly. opens (MG).
Cuttack - Khurda Road - Puri line opened by the East Coast Rly.
MG line from Yeshwantpur extended to Mysore frontier by Mysore State Rly.
List & Morse interlocking system introduced for 29 single line crossings between Lahore and Ghaziabad.
NG lines: Powayan Steam Tramways extended to Mailani on the Rohilkund-Kumaon Rly.
First locomotive built in India at the Ajmer works, an 'F' class 0-6-0 MG loco for the Rajputana Malwa Railway (F-734). This is now preserved at the National Rail Museum.
Udaipur-Chittorgarh MG line built by the Mewar Darbar.
NG lines: Tezpore-Balipara; Tarakeshwar-Howrah (Bengal Provincial Rly. Co.)
Madras trams begin operating, with a conduit system. (This is replaced in 1905 with electric traction.)
Indian railway staff and some MG locos are sent overseas to help build the Uganda Railway.
BB&CI line to Nagda and Ujjain.
The first section of the NG Barsi Light Railway is built from Barsi Road Junction to Barsi Town.
Lighting in passenger coaches introduced by many railway companies. Lower classes tended to get gas lamps, whereas upper classes sometimes got electric lights, but often gas or oil lamps.
First Godavari bridge built near Rajahmundry, helping Chennai-Howrah traffic.
Hoogly (Hooghly) bridge built.
Strategic considerations from the War Department force all new narrow-gauge lines to be laid to 2'6" gauge instead of 2' gauge from 1897 onwards. 2'6" was the narrow-gauge standard for all the imperial colonies.
Rajkot - Jamnagar MG section opened by Jamnagar Rly.
Mettupalayam-Coonoor rail line constructed.
Delhi - Bhatinda - Samasatta line opened by Southern Punjab Railway Co.
August: Mettupalayam-Coonoor rail line opens, but is soon closed after heavy rains cause severe damage to the track.
NG lines: Howrah-Amta, Howrah-Sheakhala (2' gauge, Martin & Co.).
Maharaj Scindia of Gwalior opens NG (2') railway lines from Gwalior to Bhind and Shivpuri. These later become part of the Gwalior Light Railways.
Jamalpur Workshops officially begin producing steam locomotives (earlier they were putting together locomotives with parts from other locomotives, etc.). The first engine is CA 764, Lady Curzon.
Nov. 1 : Through BG connection between Bezwada (Vijayawada) and Madras (Chennai) opens.
Mettupalaiyam-Coonoor section of the Nilgiri Mountain Rly. re-opens after repair and restoration.
Bina-Baran line opened.
South Indian Railway begins Madras - Tuticorin service connecting with the boat to Ceylon, using vestibuled coaches for both First and Second class. The trip takes nearly 22 hours for the 443 mile route.
Electric traction for trams introduced in Calcutta.
GIPR network becomes state property on July 1, but the company is allowed to continue operating the services.
Upper Sone bridge built, the longest in India at 10,052 feet.
Balotra-Hyderabad section of Jodhpur Bikaner Rly. opens.
Doon Railway opens (Haridwar-Dehradun).
Tapti Valley Railway opened.
Assam Bengal Rly. opens branch line to Guwahati.
Bengal Dooars Rly. open link to EBR at Lalmonirhat.
Rajputana Malway Rly. becomes part of the BB&CI Rly.
Brahmaputra-Sultanpur Branch Rly. opens MG line from Santahar east (with a ferry section) to Mymensingh.
Manmad-Secunderabad MG line opened by the Hyderabad Godavary Valley Rly.
Calcutta tramways' electrification and conversion to standard gauge from meter gauge begins. Total system size is at 30km.
NG lines opened: Parlakimedi Light Rly. from Navpada (BNR); Rajpur-Dhamtari (BNR). Planning begun for Matheran Light Railway.
Sir Thomas Robertson Committee submits recommendations on administration and working of the railways.An early version of the railway board is constituted, with three members serving on it at first.
Railway mileage now at about 24,750 miles in India, of which 14,000 miles are BG, and most of the rest MG (with only a few hundred miles of 2' and 2'6" gauge lines).
The railways also start returning some modest profits; for the last 40 years they had been making large losses.
Indian Midland Railway merged into BBCI Railway.
EIR's "Grand Chord" section finished connecting Sitarampur - Gaya - Mughalsarai.
BB&CI line to Cambay.
East Coast Rly. line to Waltair becomes part of the Madras Railway.
MG lines: Kaunia-Dharlla Rly. lines converted to MG; Jodhpur - Hyderabad (by Jodhpur Bikaner Rly., after a section near Hyderabad is converted from BG to MG).
NG lines: Gitaldaha-Jainti (Cooch Behar State Rly.); Nawshera-Dargai State Rly. (later NWR).
Burn & Co. sets up a workshop at Howrah.
Shoranur-Cochin line is built, owned by the state but operated by the SIR.
A monorail of the Ewing system (double-flanged wheels and an outrigger wheel for balance) powered by ponies is installed for transporting tea and other light goods at the High Range near Keranganie.
The Luni-Shadipalli line is completed in the Thar desert. The Shadipalli-Hyderabad (now Pakistan) line is regauged to MG.
BNR takes over part of the East Coast Rly. lines (Cuttack - Vizianagaram, branch line to Puri).
NG lines: Khushalgarh-Kohat (later NWR).
Mar. 27: Electric trams begin operating in Calcutta.
The Jodhpur Railway becomes the first to introduce electric lights as standard fixtures.
BESA standards for new loco types are formulated.
The Robertson Report recommends re-laying all BG and MG lines to standard gauge, but this report seems to have been completely ignored.
Nov. 9: Kalka-Shimla Railway line opened, built at 2'0" gauge.
The first bogie-mounted coaches appear, including bogie dining cars on some railways.
Assam-Bengal Rly. joins Dibru-Sadiya Rly. at Tinsukia from Chittagong via Lumding (MG).
GIPR appoints its first Signal Engineer, Mr I W Stokes.
Interlocking introduced for 9 stations (3 on Bombay-Thane section, 6 on Thane-Kalyan section) -- including Bombay VT.
NG lines: Gondia-Nainpur (BNR); Kohat-Thal (later NWR).
The Moghulpura workshops near Lahore build six 0-6-2T "ST" class locos by using parts from other locos, making them the only works other than Ajmer to build locomotives in (British) India.
The Kharagpur Locomotive and Carriage and Wagon Workshop is set up.
Railway Board expanded, given more powers.
Agra-Delhi chord line opened.
NG lines: Nainpur-Chhindwara (BNR); Howrah-Tribeni (Bengal Provincial Rly. Co., connecting to Katwa line); Gwalior light railway sections: Gwalior - Jora Alapur (Jan. 1), Jora Alapur - Sabalgarh (Dec. 1). Construction begun on Matheran Light Railway.
Powers of the Railway Board are formalized under Lord Curzon. The Board is under the Department of Commerce and Industry, and has government railway official serving as chairman, and a railway manager from England and an agent of one of the company railways as the other two members.
The visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales gives EIR a chance to build a special train with coaches rivalling the luxury saloons used by nobility in Europe.
A petrol-driven 0-4-0 loco from Kerr Stuart is in use by the Morvi Railway and Tramways company.
Kalka-Shimla Railway regauged to 2'6" gauge under guidelines from the War Department seeking to ensure uniformity in all imperial narrow gauge systems.
"F" class 0-6-0 MG locomotives are introduced, soon to be among the most widely-used in India for just about all kinds of duties. Dubs & co. of Glasgow built the first few.
Railway Board decides that lavatories will be provided in all lower class carriages for trains running more than 50 miles.
BNR's Satpura Railway complete's Gondia-Nainpur-Jabalpur link.
Surendranagar - Rajkot MG section opened.
A short MG spur is built into Afghanistan along the Kabul river.
NG lines: Wadhwan-Rajkot line of Morvi Rly. converted to BG; Rupsa-Barapada line of Mourbhang (Mayurbhanj) Rly. opens (BNR); Tirupattur-Krishnagiri; Gondia-Nainpur line extended to Jabalpur (BNR); Tuna-Anjar by the Maharaja of Cutch, later part of the Cutch State Rly.
GIPR line quadrupled up to Currey Road.
The first electric trams run in Madras with overhead electrification.
Entire Calcutta tram network is now electrified and converted to standard gauge. The Howrah Station to Bandhaghat line opens in June.
The 'General Rules' are framed, governing operation of railways.
Howrah Terminus rebuilt and inaugurated, the largest railway station in India.
Madras Rly. builds Morappur-Dharmapuri MG line for famine relief.
Barsi Road Jn. - Pandharpur section of Barsi Light Railway opens.
Kalka-Shimla Rly. taken over by the state.
Rajputana-Malwa Rly. taken over by state and made part of BB&CI Rly.
BB&CI Rly. starts a Weekend Special from Bombay to Surat, the forerunner of the Flying Ranee.
Kasganj-Kathgodam section opens to passenger rail traffic.
Kurla-Chembur single line built for garbage trains.
Indian Standard Time (IST) comes into force for timekeeping in British India (except for Calcutta and some other regions).
The government purchases all major lines and re-leases them to private operators, with the exception of Rohilkhund & Kumaon Rly. and Bengal & North-Western Rly.
Sirhind-Morinda section of the Patiala State Monorail is opened, powered by oxen and army mules from 1907 until 1927.
By now, toilets are standard in most lower class carriages, except for short suburban lines.
Railway Mail Service (RMS) is established.
The Grand Chord via Gaya opens on the EIR's Calcutta-Delhi trunk route.
22 March: Matheran Light Railway opens, with 4 articulated 0-6-0T locomotives.
Madras Railway trunk route extended from Calicut to Mangalore.
Jaipur - Sawai Madhopur MG line opened by the Jaipur State Rly.
NG lines: Purulia-Ranchi (BNR); Tuna-Anjar extended to Bhuj (Cutch State Rly.); Shahdara-Saharanpur Light Rly. (Martin & Co.).
The Sir James Mackay Committee suggests further enhancements to financial and administrative procedures.
May 7: Electric trams begin operating in Bombay.
June: Kanpur's electric tram system begins operation.
Kaunia-Dharlla MG line of East Bengal Railway extended to Amingaon, where a ferry across the Brahmaputra connected to the rail system of the Assam Bengal Railway through Guwahati.
BB&CI Railway constructs a line from Baroda to Mathura.
India's first internal combustion locomotive, a petrol-driven MG loco, is delivered to the Assam Oil Co. by McEwan Pratt & Co. of Wickford, Essex.
Patiala State Monorail obtains the four famed Orenstein and Koppel monorail locomotives for some of its lines.
Inward-opening doors are introduced on passenger coaches.
The spur from the north-west territories into Afghanistan, the only railway line in Afghanistan at this time, is dismantled.
NG lines: Gwalior - Sheopur Kalan (2' gauge, Gwalior Light Rly.), Sabalgarh - Birpur (Nov. 1).
Karachi's horse-drawn trams are replaced by petrol trams.
Calcutta tram network extended to Sibpur via G.T. Road.
India's first electric locos (two of them) are delivered to the Mysore Gold Fields by Bagnalls (Stafford) with overhead electrical equipment by Siemens. Also among the earliest electric vehicles, electrically operated rail trolleys (" White's patented rail motor trolleys") are brought into use (by EIR's Carriage & Wagon workshops, by the Oudh and Rohilkhund Rly., by the Eastern Bengal State Rly., etc.).
A petrol-driven 0-4-9 loco is supplied to Morvi Railway and Tramways by Nasmyth Wilson. A couple of Thornycroft petrol-driven parcel delivery vehicles are also in use by the EIR.
Saharanpur marshalling yard under construction by the North Western State Rly. and the Oudh and Rohilkhund Rly.
23-ton BG bogie hopper wagons brought into use by Bengal Nagpur Rly. for transporting iron to the Tata Iron and Steel Works.
South India Rly.'s contract is renewed despite widespread support for appropriation by the state among local interests.
South India Rly. is engaged in ultimately abandoned attempt to build a direct railway between India and Ceylon with a viaduct over the Panban viaduct.
The Harbour Line opens from Kurla to Reay Road as the terminus (double track).
Syke's Lock and Block system of interlocking introduced on the BB&CI Rly. and other railways.
NG lines: Gwalior Light Rly. : Birpur - Sheopur (Jun. 15)
Kanpur - Chachran line opened by princely state of Bahawalpur (now in Pakistan, closed in the 1980s).
NG lines: Barsi Light Railway extended until Latur; Champaner-Shivrajpuri Light Rly. (later part of BB&CI); Dehri-on-Sone - Rohtas (Dehri-Rohtas Light Rly.); Bukhtiarpur-Bihar Rly. (Martin & Co.).
June 1: Punjab Mail (GIPR) makes its inaugural run.
Cabin interlocking completed for the entire length of the Bombay-Delhi route (GIPR).
Work begins on Mysore-Arsikere link.
Bowringpet-Kolar 2'6" line (part of the Kolar District Rly.) opened by the Mysore State Railways.
Madras Rly. extends MG line from Dharmapuri to Hosur.
NG lines: BB&CI lines to Godhra, Nadiad; Jessore-Jhenidah (McLeod's).
NG lines: Kalabagh-Bannu (Trans-Indus Rly.; later NWR).
In the Mumbai area, suburban terminals are opened at Kurla, Kalyan, Thane, and one at the BB&CI station at Bandra for GIPR trains.
World War I places heavy strain on the railways. Railway production is diverted to meet the needs of British forces outside India. At the end of the war Indian railways are in a total state of dilapidation and disrepair. All services are downgraded or restricted.
Ceylon Government Railway extends the line from Polgahawela to Talaimannar at the northern tip of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), to enable connecting services with SIR trains with a ferry crossing across the Palk Strait. Steamer services from Dhanushkodi (India) to Talaimannar (Ceylon) start on March 1.
RBS standards for rails adopted (90lb/yd for BG, 60lb/yd for MG).
Double line between Ravli Cabin and Mahim on Harbour Branch.
NG lines: Dholpur-Bari line extended to Tantpur; Dhond-Baramati (Central Provinces Rly.; later GIPR); Murtazapur-Achalpur/Yavatmal; Arrah-Sasaram, Baraset-Basirhat (Martin & Co.); Larkana - Jacobabad and Jacobabad-Kashmore (NWR, now in Pakistan after conversion to BG).
Two new branches of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway opened to traffic. The Kalimpong Road (now Gelkhola) branch followed the Teesta valley (hence known as the Teesta Valley Line) and the Kishanganj branch (built in the preceding year, 1914) ran west - southwest of Siliguri.
Lower Ganges Bridge (Hardinge Bridge) opened on the trunk route to Siliguri on the EIR.
Burdwan-Katwa line opened.
Mandra - Bhaun and Sialkot - Narowal lines opened (both now in Pakistan; the former was closed in the 1990s).
First ever diesel locomotive in India, a 2'6" gauge unit from Avonside (Bristol) is supplied to the India Office for use on a tea plantation (in Assam??).
Currey Road - Thane line is quadrupled.
Calcutta-Santahar MG line of East Bengal State Rly. opens.
NG lines: Yeshwantpur-Devanahalli-Chikaballapur section of what would become the Bangalore Chikaballapur Light Rly. opens (2'6"); Ellichpur-Yeotmal (Central Provinces Rly.; later GIPR); Burdwan-Katwa (McLeod's).
Bowringpet-Kolar 2'6" line extended to Chintamani / Chikkaballapur (forming the Kolar District Rly.) by the Mysore State Railway.
Kacheguda station built by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Parsik tunnel (1.3km) opened to traffic.
NG lines: BB&CI lines to Pani mines.
Ahmadpur-Katwa line opened.
Thane-Kalyan line is quadrupled.
Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka MG line is made mixed gauge to allow NG 2'6" traffic.
NG lines: Pulgaon-Arvi (Central Provinces Rly., later GIPR); Khanai-Hindubagh (Zhob Valley Rly.; later NWR); Bankura-Damodar, Kalighat-Falta, and Ahmadpur-Katwa (McLeod's).
Nushki Extension Rly. towards Iran opened till Dalbandin, from Spezand on the Sibi-Quetta line.
Bangalore-Chikkaballapur Light Railway (2'6") opens the Bangalore-Yeshwantpur section.
Mysore-Arsikere MG line opened by the Mysore Darbar.
Nushki Extension Rly. is completed until Zahidan (Duzdap) in Iran.
Wagon pooling comes into wide use among the various regional railways.
Oct. 1: Mysore Darbar takes over Nanjangud-Mysore-Bangalore and Birur-Shimoga lines.
NG lines: Pachora-Jamner (Central Provinces Rly.; later GIPR).
Batasia Loop constructed on the DHR.
Bhusawal loco shed set up by GIPR; at the time the largest loco shed in Asia and the third largest in the world.
Vacuum braking comes into wide use.
Track-circuiting introduced on WR suburban lines.
Telephones are brought into use for train control purposes in some suburban sections.
Total trackage at 37,000 miles (about 15% privately-held). The East India Railway Committee (chaired by Sir William Acworth, hence also known as the Acworth Committee) points out the need for unified management of the entire railway system. On the recommendations of this committee, the government takes over the actual management of all railways, and also separates railway finances from the general governmental finances (the latter step led to the practice, followed to this day, of presenting the Railway Budget separately from the General Budget every year).
Superheating makes its appearance in India.
Electric lighting of signals is introduced between Dadar and Currey Road.
A 2' gauge diesel loco is delivered to Bengal by Baugleys of Burton-on-Trent. (1921?)
Sep.: Double-decker electric trams are introduced in Bombay.
The Peninsular Locomotive Company is founded at Jamshedpur for the purpose of building locomotives; this would have been the third loco manufacturing plant in India after Ajmer and Jamlpur, but unfortunately it failed even before it manufactured a single loco.
July 1: Chikjajur-Chitradurg line opened by MSMR.
Total trackage stands at 61,220 route km.
The Railway Board is reorganized with a Chief Commissioner of Railways having overriding powers on technical matters. (1921?)
Retrenchment Committee under Lord Inchcape recommends drastic cuts in working expenses and other measures designed to produce a fixed annual profit for the state.
An electric loco with overhead power collection is delivered to the Naysmyth Patent Press Co. at Calcutta, by British Electric Vehicles.
Jamnagar-Khambaliya-Gorinja-Okha MG section opened.
Locomotive Standards Committee publishes a paper with details of proposed standardization of locomotive classes.
Jamnagar-Kuranga MG line opened by the Jamnagar & Dwarka Rly., and the Kuranga-Okha MG line by the Okhamandal Rly.
NG lines: Larkana-Jacobabad (NWR); Futwah-Islampur (Martin & Co.).
Two diesel locos delivered to Barsi Light Railway by Ruton Proctor of Lincoln.
Total trackage at 60,540 route-km.
Railway finances separated from general finances in the general government budget after the first Railway 'Convention'. Railway board expanded to have a Financial Commissioner, a member in charge of ways, works, stores and projects, and a member in charge of administration, staff, and traffic.
Uniform system of loco classification codes based on an initial letter for the gauge comes into use.
Jodhpur Bikaner Rly. split into Jodhpur State Rly. and Bikaner State Rly.
Kurla-Chembur line open for passenger traffic.
Rajkot-Morvi 2'6" line of Morvi Rly. converted to BG.
Rupsa-Barapada NG line extended to Talband.
February 3: First electric railway operates on Harbour branch of the GIPR from Victoria Terminus to Kurla (16 km), using 1500V DC overhead traction. The section is designated as a suburban section. EMUs from Cammell Laird and Uerdingenwagonfabrik are used. In the same year electrification of VT-Bandra is also completed and EMU services begin there as well, with an elevated platform at Sandhurst Road. The GIPR suburban line is later electrified up to Kalyan.
Feb. 3: The EF/1 (later WCG-1) "crocodile" loco is introduced.
VT-Kurla section is also completely track-circuited.
Oudh and Rohilkhund Rly. amalgamated with EIR.
Locomotive Standards Committee adopts several IRS loco classes as standards.
First Railway Budget.
East Indian Railway Company taken over by the state on January 1; Great Indian Peninsular Railway taken over on June 30.
Khyber Railway opened from Peshawar Cantt. to Landi Kotal.
Ex-GIPR suburban line is electrified up to Kalyan. Main line electrified up to Poona and Igatpuri over the Bhore and Thal Ghats (1500 V DC).
Order placed with Vulcan Foundry for the new classes of locos (XA, XB, XC, etc.).
Lucknow's Charbagh Station built.
East Bengal State Rly.'s line to Siliguri is converted to BG.
Khyber Railway's last section from Landi Kotal to Landi Khana, 2km short of the frontier with Afghanistan, is opened.
NG lines: Bhavnagar-Talaja section of Bhavnagar Tramways.
The BB&CI suburban lines extended to Borivili and Virar. In the Bombay area tracks in some places are doubled and even tripled or quadrupled (e.g., between Bandra and Borivili).
Patiala State Monorail stops operations.
NG lines: line from Barsi Road Jn. to Pandharpur is extended to Miraj; Dehri-Rohtas extended to Rohtas Fort. In Nepal, the Raxaul-Amlekhganj line is opened (Martin & Co.).
8-coach EMU rakes are introduced on the main line in Mumbai and 4-coach rakes on the Harbour line.
Work begun on Madras suburban line.
Jan 5: Colaba-Borivili section electrification completed by BB&CI Rly.
Two suburban tracks of the Bombay-Borivli section are electrified, but the two mainline tracks are left for steam traction. The first batch of electric EMUs for Bombay arrive (made by British Thompson Houston / Cammell Laird).
Sep. 1: The Frontier Mail is flagged off from Colaba Terminus, with Peshawar as its destination.
First automatic colour-light signals in India, on GIPR's lines between Bombay VT and Byculla.
Kanpur Central and Lucknow stations inaugurated.
Golden Rock workshops near Trichy set up by the South Indian Railway.
Bahawalnagar - Fort Abbas line opened by princely state of Bahawalpur (now in Pakistan, closed in the 1990s).
Railways build more than 1,000 miles of tracks each year. General period of prosperity for the railways--generous provisions are made for passenger amenities (waiting rooms, etc.).
Railways (like everything else!) hit by the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the ensuing global depression; severe economy measures undertaken.
Kazipet-Balharshah link completed, connecting Delhi and Madras directly.
The Grand Trunk Express begins running between Peshawar and Mangalore.
Kalyan-Igatpuri-Pune section is now completely electrified, and the quadruple line between Bombay and Kalyan is also electrified.
A 2' gauge diesel loco from Maffei is supplied to C K Andrew and Co. (Probably used on a plantation?)
Burma Railways taken over by the state.
Chola Power House near Thakurli built by the GIPR for supplying power for the newly electrified Kalyan-Igatpuri-Pune section.
Punjab Limited Express begins to run between Mumbai and Lahore, leaving Mumbai on Thursdays.
Bombay's Victoria Terminus undergoes some reconstruction work so that it gets 14 platforms.
Automatic colour-light signalling extended to the Byculla-Kurla section.
The Kurla car shed is opened.
NG lines: BB&CI line to Piplod; Kangra Valley Rly. (NWR).
Railway Board reorganized with separate members in charge of traffic and labour matters.
Experiments with railcars on the Jamnagar & Dwarka Rly.
Power signalling introduced; upper-quadrant semaphore signals introduced.
The Times (London) nominates the Frontier Mail "the most famous express train in the British empire".
Through electric services begin on the Kalyan - Pune section.
June 1: The Deccan Queen begins running, hauled by a WCP-1 (No. 20024, old number EA/1 4006) and with 7 coaches, on the GIPR's newly electrified route to Poona (Pune).
Two BG diesel shunters from William Beardmore in use on the North Western Railway.
NWR procures two 420hp diesel-electric shunters from William Beardmore.
Hyderabad Godavary Valley Rly. merged into Nizam's State Rly.
Axle boxes with roller bearings come into use.
The route of the Grand Trunk Exp. is changed to Delhi - Madras.
Madras MG suburban railway line completed. ((April 2?) May 11: Tambaram-Beach has electric traction). The first MG EMU service.
The YCG-1 DC MG locos are introduced in the Madras area.
Samdari - Raniwara section opens as the first phase of a rail connection between Jodhpur-Bikaner and Gujarat. Phalodi - Jodhpur section opens.
Total trackage in India at about 43,000 miles. Hardly any new construction until after World War II.
NG lines: Darwha-Pusad (Central Provinces Rly; later GIPR).
More than 700 stations have interlocking by now.
MSMR's workshops at Perambur split into the Carriage and Wagon Workshops and the Locomotive Workshops.
NG lines: Agar-Ujjain (Gwalior Light Rlys.)
Nok Kundi - Zahidan section of Nushki Extension Rly. is closed.
Kaunia-Dharlla MG lines north of the Brahmaputra are extended to Rangapara.
May 16: Kanpur trams stop operating.
Shoranur-Cochin line converted to BG.
NWR procures two 1200hp diesel-electric locos from Armstrong-Whitworth with the intention of using them for a new Bombay-Karachi route. They were deployed on the Karachi-Lahore mail route, but then were withdrawn soon afterwards, having manifested many problems as they were not designed for Indian conditions.
Borivli-Virar electrification complete. The two mainline tracks on the Bombay-Borivli section are also electrified.
BBCI obtains one diesel shunter from Armstrong Whitworth.
Air-conditioning introduced in some (first-class) passenger coaches. Matunga workshops manufacture 5 air-conditioned coaches, the first such to be made locally.
Indian Railway Committee under Sir Ralph Wedgwood constituted to look into the position of the state-owned railways and how to improve their finances
Mavli-Marwar MG line opened.
Jodhpur Rly. acquires two Drewry railcars, one for the Maharaja and the other an inspection car.
Wedgwood Committee makes recommendations for public relations, advertising, etc. which until then had been neglected. Also recommends faster and more reliable passenger services and expansion of freight activities, for the railways to compete with road transport.
The post of Minister for Transport and Communications is created; the Minister was a civil servant, and could decide on matters dealt with by the Railway Board.
The infamous Bihta accident, in which the excessive oscillations of an XB class loco caused the derailment of the Punjab-Howrah mail, killing 154 persons.
NG lines: In Nepal, the Nepal Jaynagar-Janakpur Rly. opens.
May 1: The Flying Queen (predecessor of Flying Ranee) is introduced between Bombay and Surat, hauled by an H class 4-6-0 and making her run in 4 hours.
All lines of the MSMR in Mysore are taken over by the Mysore Darbar.
NG lines: Bhavnagar Tramways line extended to Mahura.
World War II. Railways under strain again. Locomotives, wagons, and track material are taken from India to the middle East; 28 branch lines were completely cannibalized for this. Railway workshops are used to manufacture shells and other military equipment. The entire railway system is in poor shape by the end of the war.
Diesel railcars from Ganz are tried out on the Nizam's State Railways.
A light railcar built at Bikaner is used on the minor lines around there.
The power systems of the Chola Power House and the Tata Hydroelectric plant are combined for supplying traction power to Bombay-area suburban trains as well as for long-distance trains across the ghats.
The Jamnagar and Dwarka Railway procures a single MG diesel loco for its Saurashtra Passenger service, from Brookville.
Jodhpur-Phalodi section extended to Pokharan.
All-steel BG coaches manufactured for the first time in India.
Large numbers of American and Canadian locos are imported (AWD, CWD, along with AWC, AWE, and MAWD classes).
Neale's Ball Token Instruments come into use.
Hosur-Dharmapuri NG line decommissioned.
The 'Following Trains' system of train working is introduced as an emergency measure in some areas out of necessity because of wartime requirements.
Most of the remaining large railway companies are taken over by the state.
July 11: A flash flood washes out portions of the tracks on the Chappar Rift of the Sind Peshin State Railway (now in Pakistan), and through running never resumes on this line.
Nok Kundi - Zahidan section of the Nushki Extension Rly. is re-opened.
Bengal and North-Western Railway is taken over by the state, after being merged with the Rohilkund and Kumaon Rly., the Mashrak-Thane Extension Rly., the Lucknow-Bareilly Rly., and the Tirhut Rly. The new railway is known as the Oudh and Tirhut Rly.
The opening of the Howrah bridge in February allows the Calcutta routes of trams to be connected to the Howrah routes; total system is at 67km.
Fifteen diesel locos from GE supplied by USATC and deployed on WR, among the first diesel locos to be successfully used in many locations in India. Most of these were classified as WDS-1.
April: MSMR merged with the lines worked by the SIR company, and taken over by the state.
Oct. 1: BNR taken over by the state.
Indian Railway Standards renamed Indian Government Railway Standards. Locomotive classification codes updated to include diesels and electrics.
Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. (TELCO) formed as a company.
Bandra station has the country's first all-electric interlocking.
Apr. 1: Jacobabad-Kashmore line taken over by state (now in Pakistan).
A Skelton system monorail (locomotive with rubber tires guided by a rail, and wagons carried on the rail with outrigger wheels for stability) is installed for the 18km section from Bhanvad to Khambalia in Gujarat, powered by a modified diesel loco.
16 prototypes of the new WP class Pacifics ordered.
Apr. 1: Mandra-Bhaun line taken over by state (now in Pakistan).
Independence/Partition. Two big systems, Bengal Assam Railway and North Western Railway are no longer in India (these included the workshops of Saidpur and Mogulpura, respectively). Some 2955 route-km of NWR became the East Punjab Railway in India, leaving 8070km in the then West Pakistan. Part of the Jodhpur Railway also went to West Pakistan. Much of the Bengal Assam Railway went to the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Exchanging assets and staff dislocates all normal work, as does the large-scale movement of people between India and Pakistan.
Assam Railway is cut off from the rest of the Indian system.
Traffic patterns change drastically. Instead of Karachi to northern India, now all traffic is from Bombay.
Traffic from and to Jammu & Kashmir which used to be through Lahore (via Rawalpindi and Jammu) now had to go directly to Delhi.
There are 42 separate railway systems, including 32 lines owned by the former Indian princely states.
Baldwin supplies the first batch of prototypes of the WP class locos (classified WP/P).
TELCO starts production of boilers.
The first "integral" design coaches with underframes come into use.
Dec. 19: 56 EMU coaches ordered for Bombay suburban system from Metropolitan Cammell.
100 WG class 2-8-2 locos ordered from North British, the start of this very successful class in India.
Bhavnagar State Rly., Kathiawar State Rly., Jamnagar & Dwarka Rly., Gondal Rly., and Morvi Rly. all merged into Saurashtra Rly.
Hyderabad lines of the Jodhpur-Bikaner Rly. west of Jodhpur transferred to Pakistan Western Rly. on Aug. 1.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is taken over by the state.
Calcutta time is discontinued and Indian Standard Time (introduced in 1906) is observed everywhere in the country.
YP prototypes in trial runs.
Several diesel locos with mechanical transmissions obtained to work services in arid areas of Saurashtra (supplied by Fowler).
The Gaekwar's Baroda State Railway is merged into the BBCI Rly.
Jodhpur-Bikaner Rly. taken over by the government of the state of Rajasthan.
Railway Board adopts all-steel construction for coaches as the new standard.
Assam Rail Link finished, re-connecting Assam Railways with the rest of the Indian system wholly through Indian territory: 229 km meter-gauge line built within 2 years. Link opened to passenger traffic on Jan 26, 1950: Republic Day. For this link, the Kishanganj branch of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway was taken over and converted to MG and connected to the NER network at Barsoi. The Teesta Valley Line was taken over for MG (until Sivok), but the rest of it was devastated by floods and closed. The link spanned the Teesta, Torsha, and Sankosh rivers.
The Assam Rail Link project also saw the first use of pre-stressed reinforced concrete in railway construction in India.
Jan. 26: Chittaranjan Locomotive Works established in West Bengal for the manufacture of 120 steam locos annually. The first of the extremely successful WG class (#8401, "Deshbandhu") from CLW is commissioned on November 1, 1950.
Several Janata Express ("People's Express") trains are introduced, with only second-class accommodation.
Nov. 1: Flying Ranee introduced (resurrection of the Flying Queen from 1938).
Kurla-Mankhurd section electrified.
Zonal grouping of IR begun. SR is created on April 14, CR and WR on Nov. 5.
About 388 km of trackage is electrified (Bombay and Madras suburban lines) out of a total of about 55,000 km.
New batch of 30 EMUs from Metropolitan Cammell arrive at Bombay for CR.
One track between Kurla and Mankhurd opened for suburban steam services.
Widening of the route and re-spacing of the double lines (from 3.65m to 4.72m) on the Bhore and Thull (Thal) ghat sections completed.
(1951-1953) New Metro-Cammell EMU units for Bombay suburban trains have air brakes with the Westinghouse twin pipe system.
One track between Kurla and Mankhurd is opened for suburban steam service, although the section was electrified the previous year.
The post of Chief Commissioner of Railways is abolished; the Railway Board now adopts the practice of making the seniormost member Chairman of the board. The Chairman did not have overriding powers as the Chief Commissioner did; but the Chairman and Financial Commissioner could together override the rest of the Board.
The government of West Bengal enters into an agreement with the Calcutta Tramways Co. to take over many of its administrative functions, and to reserve the right to purchase the entire system in the future with 2 years' notice.
NR, ER, and NER zones created on April 14.
Mukerian-Pathankot line (25.8 miles) on NR opened to traffic.
Fans and lights mandated for all compartments in all classes of passenger accommodation, although this is not implemented for many years.
Kalka-Shimla Railway regauged to 2'6" gauge under guidelines from the War Department seeking to ensure uniformity in all imperial narrow gauge systems.
Kandla-Deesa MG line completed connecting the rail network to the Kandla port.
Dec. 24: Construction of Ernakulam-Quilon MG line begins.
TELCO begins production of YG locomotives.
Kurla-Mankhurd suburban trains switch to electric traction.
Howrah-Bandel-Burdwan electrification work commences (3kV DC).
Bandra-Andheri mainline tracks electrified.
Through service resumes between Amritsar and Lahore. Zafarabad-Sultanpur section dismantled during the war is restored.
Following SNCF's success with 25kV AC traction in France, IR begins to study the possibility of AC traction and ways of avoiding ill-effects of locomotive loads on the public electricity grids.
The EM/1 (later WCM-1) class of 3000V DC locos is introduced.
(Oct.) Railway Board reorganized, with the Chairman made responsible for all technical and policy matters with the status of a Secretary to the Government of India. One more member was added to the Board.
Sleeping accommodation is introduced in 3rd class coaches.
Khandwa-Hingoli MG section is sanctioned.
Integral Coach Factory set up at Perambur, with the help fo Swiss Car and Elevator Manufacturing Co. (Switzerland).
Eastern Railway split to form a new South-Eastern Railway. New Eastern Railway comprises the portion of the old East Indian Railway up to Moghalsarai. South-Eastern comprises the old Bengal-Nagpur Railway.
Fiat supplies a dozen MG railcars (YRD1, coupled in pairs).
First-class abolished, and 2nd, Inter, and 3rd classes are renamed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd classes, respectively.
August 1: South-Eastern Railway carved out of ER.
Baraset-Basirhat section of Martin's Light Railways is closed, as is the Kalighat-Falta line of McLeod's Light Railways.
Andheri-Borivili section electrified.
WL class locos supplied by Vulcan Foundry.
YDM-1, ZDM-1, and NDM-1 diesel locos are brought into use.
June 16: 18 EMU shells, underframes, and bogies ordered from Metropolitan Cammell for CR's suburban services.
Passenger fares standardized at 30 paise, 16 paise, 9 paise and 5 paise per mile for 1st, 2nd, Inter, and 3rd class, respectively. (Platform tickets are 2 annas each.)
Divisional system of administration set up or planned for the various regional railways.
New Italian-made EMU introduced for the Madras Beach - Tambaram suburban line.
The first fully air-conditioned train is introduced between Howrah and Delhi (predecessor of the Poorva Exp.). Another fully air-conditioned train (the first that is vestibuled) is introduced later between Delhi and Bombay Central. A "buffet-cum-cinema" car is introduced in the Janata Exp. between Kanpur and Jha Jha. Third-class passengers are permitted to use the dining car earlier reserved for higher classes of travel.
Gandhidham-Kandla MG line opened to traffic.
[Disaster] The Grand Trunk Express derails at Mahboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh and kills 112.
[Disaster] Madras-Tuticorin express plunges into river when bridge at Ariyalur (Tamil Nadu) is washed away in floods; 156 are killed. Railway Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri resigns accepting moral responsibility.
Suri transmission developed at RDSO.
SNCF delegation proposes 25kV AC traction for IR.
Sep. 1: India's first Route-Relay Interlocking set up at Churchgate - Marine Lines (WR).
Suburban Train Overcrowding Enquiry Commission presents its report with suggestions on improvements to Bombay suburban services.
Railway Board expanded with posts of five Additional Members, of the status of General Managers, who were to deal with the extra work arising from the Second Five-Year Plan.
The EM/2 (later WCM-2) class of 3000V DC locos is introduced.
Research, Designs, and Standards Organization (RDSO) of IR formed.
All-India numbering scheme introduced for locomotives.
Following a decision to adopt 25kV AC traction, SNCF are chosen as technical consultants for the electrification projects. An organization called the Main Line Electrification Project -- which later became the Railway Electrification Project and still later the Central Organization for Railway Electrification -- is established. Burdwan-Mughalsarai via the Grand Chord is electrified, the first 25kV AC traction section. Tatanagar-Rourkela on the Howrah-Bombay route is chosen as the next route to be electrified at 25kV AC.
Nov. 30: Electrification of Sheoraphulli--Tarakeshwar branch of Eastern Railway completed (142 km, on the 3000 V DC system).
The EM/3 (later WCM-3) class of 3000V DC locos is introduced.
Dec. 14: Electrification of main line from Howrah proceeds to Bandel.
Trial runs of BG diesel locos (WDM-1).
Indian Railways Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications established at Secunderabad.
Railway Protection Force is constituted.
Aug. 23: Gudur-Renigunta BG section opened to traffic.
WDM-1 class BG diesel locos (100 of them) are imported from Alco (US), and most were homed at Chakradharpur, for use around Tatanagar, Rourkela, Burnpur.
Electrification of Howrah--Burdwan Main Line section complete.
Jan.: Ernakulam-Quilon MG section opened.
January 15: North-Eastern Railway splits to form a new Northeast Frontier Railway.
Karnail Singh Fuel Committee recommends a mix of 50% electric traction, 25% diesel, and 25% steam until 1975.
The ubiquitous F/1 class steam locos are withdrawn from service.
WCM-2 and WCM-3 locos are converted to run on 1500V DC instead of 3000V DC as ER electrification is changed to 25kV AC.
Samdari-Raniwara section extended to Bhildi.
A coach washing machine is procured for the EMU carshed at Bombay Central.
Signal and Telecom Workshops established at Podanur.
WAM-1 locos from Kraus-Maffei, Alsthom, Krupp, Brugeoise et Nivelles, and SFAC are brought into service. (Aug. 1: First WAM-1, "Jagjivan Ram" is commissioned.)
December 15: The first scheduled train runs using 25kV AC traction -- Kendposi-Rajkharswan on SER.
First steam loco designed and built entirely by CLW (WT class, "Chittaranjan" was the first one).
The Permanent Way Training School is set up (later to become IRICEN).
Fans and lights finally become standard fixtures in all passenger coaches, including Third Class.
Rajendra Pul (bridge) across the Ganga at Mokameh opened; this connects the MG North-Eastern Railway to the BG network of Eastern Railway with access to the Calcutta Port. River Brahmaputra is bridged at Pandu.
The Khandwa-Hingoli section is completed, which for the first time links the MG networks in northern and southern India, going across the Tapti and Purna rivers and the Satpura and Melghat ranges. The section is open only for goods traffic at first (on November 1).
Sealdah Division, Asansol-Gomoh-Gaya is electrified at about this time (dates uncertain).
In the early 1960's, IR begins replacing copper wiring and electrical equipment with aluminium.
Also in the early 1960's, vestibuling of long-distance coaches became widespread.
Some time in the 1960's, the Salem-Bangalore MG line is opened on the alignment of the former Hosur-Dharmapuri NG line which was decommissioned in 1941.
CLW starts producing 1500 V DC electric locos. The first one is "Lokmanya" (a WCM-5), commissioned on October 14.
Diesel Loco Works (DLW), Varanasi, is set up
Khandwa-Hingoli MG link is open to passenger traffic.
Jamalpur Workshops begin producing rail cranes and electric arc furnaces.
Kunzru Committee investigating level-crossing accidents and other mishaps issues many recommendations for improving safety.
Initial order of WDM-2 locos reaches India (supplied by Alco).
Electrification reaches Mughalsarai from Gaya at about this time (dates uncertain).
Bukhtiarpur-Bihar line of Martin's Light Railway taken over by IR and under conversion to BG.
First MG diesels from DLW. First Diesel-hydraulic shunters from TELCO.
Siliguri connected to New Jalpaiguri.
Saraighat Bridge across the Brahmaputra near Amingaon is completed, connecting the two parts of the MG network in Assam to the north and south of the river.
Delhi trams stop operating.
Jamalpur workshops begin producing 'Jamalpur jacks'
Golden Rock workshops begin manufacturing wagons.
CLW starts producing 25 kV AC electric locos. Nov. 16: The first one is "Bidhan" (a WAG-1), the first entirely India-built electric loco.
Mar. 12: CLW also builds its first WP class loco.
Sahai Committee investigates the benefits of electrification and concludes that with the prices of diesel and electricity at that time, the break-even point where electrification was worthwhile was at 6.9 million tonne km per route km a year.
April: Sambalpur-Titlagarh and Bimalgarh-Kiriburu lines opened, facilitating movement of ore from mines at Kiriburu.
December: Alco personnel at DLW to train local staff.
All 8-car rakes in Mumbai converted to 9-car rakes, the standard formation for a long time thereafter.
Early experiments carried out to test the feasibility of 140km/h and 160km/h running for passenger trains.
Jan.: Diesel Locomotive Works starts production of WDM-2 locos, about 40 every year at first. The first 12 are assembled from kits supplied by Alco, and thereafter production is with mostly indigenous components. The first one from DLW is "Lal Bahadur Shastri", commissioned in January.
Diva-Panvel line opened.
Taj Express from New Delhi to Agra is introduced to allow tourists to visit Agra and return to New Delhi the same day. Running at 105km/h it brought down the travel time on this route to 2h 35m. It is hauled by a WP locomotive.
First AC loco, a WAG-1, built by CLW.
Kalyan-Kasara/Karjat section switches to using 6-car rakes from 4-car rakes.
CLW starts manufacturing traction motors (MG-1580 model).
March 31: Bombay trams stop operating.
Dec 23: Boat Mail at Dhanushkodi is washed away by large waves in a cyclone and 150 or more passengers are drowned. The official death count was about 128, but the number of unreserved passengers could not be determined.
Railway Board gets a post of Additional Member for vigilance.
Taj Exp. runs at 105 km/h with a steam loco. The Southern Express (21 Dn/22 Up) train is introduced between New Delhi and Madras.
Asansol-Bareilly Passenger is the first long-distance train on ER hauled by an AC loco.
Howrah-Madras mail is the first one dieselized on SER (has a WDM-1).
Madras-Tambaram-Villupuram is converted from 1.5kV DC traction to 25kV AC traction, as is the Madras Beach - Tambaram suburban section. The mainline tracks between Madras and Tambaram are also electrified (25kV AC).
Fast freight services ("Super Express") are introduced on several routes, especially those linking the four major metropolitan centres, and other important cities such as Ahmedabad and Bangalore.
First containerized freight services started, between Bombay and Ahmedabad.
Electrification of suburban tracks around Calcutta (Sealdah-North, Sealdah-South sections) covering 347 km completed with the 25 kV AC system. Several DC sections converted to AC in the Madras and Calcutta areas. The Igatpuri-Bhusaval section is partially electrified (Igatpuri to Nandgaon). Total electrified route km about 2,400.
Oct. 2: South-Central Railway formed from portions of Southern Railway (Vijayawada, Guntakal, Hubli divisions)
Brindavan Exp. is dieselized. Flying Ranee is now the fastest medium-haul train (Bombay Central - Surat).
Deccan Queen gets a new ICF rake of anti-telescopic coaches.
ICF begins production of YAU1 MG EMUs (4-car units).
Ahmadpur-Katwa and Burdwan-Katwa lines of McLeod's Light Railways transferred to ER.
Panvel-Apta line opened.
(Late 1960s) Long-welded rail (LWR) is introduced in many areas.
May: Kirandul-Kottavalasa line completed, allowing ore from the Bailadilla iron mines (and Bacheli) near Kirandul to be brought to the east coast and connecting to the main rail network near Waltair. This is the highest broad-gauge line in the world and sees some of the heaviest freight loads of IR.
Ajanta Exp. (Kacheguda - Manmad), the fastest MG train in India with an average speed of 42.5 km/h.
Diesel Loco Shed created at Ratlam.
Second-class sleeper coaches for select trains (GT Exp., Frontier Mail, Howrah-Madras Mail, Bombay-Madras Exp., Delhi-Lucknow Mail, etc.).
First diesel loco with Indian equipment rolls out of DLW. WDS-5 shunters from Alco are introduced.
CLW begins work on production of diesel locos, starting with the WDS-4 class shunters.
August: Conversion of Howrah-Burdwan main line and Tarakeshwar branch near Calcutta from 3000V DC to 25kV AC finished.
CR runs its first superfast goods train from Wadi Bunder to Itarsi (the "Freight Chief").
Bankura-Damodar River line of McLeod's Light Railways transferred to SER.
Bombay-Delhi containerized freight services introduced.
Pokharan-Jaisalmer line constructed.
Jul. 19: Calcutta Tramways Co. is taken over by the government of West Bengal. (Assets vested with government in 1976.)
Pakistan Rlys. transfers the permanent way assets from Mirjawa to Zahidan, on the former Nushki Extension Rly., to Iranian Rlys.
Jan. 6: CLW's first diesel-hydraulic (WDS-4) shunter.
Lakheri-Bayana section is doubled.
Punjab Mail dieselized between Igatpuri and Jhansi.
Dadar Terminus inaugurated. (First train out is the Dadar-Nagpur Exp. hauled by a WCM4; other trains using this station are Poona Passenger and Poona Exp.)
Allahabad / Kanpur - Mughalsarai section gets electric traction (AC).
Private goods consolidating agents are permitted to operate, thus allowing all manner of goods to be transported by standardized containers.
Pokharan-Jaisalmer link built in the aftermath of the '65 hostilities with Pakistan.
Nov.: First indigenous MG diesel loco (YDM-4 "Hubli") from DLW.
State of signalling: 2 route-relay interlocking systems in use, and 4 panel interlocking systems.
March 1: Howrah -- New Delhi Rajdhani Express begins running, covering the 1441 km distance in 17 hrs 20 min (was previously 24 hours). Max. speed of 120 km/h with technical halts at Kanpur, Mughalsarai, and Gomoh.
Total of about 3,500 route km electrified. Howrah-Kharagpur section electrification is complete, as is the Igatpuri-Bhusaval section.
Salem-Bangalore MG section completed.
Golconda Exp. introduced between Vijayawada and Secunderabad as the fastest steam-hauled train in the country. Average speed is 58 km/h.
Divisional system introduced for NER.
Madras - Tambaram suburban section gets a Centralized Traffic Control center at Egmore.
Bombay-Madras Exp. (11 Dn / 12 Up) is dieselized between Poona and Madras.
Golden Rock Workshop begins operation overhauling diesel locos.
Metropolitan Transport Project division set up to look into the problem of urban transit in Calcutta.
Sep.: Jhund-Kandla BG line opened, providing a BG connection to now expanded major port of Kandla.
The very successful WDS-4B shunters are introduced by CLW.
Railway Minister Panampilly Govinda Menon makes the first proposal for a 'West Coast Railway' -- the idea for what eventually became the Konkan Railway -- although this is not acted upon.
1 Up / 2 Dn Bombay-Howrah Mail via Nagpur is dieselized; it is hauled by an electric loco between Howrah and Rourkela and between Igatpuri and Bombay.
June 30: The last WG is manufacturered by CLW (WG 10560 Antim Sitara).
CLW produces its first WAM-4 locos.
Shahdara-Saharanpur line of Martin's Light Railways closed.
Across the border, Pakistan's first electric services begin on June 25 (Lahore-Khanewal, 268km).
Oct. : One line of the Howrah network of the Calcutta trams is closed.
WCG-2 and WCAM-1 design prototypes are tested.
Farakka railway bridge (one of the longest prestressed concrete bridges) is opened and the Assam Mail is routed through it, reducing its running time by five hours.
Jan 1: Howrah-Amta, Howrah-Sheokhala sections of Martin's Light Railway closed.
The Permanent Way Training School becomes the IR Institute for Advanced Track Technology.
Suri and Nayar begin production of diesel locos.
CLW begins production of TAO-659 traction motors.
Pathankot - Jammu Tawi section opened (construction of parts of this began in 1965 after the war with Pakistan).
Dec. : Second line of the Howrah network of the Calcutta trams is closed.
IR extends some operations for the military into Pakistan, during the India-Pakistan war, from the Barmer area of Rajasthan, using the Munabao - Khokraphar MG route.
Electrification from Howrah reaches Tundla (near Agra).
Calcutta Metro construction work begins .
Petrol trams in Karachi (Pakistan) cease to operate.
May 17: The Bombay Rajdhani begins service, hauled by a WDM2. The trip takes 19 hours and 5 minutes.
Feb. 5: CLW's last steam loco, YG 3573.
Liluah workshops stop manufacturing coaches.
Railway Board gets a post of Additional Member for electrical engineering.
Jan. 26: Jayanti Janata Express introduced between New Delhi and Ernakulam/Mangalore, the first "classless" (all coaches second-class) train.
First marine ISO container handled in India at Cochin (although not by rail).
May: Nimtollah (Nimtala) Ghat line of the Calcutta trams is closed.
Dec. : Third line of the Howrah network of the Calcutta trams is closed. Total trackage now at 62km.
CLW begins work on production of dual-power WCAM-1 locos.
RITES formed for research and consultancy services.
(Mid-1970s) IRS standards for rails are laid down (52kg/m for BG, 75lb/yd for MG).
Third-class accommodation abolished (1972?).
May 3: A total strike by railway workers including the All India Railwaymen's Federation (led by its president at the time, George Fernandes, later Union Minister for Railways) paralyzes IR completely; tens of thousands are jailed (some sources say 28,000, others put the number as high as 70,000). This event was among the factors that led to the imposition of a state of emergency in India by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in June 1975.
Barauni - Samastipur - Muzaffarpur BG line.
First export order for IR -- DLW sends some YDM4 units to Tanzania.
Jan. 30: First dual-system electric loco (WCAM-1 class) from CLW, "Vallabh", is commissioned.
February: The first of the widely used WDS-6 class shunters from DLW.
June: Bombay's Churchgate station is the first to be provided with a special 50Hz AC supply unit to keep its station clocks accurately set; the clocks' error dropped to about 1 second in 8 days.
Nov.: Ernakulam-Quilon MG line converted to BG.
Charbagh Workshop of NR takes on diesel loco maintenance.
Railway Board gets a post of Additional Member for health.
Jan. : IR wins its first export contract, for the supply of 15 YDM locomotives (to be built in DLW, Varanasi) to Tanzania.
(August) Electrification reaches New Delhi, making the New Dehli - Howrah route the first trunk route to be completely electrified (AC traction).
IRCON formed as a separate organization from RITES, for railway construction projects overseas.
Tamilnadu Express introduced.
The Samjhauta Express begins running between India and Pakistan. Freight trains also begin running between the two countries. The rail link agreement for these trains is valid for 3 years (and later periodically renewed).
Aug. 5: Entire Howrah-Delhi trunk route is electrified.
Sep. 13: Trivandrum-Ernakulam BG converted line opened to traffic.
Smoking is banned in Mumbai suburban trains.
Nov. 8 : All assets of the Calcutta Tramway Co. are now vested with the government of West Bengal.
Feb. 1: National Rail Museum opened at New Delhi.
Guntakal division of SR made part of SCR, and Solapur division of SCR made part of CR (Oct. 2: Pune - Shahabad is transferred from SCR to CR; Shahabad - Wadi is transferred in 1978. Daund and Kurduwadi sheds now under CR.)
(Late 1970s) Concrete sleepers come into use.
DLW manufactures prototype of high-speed bogie rated for 170km/h service.
March: DLW's 1000th locomotive.
Railway Convention Committee meets.
Jan. 1: The eight posts of Additional Members of the Railway Board are abolished. The number of Advisors to the Board rises to 16.
Arrah-Sasaram line of Martin's Light Railways closed.
Plans drawn up for Wheel and Axle Plant.
Raj Committee revisits the issue of the economics of electrification; since electricity costs had risen faster than diesel prices, the break-even point for electrification to be viable was now at 30 million gross tonne km per route km a year.
March 1: Shahabad - Wadi transferred from SCR to CR.
CORE (Central Organization for Railway Electrification) formed.
Madras-Gummidipundi (April 13) and Madras-Thiruvellore sections (Nov. 23) electrified providing a second electrified corridor for SR. Madras Beach - Korukkupet - Madras Central is also electrified (Aug. 9).
Nagercoil-Tirunelveli and Trivandrum-Kanyakumari via Nagercoil opened.
May 20: Mangalore - Hassan MG line opened to traffic.
Oct. 2: Trivandrum division of SR created.
AC 2-tier coaches are introduced .
Viramgam - Hapa MG section converted to BG.
National Energy Policy defined, which recommends increasing the pace of railway electrification and a goal is set for 1000 route km to be electrified every year.
First WDM-2 with AC-DC transmission.
Oct. 1: First WAP-1 locomotive commissioned (variant of the WAM-4R); used for the Rajdhani service.
Third Ghat line opened on the north-east of Mumbai.
Diesel Component Works, Patiala, is set up.
July 27: Bangalore division of SR created.
The first ISO container is hauled by IR, to the new Inland Container Depot at Bangalore.
IR contracts with BARC to develop energy-efficient EMUs for for Mumbai, leading to the development of chopper-controlled EMUs.
[Disaster] June 6: Possibly the worst accident in IR's history: 7 coaches of a passenger train fall off a bridge into the Bagmati river near Samastipur. There has never been a satisfactory explanation for the cause of the disaster, with divers reasons such as a sudden storm, or extreme braking on sighting oxen on the track, being offered for the accident. 212 bodies were recovered from the river, but it is almost certain that there were many more persons who perished in this disaster. Unofficial death toll at over 800.
Oct. - The Taj Express gets diesel locomotives (WDM-2).
Sep. 3: Thiruvellore - Arakkonam section electrified.
Lucknow-Muzaffarpur BG line.
DLW gets export order for 15 YDM-4 locos to Vietnam.
Howrah Rajdhani is hauled by a WAP-1 loco.
SR eliminates steam on all of its regular (non-tourist) lines.
Guntakal-Bangalore BG conversion.
IR begins studies on telecom, IT, and freight information management upgrades.
Feb. 10: 'Great Indian Rover', a tourist train for Buddhist sites, with a specially built rake, launched.
Wheel and Axle Plant, Yelahanka, begins production.
Engineering survey begun for Mangalore-Madgaon line.
Oct. 24: First phase of Calcutta Metro from Esplanade to Bhowanipur (now the Netaji Bhawan station) done, inaugural run of metro.
Hapa-Okha MG section converted to BG.
The Mumbai Rajdhani becomes the first long-distance train with air brakes.
Jan. 22: CLW's first loco of the WAG-5B class, at first denoted WAM-4B, is commissioned.
May: DLW's 2000th locomotive produced.
May: First shipment of 15 YDM-4 locos to Vietnam from DLW.
Aug. 11: Electric trains begin running between Madras and Katpadi.
MUTP-I completed, with several improvements to the Mumbai suburban train services.
New railway line from Guwahati to New Bongaigaon opened.
Prinsep Ghat - Dum Dum Jn. section of Calcutta Circular Railway commissioned.
Railway Reform Committee suggests creation of 4 new zones to cope with growing freight traffic.
Dehri-Rohtas Light Railway closed.
Scope of engineering survey work for Mangalore-Madgaon is extended to cover the entire west coast section from Mangalore to Roha, for the proposed Konkan Railway.
Railway Convention Committee meets.
SR becomes the first zone to eliminate BG steam operations.
Charbagh Workshop of NR takes on electric loco maintenance.
Apr. 17 : Maniktala - Ultadanga section of Calcutta Tramways built.
[Disaster] Feb 23: 50 people killed in a train fire near Rajnandgaon, MP.
[Disaster] Jun 13: 38 people killed, many injured, when an express train rams into a goods train near Agra.
Computerized ticketing and reservation introduced, at New Delhi (pilot project begun in 1985).
Futwah-Islampur section of Martin's Light Railways closed.
Apta-Roha line opened.
IRCOT (IR's telecom division) founded.
12-car rakes used in trial runs for suburban EMU services on WR.
The Taj Express gets electric locomotives.
Howrah Rajdhani becomes air-braked (the train is hauled by a single WAP-1).
Dec. 31 : Behala line of Calcutta Tramways extended to Joka.
[Disaster] March 10: 50 people killed and 200 injured in a train collision near Khagaria, Bihar.
[Disaster] Aug 6: 52 killed and 35 injured as two coaches of an express train fall into a stream after colliding with a stationary goods train in Palamau district, Bihar.
Bombay-Delhi WR route is fully electrified.
January 4: First WAP-3 loco , 'Jawahar', commissioned.
The rarely seen WDM-7 locos introduced (June). On NG, NDM-5 locos introduced.
Automatic signalling based on axle counters introduced by CR on Palwal-Mathura section.
July 25: First solid-state interlocking (SSI) system in operation at Srirangam.
April 14: Madras-Avadi EMU services begin.
Railway Coach Factory, Kapurthala, is set up.
Work begins on the Narnarayan Setu road and rail bridge over the Brahmaputra at Jogighopa. (Foundation stone laid in 1983.)
June: An early system for computerized reservations begins operating at Mumbai VT for a few trains (pre-CONCERT).
July: Early standalone computerized reservation system begins operations at Chennai.
October: Early standalone computerized reservation system begins operations at Kolkata.
Electrification stands at 7275 route-km.
(Dates uncertain - 1985-1988) Further closings of the Calcutta trams - High Court branch and the line over the Howrah Bridge to Howrah Station are shut down; there is now not trackage west of BBD Bag (Dalhousie Square). Behala line on the Diamond Harbour Road is extended to Joka (15km) and a new line built to Ultadanga (originally intended to reach the airport).
[Disaster] July 8: 53 are killed as Dakshin Exp. derails near Macherial, AP.
[Disaster] Rockfort Express plunges into river when Ariyalur bridge is blown up by terrorists. Over 75 killed.
WAG5HB locos from BHEL, WAG6A from ABB, and WAG6B, WAG6C from Hitachi brought into service, mostly for the heavy freight routes of SER.
The first Shatabdi Express is introduced between New Delhi and Jhansi (later extended to Bhopal), and becomes the fastest train in the country.
Feb. 1: Entire Bombay-Delhi route is electrified.
March 31: First (ICF-designed) coaches produced by the newly set-up Railway Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala
Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) created.
Ruthiyai-Bina section transferred from WR to CR.
CLW begins production of Hitachi-designed traction motors HS-15250A for WAG-5 and WAP-4 locos.
Aug. 6: Karur-Dindigul BG line opened.
August: Pilot project for the NTES train status enquiry system begun.
SER introduces the 'Locotrol' system to operate several (usually up to 5) locos (then WDM-2's) in MU mode to haul heavy freight trains on the Kirandul-Kottavalasa line.
May: Kirandul-Kottavalasa line completed, allowing ore from the Bailadilla iron mines (and Bacheli) near Kirandul to be brought to the east coast and connecting to the main rail network near Waltair. This is the highest broad-gauge line in the world and sees some of the heaviest freight loads of IR.
[Disaster] July 8: Bangalore-Trivandrum Island Express derails and plunges into Ashtamudi lake near Kollam, Kerala, killing 107. It is said that a freak tornado was the cause.
Systematic renumbering of train services using 'universal' numbers (new 4-digit scheme).
Railways Act, 1989, updates the legal framework for railways in India after nearly a century, replacing the Railways Act of 1890.
Work begins on the Konkan Railway.
The second Shatabdi Express is introduced between New Delhi and Kanpur (later extended to Lucknow).
The Indrayani Express between Bombay and Pune is introduced (as well as the Pragati Express between the same pair of cities).
Aug. 29, 1989: The IRFCA electronic mailing list for IR railfans is born. :-)
Rail Spring Karkhana set up for production of coil springs for IR.
July: Early standalone computerized reservation system begins operations at Secunderabad.
Oct. 15: Ernakulam-Alleppey BG line is opened.
[Disaster] April 18: 75 killed as Karnataka Exp. derails near Lalitpur, UP.
[Disaster] Nov. 1: 48 killed as Udyan Abha Toofan Exp. derails at Sakaldiha, Bihar.
Bhusaval-Itarsi section has electric services -- Bombay-Delhi CR route is fully electrified.
Work progresses on Mangalore-Udupi section of KR.
Bombay Rajdhani gets an air-braked rake.
Computerized reservations (PRS) introduced at Secunderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kolkata in addition to New Delhi (this was the early version before the CONCERT system was developed to interconnect these).
First Self-Printing Ticket Machine (SPTM) introduced, at New Delhi.
Victoria Terminus gets a double-discharge platform.
[Disaster] April 16: 70 killed in fire on local shuttle train near Patna.
[Disaster] June 6: 36 killed in collision at Gollaguda, AP.
[Disaster] June 25: 60 killed as a goods train rams into passenger train at Mangra, Daltonganj, Bihar.
[Disaster] Oct. 9: 47 killed when fire breaks out on the Kakatiya Fast Passenger near Cherpalli, AP, between Hyderabad and Warangal. The fire is said to have been lit deliberately by miscreants.
Work begins on Udupi-Roha section of KR.
RCF begins production of air-braked coaches and coaches with roof-mounted AC units.
Railway Convention Committee meets.
July 16: The hospital train, 'Lifeline Express' (Jeevan Rekha), begins operation.
All platforms at Victoria Terminus converted to the double-discharge kind.
Kurla Terminus opened.
Gauge conversion begins on Sawai Madhopur - Jaipur - Phulera, Chhapra - Aunrihar, and Bhildi - Mahesana - Viramgam sections.
Some codes with 4 or fewer letters in their names are changed to coincide with the station names.
[Disaster] Oct. 31: 30 killed as Karnataka Exp. derails near Makalidurga, Karnataka.
[Disaster] Dec. 7: Train derailment in north India kills 25.
Palace on Wheels changed to a broad-gauge train.
March 29: First of the WAG-7 class locos, 'Shantidan', from CLW commissioned.
March: Bangalore - Jolarpettai section electrified.
May 8: Churchgate-Virar Ladies' Special is the first IR train reserved exclusively for women.
August: DLW's 3000th locomotive produced.
Nov. 20: Alleppey-Kayankulam BG line opened.
Liluah workshops begin producing DMUs.
ECIL supplies the first chopper control equipment to CR for use with Mumbai EMUs.
RDSO/ICF develop high-capacity (250kVA) power cars for Rajdhanis. RDSO develops bidirectional BG railbus design.
Mumbai suburban services extended to Vashi.
Bangalore Rajdhani introduced.
Gauge conversion of Salempur - Barhaz Bazar, Manmad - Aurangabad, Bikaner - Merta Road.
[Disaster] April 7: At least 20 killed when the Bitragunta-Vijayawada Passenger passes a signal at danger and rams into a stationary good strain at Tsundru South Cabin, near Tenali.
[Disaster] Sep. 5: 41 killed when a Nagpur-Jamshedpur train rams into a stationary goods train at night near Raigarh, MP.
Work begins on installing 2*25kV "dual" system of AC traction on the Bina-Katni-Annuppur-Bishrampur/Chirimiri sections of ER and SER.
Secunderabad-Mahboobnagar MG section is converted to BG, removing an important link in the MG system towards the north from Secunderabad.
AC 3-tier coaches introduced.
Sleeper Class introduced on IR, separate from Second Class.
April 16: Bangalore-Mysore BG line opened.
Railway Capital Fund established.
CLW stops (apparently) the production of diesel shunters.
The formerly pre-eminent steam loco shed at Bhusawal is shut down and the last steam loco homed at Bhusawal is withdrawn on Dec. 16.
The first 'chopper' EMU rake is introduced in Mumbai.
Mumbai suburban services extended to Nerul and Belapur.
[Disaster] April 20: At least 15 killed when the Ranchi-Lohardagga Passenger derails 40km, from Ranchi.
[Disaster] July 16: 60 killed in accident near Darbhanga, Bihar.
[Disaster] Sep. 21: 71 killed when Kota-Bina passenger train collides with goods train near Chhabra, Rajasthan.
Royal Orient train introduced by WR and Gujarat.
CLW stops production of diesel-hydraulic locos.
July 11: First MEMU service, Asansol - Burdwan.
August 27: CLW's first WAP-4 loco, 'Ashok', commissioned.
August 22: First WDM-2C loco commissioned.
August 31: Chikjajur-Chitradurg-Rayadurg line converted to BG.
September: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Secunderabad.
Manmad-Aurangabad MG line converted to BG.
Feb.: Jaipur - Sawai Madhopur MG line converted to BG.
Dec.: Ajmer-Delhi MG line converted to BG.
December: Telephone-based phone inquiry (IVRS) introduced.
Gauge conversion of Mau - Shahganj (?), Chaparmukh - Haibargaon.
Secunderabad-Mahboobnagar gauge conversion breaks one of the important north-south MG freight connections.
[Disaster] May 3: 35 killed as Narayanadri Exp. rams into a tractor near Nalgonda, AP.
[Disaster] Nov: Coaches of the Bombay-Howrah Mail catch fire, several killed Kerosene fuel, LPG cylinders, and stoves were found to have been carried on to the coach by passengers.
[Disaster] Dec. 1: The freak incident in which a combination of a loco fire and human error caused the rake of the Indrayani Express, full of passengers, to roll away on its own from Thakurwadi to Karjat, saved from becoming a fatal accident only when it slowed down when the incline changed.
January 16: First regularly scheduled services on trains hauled by locos using the 2.25kv 'dual' system of traction (Bina-Katni on CR).
January: First prototype of the CONCERT passenger reservation system developed at Secunderabad.Gauge conversion of Purna-Nanded / Manmad-Mudkhed MG section breaks the MG network's north-south connection. (Mudkhed-Secunderabad is left as an isolated MG line.)
Khodiyar-Mehsana MG section converted to BG.
DLW and GM sign contract for technology transfer for GM's GT46MAC and 710 series locos, and the purchase of 31 GT46MAC/GT46PAC locos.
April: The first WDP-1 loco is commissioned.
April 2: New Madras Beach - Tambaram BG line.
July 18: The first WDG-2 loco is commissioned.
December 6: Last official BG steam service (Jalandhar-Ferozepur).
Hassan-Mangalore MG line dismantled in parts for gauge conversion.
Miraj-Bangalore line converted to BG.
Gauge conversion of Hissar-Rewari, Rewari-Jaipur, Phulera-Marwar, Jodhpur-Jaisalmer, Chikjajur-Hubli, Hubli-Londa, Londa-Miraj, Hospet-Hubli, Donakonda-Giddalur, Muzaffarpur-Raxaul, Birpur-Shimoga, Parbhani-Purna, Arjuni-Wadsa, Purulia-Kotshila (planned completion dates -- some may have taken longer).
Sep. 27: End-to-end through service on the Calcutta Metro begins (Tollygunge to Dum Dum) with 16 of the planned 17 stations.
Delhi-Panipat MEMU service begins.
Eleven WAP-5 locos imported from ABB (AdTranz), the first locos with 3-phase AC technology in India.
IR begins a big push to convert passenger coaches from 24V electricals to 110V systems.
Dec. : DLW exports 2 WDM-2 locos to Sri Lanka.
Pune division of CR created.
Mumbai's Harbour line is extended to Khandeshwar.
Diva - Veer DMU services inaugurated.
IR launches 'Exhibition-on-Wheels', a special train with various IR-related material forming a travelling exhibition.
IR signs agreement with Linke Hoffman Busch (LHB, now part of Alstom) for supply of, and technology transfer for, passenger coaches.
[Disaster] May 14: 52 killed as Madras-Kanyakumari Exp. collides with goods train near Salem.
[Disaster] June 1: 73 killed in two separate accidents (West Bengal, Orissa).
[Disaster] Aug. 20: 302 killed as Delhi-bound Purushottam Express rams into the stationary Kalindi Express at Firozabad, UP. Some sources claim the death toll was 400+. This is India's second worst railway disaster going by the death toll (the 1981 accident in which a train fell into a river in Bihar being the worst).
Six WAG-9 locos and 16 more in kit form imported from ABB (AdTranz), the second batch of 3-phase AC locos for IR. First one is commissioned on Dec. 27.
Feb. 11: The last of the 17 stations of the first phase of the Calcutta Metro (Mahatma Gandhi Road) is commissioned.
March 4: Victoria Terminus is renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
April: DLW exports 10 YDM-4 locos to Bangladesh.
July: Six new railway zones proposed and approved in principle.
Sep.: The Union Cabinet approves the first phase of the Delhi Metro.
September: CONCERT system of computerized reservations fully deployed at New Delhi.
Telecom cubicle provided on the Mumbai Rajdhani for on-board telephone and fax service.
[Disaster] April 18: 60 killed as Gorakhpur-Gonda passenger train rams into stationary goods train at Domingarh near Gorakhpur, UP.
[Disaster] May 14: 35 in a bus killed as Ernakulam-Kayamkulam Express collides with the bus at an unmanned level crossing near Alappuzha, Kerala.
[Disaster] May 25: 25 killed when Allahabad-bound passenger train rams into a tractor-trailer at an unmanned level crossing near Varanasi.
[Disaster] Dec. 30: 33 killed in bomb blast on Brahmaputra Mail between Kokrajhar and Fakiragram in lower Assam.
Freight services begin on Konkan Railway.
Third Godavari bridge built, to replace the first one built in 1897, near Rajahmundry.
RCF begins manufacture of MEMU coaches.
Mehsana-Palanpur MG section converted to BG.
Ahmedabad-Ajmer MG section converted to BG.
Radio communication between driver and guard introduced on the Delhi - Mughalsarai route.
An experimental system interconnecting Vyasarapadi, Korukkupet, and Washermanpet stations' signalling systems to Basin Bridge Jn. (Chennai) using fibre-optic links is in place.
October 18: Fairy Queen back in regular revenue service.
Madras MRTS begins running with service between Beach and Luz.
Oct. 19: Beach - Thirumayilai (Mylapore) construction completed.
DMU services begin on KR (Karwar-Pernem).
Jan. 11: Salem - Bangalore BG conversion.
DLW exports one WDS-6 shunter to Puttlam Cement Co. in Sri Lanka, and 6 WDM-2 locos to Sri Lanka Railways.
CONCOR buys 1300 BFKI flat wagons from IR in an effort to increase its container transport capacity.
April 30: The infamous 'Platinum Pass' is instituted, which allowed all current and past Railway Board members to free travel on IR by Air-conditioned First Class. This perquisite was later withdrawn on court order following a successful public interest lawsuit.
WDM-2 #16859 of Ernakulam shed becomes the first Indian loco to get air-conditioning as a permanent feature (excluding locos specially provided with such equipment just for the 'beauty contests').
Erstwhile Moradabad steam shed is dismantled to make way for a Concor depot.
[Disaster] July 8: 33 killed in bomb blast on passenger train at Lehra Khanna station in Bhatinda district, Punjab.
[Disaster] July 28: 12 killed in collision between Karnataka Exp. and Himsagar Exp. near Faridabad, Haryana, near New Delhi.
[Disaster] Sep. 14: At least 81 killed as five coaches of Ahmedabad-Howrah Express derail and fall into a river at Bilaspur, MP. Some sources claim a death toll of 120.
Konkan Railway construction is completed, and the first passenger train is flagged off on Jan. 26.
IR begins upgrading communication links along high traffic routes to optic fibre.
November 14: CLW begins production of indigenous versions of WAG-9 (first one is "Navyug").
April 29: CLW also manufactures its 2500th electric loco (a WAG-7, "Swarna Abha").
June 14: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Kolkata.
10 YDM-4's sent to Tanzania under a 10-year full-service lease by RITES.
Diva-Panvel doubling inaugrated; EMU services begin from Panvel.
Coupon Validating Machines (CVMs) introduced at Mumbai CST.
Aug. 22: Tambaram-Tiruchirappalli BG conversion.
Thanjavur- Tiruchirappalli BG conversion.
Oct. : The first WDP-2 (#15501) is commissioned.
'Buddha Parikrama', a tourist train for Buddhist sites, launched.
A seventh new railway zone (in addition to the six proposed in 1996) is proposed.
[Disaster] April 4: 11 killed as Howrah-Danapur Express derails between between Fatuha and Bankaghat stations.
[Disaster] April 24: 24 killed, 32 injured as a goods train with 15 wagons collides with the Manmad-Kacheguda Exp. at Parli Vaijanath (Beed) station, MP.
[Disaster] Aug. 13: 19 killed, 37 injured as the Chennai-Madurai Exp. collides with a bus at an unmanned level crossing on the New Karur - Salem bypass.
[Disaster] Sep. 24: 20 killed (14 children) and 33 injured as a locomotive collides with a bus at an unmanned level crossing near Bottalapalem, AP.
[Disaster] Nov. 26: At least 212 killed Jammu Tawi - Sealdah Express rams into three derailed carriages of the Amritsar-bound Golden Temple mail at Khanna, near Ludhiana, Punjab.
WDG-4 locos imported and homed at Hubli.
Briganza Ghat opened to traffic [10/99] with Vasco - Madgaon - Londa services.
NDM-6 locos procured for the Matheran and Darjeeling Himalayan railways.
WDP-2 locos in service on Konkan Railway.
Jan. 11: CLW begins manufacture of 3-phase AC traction motors 6FRA 6068 for WAG-9 locos.
Jan. 11: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Mumbai.
The seventh new zone (South East Central) is approved in principle.
Apr. 12: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Chennai. The complete networked nationwide system became operational on April 18.
July 2: MRVC incorporated to execute suburban rail projects in the Mumbai area.
Sep 19: HGS 26761 hauls a train from Howrah to Tribeni and back.
Nov 10: ICF's first stainless steel coach prototype.
Dec 2: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway becomes the second railway site in the world to be designated a World Heritage site.
New diesel locos introduced on New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling section of the DHR.
Jan. 6: Tiruchirappalli-Dindigul BG conversion.
DLW turns out its 4000th locomotive.
Credit cards accepted for booking tickets and reservations in some stations (including Mumbai CST).
Konkan Railway begins roll-on roll-off (RORO) freight services on the Kolad-Verna section.
[Disaster] June 4: 12 killed and 60 injured when 14 coaches of the Secunderabad-bound Godavari Exp. derail near Kazipet.
[Disaster] July 16: 17 killed and 200 injured as Delhi-bound Grand Trunk Express collides with derailed wagons of a goods train near Mathura.
[Disaster] Aug. 2: The Gaisal disaster, a head-on collision between the Guwahati-bound Awadh Assam Express and the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail at Gaisal in North Dinajpur district, West Bengal, kills 288 persons and injures 360. One of India's worst rail accident ever, it was caused by a signalling and routing error that put the two trains on the same track. Only the Purushottam Exp. tragedy (1995) and the 1981 disaster of a train falling into a river were worse.
February: Indian Railways' web site deployed.
Feb: 10 YDM-4's are reconditioned at Golden Rock and sent to Myanmar.
Feb. 24: CLW begins manufacturing ABB's 6FXA 7059 3-phase traction motors.
Feb: New lightweight passenger coaches supplied by Alsthom LHB.
May 10: First WAP-7 locomotive, 'Navkiran', from CLW.
May 17: First indigenous WAP-5 (named 'Navodit') from CLW.
May: Diesel-hauling of DHR train inaugurated.
Bankura-Midnapore section electrified and MEMU services begin (June 30). MEMU services also begin on Arakkonam-Jolarpettai section (May 22).
June 30: First WAG-9H loco, 'Navshakti', #31030, from CLW.
Steam: Ooty 'X' class loco rebuilt and successfully steamed and run on trials (February). WP 7161 steamed for filming a motion picture, at Bombay; WP 7015 steamed, takes short train around New Delhi before returning to NRM (February). Steam-hauled train from Dehradun to Harrawala to commemorate the centenary of the Doon Railway (May).
CONCOR starts dedicated container services: Shalimar - Chennai, Shalimar - Hyderabad, Cossipore - New Delhi.
All-women 'Tejaswini' squads of ticket-checkers and police officers introduced for Mumbai suburban services.
July 23: Trichur-Ernakulam section electrified.
Oct. 30: Villupuram-Trichy linked by optical fibre telecom link.
Nov. 22: New BG line between Penukonda and Puttaparthi.
Successful trials with high-speed (100km/h) running of BOXN wagon rakes on the Gomoh-Mughalsarai section.
New bridge over Ganga at Balawali (Saharanpur-Moradabad section).
[Disaster] July 1: Howrah-Amritsar Express rams into an empty rake of the Saharanpur-Ambala Passenger between Ambala Cantt. and Ambala City after the latter stopped following a power failure. Two persons were killed. Signal and interlocking problems were cited as the reasons.
[Disaster] Dec. 2: Howrah-Amritsar Mail collides with a derailed goods train between Sarai Banjara and Sadhugarh in Punjab. 46 are killed, 130 or so injured.
Jan 21: Freight services between India and Bangladesh officially resumed after a gap of 25 years, on the Petrapole-Benapole BG link.
Following successful trials of the new Alstom LHB coaches at 160km/h, IR announces they will be used on the Delhi-Lucknow route (Swarna Shatabdi) (max. speed restricted to 140km/h).
Feb. 12: Second WAP-7 loco, 'Navbharati', #30202, commissioned.
April: DLW delivers 10 BG locomotives (WDM-2 variants) to Bangladesh, and (later) 2 WDM-2 (? reported as 2300hp locos by IR) units to Sri Lanka.
May 17: In trials, a single WAG-9 hauls a 4700t rake of 58 BOXN-HA wagons at speeds up to 100km/h on the Sonenagar-Mughalsarai section.
MAWD 1798 steamed after restoration; first run is Guwahati-Pandu.
Converted AC-DC EMU rake with Alstom electricals used in trials on Borivli-Dahanu section, and then [June 12] AC-DC EMU service is officially inaugurated on the Churchgate-Dahanu section.
Four GM GT46PAC locos, classed WDP-4, arrive at Hubli.
DLW begins indigenous production of WDG-4 locos.
IRCON bags a contract for track doubling and electrification of the Ipoh - Padang Besar line in Malaysia.
July 12: The Maitry Express begins passenger service between Bangladesh and India.
August: The Rakesh Mohan Committee submits its report, recommending splitting IR into an operations body and a regulatory body, rationalization of fares, closure of unprofitable lines, a corporate approach to finances, manpower reductions, and an aim of privatization after 15 years.
December: All rail traffic between India and Pakistan is suspended following rising tensions between the countries (the Samjhauta Express is also cancelled as part of this).
A 2300hp Cape gauge diesel locomotive is manufactured by DLW for KTM Malaysian Railways.
Pendekallu-Gooty branch line opened.
IVRS ('Interactive Voice Response System') for telephonic enquiries about trains introduced in some stations.
[Disaster] June 22: Several coaches of the Mangalore-Chennai Mail fall into the Kadalundi river when the bridge at Parappanangadi near Kozhikode, at the time over a hundred years old, collapses. 64 persons die.
Feb. 27: At least 59 persons are killed when a mainly Muslim mob sets fire to a coach carrying mostly Hindu activists in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra.
March 15: Indian Rail Archives inaugurated at the NRM.
March: South-Western Railway zone 'inaugurated' (but official notification of the new zone occurs in July, see below).
Jan Shatabdi trains come into service.
March 14: IR revamps classification codes for diesel locos.
April 9: First locally built WDG-4 locomotive (GM EMD GT46MAC) commissioned.
April 10: WR's air-conditioned EMU coaches have trial run between Churchgate and Dadar.
April 16: Various celebrations on the occasion of IR's 150th year, including steam runs with WP's at Mumbai.
May 15: Rewari steam shed re-commissioned.
July 21: Upgraded WAP-7 trial successful.
June 4: At least 30 persons travelling in a bus are killed as it is rammed by the Kanpur-Kasganj Exp. after the bus driver forces the bus through the closed safety gate of a level crossing.
June 14: Orders passed for creation of two new railway zones: East Central and North Western.
July 6: Orders passed for creation of five new railway zones East Coast, South Western, South East Central, North Central, and West Central.
July 26: The first rake for the Delhi Metro is manufactured by Rotem, South Korea.
Aug. 3: IR begins online train reservations and ticketing over the Internet.
Sep. 17: First trial run of the Delhi Metro.
Sep. 20: Six coaches of the Kolkata-bound Teesta-Torsha Exp. derail near Mahipal station but fortunately no-one is killed or seriously injured.
Dec. 1: Internet ticket booking extended to more cities.
Dec. 14: Narrow gauge railway museum inaugurated at Nagpur.
Dec. 25: Delhi Metro opens for commercial operation.
Dec. 29: Konkan Railway conducts a trial run of the Madgaon-Roha Express at 150km/h (briefly touching 165km/h at times) using a WDP-4 loco. Also in December (confirmation needed) NR is said to have run trials with a WDP-4 hauling at train at up to 180km/h on the Ghaziabad-Tundla section.
Dec. 31: First trial run of a train run on 5% biodiesel blended fuel (Amritsar Shatabdi).
[Disaster] May 12: Thirteen coaches of the New Delhi - Patna Shramjeevi Exp. derail near Jaunpur (between Kheta Sarai and Mehrawan) while traversing a bridge, killing at least 12 passengers.
[Disaster] June 4: Thirty-four persons killed when the Kasgunj Exp. crashes into a bus at a level crossing.
[Disaster] Sep. 9: New Delhi-bound Howrah Rajdhani derails at 130km/h on a bridge near Rafiganj in Bihar. One coach plunges into the Dhavi river, others are left suspended from the bridge. 130 are killed. Sabotage is floated as a theory, but the official inquiry also brings to light engineering problems.
[Disaster] Dec. 21: At least 20 persons die after the Kacheguda/Hyderabad-Bangalore Exp. derails at 90km/h near Ramliangayapalli in Kurnool district (AP). 7 coaches overturn in the derailment.
Jan. 3: The Secunderabad-Manmad Exp. runs through danger signals and rams into a stationary freight train at Parli (300km west of Hyderabad), killing 14.
DLW gets another order for YDM-4 locos from Vietnam (10 units).
March: Trials conducted in the Delhi - Sarai Rohilla section for a new MG DEMU manufactured by RCF.
April: The 7 new railway zones begin functioning.
April 26: First indigenously built WDP-4 (#20011) inaugurated at DLW.
August 9: Hyderabad/Secunderabad 'MMTS' train services begin with 13 Lingampally-Hyderabad services and 11 Lingampally-Secunderabad services each day.
August 20: The first indigenously manufactured 4-coach rake from BEML for the Delhi Metro is commissioned.
[Disaster] Jan 3: Kacheguda-Manmad Express rams into a stationary train near Ghatnandur (Maharashtra), killing 20 persons. The driver of the express and six other officials are suspended following a report citing human error.
[Disaster] May 15: At least 38 passengers die when fire breaks out in three coaches of the Amritsar-bound Golden Temple Mail (Frontier Mail) near Ladhowal station (near Ludhiana). A kerosene stove used in a coach by some passengers is said to be the cause.
The Presidential Saloon is used after a gap of 26 years.
[Disaster] June 22: An Ahmedabad/Mumbai-bound special train from Karwar derails after hitting boulders and debris from a landslide on the tracks just after Vaibhavwadi station, Ratnagiri region. 53 passengers are killed in what is KR's first fatal accident. KR is blamed by some for not having studied the stability of the landforms in the area adequately as well as for not patrolling the area thoroughly in the monsoon season.
[Disaster] July 2: 21 passengers of the Hyderabad-bound Golconda Exp. and several road travellers die when the train derails (locomotive and two coaches) just outside Warangal station, with the locomotive falling off the bridge and on to a road below. Brake failure coupled with overspeeding are cited as the cause.
[Disaster] Oct. 23: Seven die as five coaches of the Bangalore-bound Mysore-Bangalore push-pull train derail near Mysore. Faulty wheel discs from the Durgapur steel plant are said to be the cause.
Golden Rock's new oil-fired 'B' class loco(s) for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway built and ready for trials.
Nov. 10 : Centenary celebrations of the Kalka-Shimla Railway.
Dec. 15 : Mumbai Rajdhani starts running with the new LHB coaches.
Dec. 13-21 : Trials with weak field arrangement for MEMUs on the Tundla-Kanpur section of NCR. With a 'dense crush load' and stopping at all stations, a 4-car MEMU rake could decrease its total running time by 7% with a max. speed of 90km/h and 10% with a max. speed of 100km/h on the 228km section, because of the improved acceleration.
January: The Railway Board is expanded by the introduction of two new Member posts, for Signalling & Telecom and for Stores.
Jan. 15: Samjhauta Express resumes running between India (Attari) and Pakistan (Lahore) twice a week. The rail link agreement of Jan. 2001 is extended through Jan. 2007.
Jan. 23: BEML begins manufacture of Delhi Metro coaches.
Jan 26: Second phase of Chennai MRTS, connecting Luz and Tiruvanmiyur, begins operations.
May: Nine YDM-4 locos (ex-Sabarmati) are sold and sent to Togo Rail SA (Chemins de fer Togolais) (West Africa).
June 30: SCR operates last MG train on the Nizamabad-Manoharabad line, bringing to an end MG services started in the 1930s on the Secunderabad-Manmad line of the Nizam's State Railways.
July 1: Chennai area MG EMU services discontinued; last MG EMU runs from Egmore to Tambaram marking the end of 73 years of these stalwart trains. Also the day of the last YAM-1 run.
July 12: First goods train from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Nepal using the Raxaul-Birgunj line.
July: SCR begins using new aerodynamically designed DEMU rakes from ICF.
July: Golden Rock workshops manufacture the second oil-fired steam loco, 'Himanand', for the DHR.
July: Trial runs with a diesel loco running on bio-diesel blended fuel (Trichy-Tanjor Passenger).
July 25: Two brass handles and four copper pipes were stolen from the Fairy Queen (EIR No. 22), the 149-year-old steam locomotive at the National Railway Museum, New Delhi.
August: Thane-Thurbe-Vashi EMU services begin in Mumbai.
Sep. 15: First public trial of KR's Skybus project in Madgaon, demonstrating the vehicle moving at 40km/h for a distance of about 1km.
Sep. 15: First batch of improved flat wagons for CONCOR.
Sep. 25: KR Skybus prototype has an accident where the coach crashes into a pier; one person is killed.
Oct. : IR makes prototype standard-gauge bogies for possible export.
Nov. 1: BG EMU Services inaugurated between Chennai Egmore and Tambaram on the newly converted BG line.
Nov. 27: First successful run of Delhi Metro under ATO (first use of ATO in the country).
Dec. 19: First underground section of Delhi Metro inaugurated (Delhi University - Kashmiri Gate).
Dec. 26: Indian Ocean tsunami washes away tracks on Nagore-Nagapattinam section.
Luni-Barmer-Munabao section converted to BG in preparation for possible Munabao-Khokhraphar link between India and Pakistan.
Preliminary approval granted for Mumbai MRTS light rail project.
Gauge conversion of Purna-Akola section begins; this is the section that in 1960 first interconnected the MG networks of northern and southern India.
December: Konkan Railway being considered for merger with IR.
IR makes a move to open up the bookstall and catering business at its stations, ending the long reign ofbooksellers Higginbothams (in the south) and A H Wheeler (elsewhere) at railway stations in India.
[Disaster] June 16: Twenty killed as Mangalore-Mumbai Matsyagandha Exp. derails between Karanjadi (Roha?) and Vir (Veer) stations in Maharashtra's Raigarh district on Konkan Railways, with the locomotive and two coaches falling off a bridge after a collision with boulders on the tracks.
[Disaster] Dec. 13: A head-on collision between the Jammu Tawi - Ahmedabad Exp. and a DMU train on the Jallandhar - Pathankot single line between Bhangala and Mirthal stations leaves 38 dead and several injured.
Jan.: Boarding Rajdhanis, Shatabdis, and Jan Shatabdis at intermediate points without reservations allowed.
Feb.: Chawri Bazar station of the Delhi Metro is built with new technology of pre-cast concrete blocks for the platforms.
Apr. 27 : Jammu Tawi - Udhampur line in Jammu & Kashmir inaugurated and the Uttar Sampark Kranti from New Delhi to Udhampur begins running. This line was sanctioned in April, 1980.
Aug.: IRCTC introduces E-ticketing for IR on Aug. 12; ticketing by SMS begins on Aug. 26. A Frequent Traveller scheme is also under consideration.
IR undertakes cultivation of Jatropha plants for production of biodiesel.
Dec. 31: Delhi Metro's Barakhamba - Dwarka line opens.
[Disaster] Feb. 3 : Collision between Nagpur-bound Ramtek local and a tractor-trailer at the Bordan unmanned level crossing near Kanhan kills 55.
[Disaster] Apr. 3 : Howrah-bound Udyan Abha Toofan Exp. from Sriganganagar catches fire between Darauli and Dildarnagar stations. Five coaches are completely gutted in the blaze, but there are no casualties. The driver of a passing goods train notices the fire and alerts the driver of the Toofan Exp. who makes an emergency stop, allowing the passengers to escape.
[Disaster] Apr. 21 : Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Exp. from Varanasi rams into a stationary goods train at Samlaya, between Vadodara and Godhra, killing 17 passengers. Signal and interlocking failures during maintenance and a failure to follow the appropriate backup procedures are thought to have caused the mishap.
[Disaster] Oct. 3 : Twelve persons killed and many injured when six coaches of the Bundelkhand Exp. derail and ram into a railway control cabin near Datia, MP.
[Disaster] Nov. 9 : Three killed and many injured as a goods train runs into a passenger train near Jharkhand's Barwadih station, about 170km from Ranchi.
Feb. 15: New Delhi - Bhopal Shatabdi cleared for running at 150km/h commercial speed on the New Delhi - Agra Cantt. stretch.
Feb. 17: Thar Express service begins with the train on the Indian side running from Jodhpur to Munabao with the connecting train on the Pakistan side running from Karachi to Khokhropar to Munabao to connect.
Feb. 19: Igatpuri - Kasara section switched from DC to AC traction.
Feb.: 100km/h trials with Mumbai EMUs (however, this is not the first time trials have been conducted at these speeds).
March 24: Regular double-stacked container service (on BLCA/BLCB flat wagons) begins on the Pipavav - Jaipur route.
Laloo Prasad Yadav
1853 — present
Broad, Metre, Narrow
INR 467.85 billion
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Indian Railways (IR) is the state-owned railway company of India. Indian Railways has a monopoly on the country's rail transport. It is also one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting just under five billion passengers and almost 350 million tonnes of freight annually. IR is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.6 million employees.
The railways traverse through the length and width of the country; the routes cover a total length of 63,940 km (39,230 miles). As of 2005 IR owns a total of 216,717 wagons, 39,936 coaches and 7,339 locomotives and runs a total of 14,244 trains daily, including about 8,002 passenger trains .
Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India's independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. Indian Railways operates both long distance and suburban rail systems.
IR Zones. See the numbering alongside. The red dots are the zonal headquarters.
For administrative purposes, Indian Railways is divided into sixteen zones.
North Eastern Railway
Northeast Frontier Railway
South Eastern Railway
South Central Railway
South Western Railway
North Western Railway
West Central Railway
North Central Railway
South East Central Railway
East Coast Railway
East Central Railway
†Konkan Railway (KR) is constituted as a separately incorporated railway, with its headquarters at Belapur CBD (Navi Mumbai), although it still comes under the control of the Railway Ministry and the Railway Board.
The Calcutta Metro is owned and operated by Indian Railways, but is not a part of any of the zones. It is administratively considered to have the status of a zonal railway.
Map showing the Indian rail network and headquarters of each zone
Bholu is the mascot of the IR, adopted in 2003
Each zonal railway is made up of a certain number of divisions, each having a divisional headquarters. There are a total of sixty-seven divisions.
Delhi, Ambala, Firozpur, Lucknow, Moradabad
North Eastern Railway
Izzatnagar, Lucknow , Varanasi
Northeast Frontier Railway
Alipurduar, Katihar, Lumding, Rangia, Tinsukia
Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol , Malda
South Eastern Railway
Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Ranchi
South Central Railway
Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Guntakal, Guntur, Nanded, Vijayawada
Chennai, Madurai, Palghat, Tiruchchirapalli, Trivandrum
Mumbai, Bhusawal, Nagpur, Pune, Solapur
Mumbai, Baroda, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar
South Western Railway
Hubli, Bangalore, Mysore
North Western Railway
Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur
West Central Railway
Jabalpur, Bhopal, Kota
North Central Railway
Allahabad, Agra, Jhansi
South East Central Railway
Bilaspur , Raipur, Nagpur
East Coast Railway
Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Waltair
East Central Railway
Danapur, Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur, Sonpur
A long distance express train
Indian Railways operates 8,702 passenger trains and transports around five billion annually across twenty-seven states and three union territories (Delhi, Pondicherry and Chandigarh). Sikkim is the only state not connected.
The passenger division is the most preferred form of long distance transport in most of the country. In South India and North-East India however, buses are the preferred mode of transport for medium to long distance transport.
A standard passenger train consists of eighteen coaches, but some popular trains can have up to 24 coaches. Coaches are designed to accommodate anywhere from 18 to 72 passengers, but may actually accommodate many more during the holiday seasons and on busy routes. The coaches in use are vestibules, but some of these may be dummied on some trains for operational reasons. Freight trains use a large variety of wagons.
Each coach has different accommodation class; the most popular being the sleeper class. Up to nine of these type coaches are usually coupled. Air conditioned coaches are also attached, and a standard train may have between three and five air-conditioned coaches.
Overcrowding is the most widely faced problem with Indian Railways. In the holiday seasons or on long weekends, trains are usually packed more than their prescribed limit. Ticket-less travel, which results in large losses for the IR, is also an additional problem faced.
The New Delhi Metro railway Shri Manmohan Singh(PM) in Delhi Metro
Many cities have their own dedicated suburban networks to cater to commuters. Currently, suburban networks operate in Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Kolkata (Calcutta), Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune. Hyderabad and Pune do not have dedicated suburban tracks but share the tracks with long distance trains. New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata have their own metro networks, namely the New Delhi Metro, the Chennai MRTS and the Kolkata metro, respectively.
Suburban trains that handle commuter traffic are mostly electric multiple units. They usually have nine coaches or sometimes twelve to handle rush hour traffic. One unit of an EMU train consists of one power car and two general coaches. Thus a nine coach EMU is made up of three units having one power car at each end and one at the middle. The rakes in Mumbai run on direct current, while those elsewhere use alternating current. A standard coach is designed to accommodate 96 sitting passengers, but the actual number of passengers can easily double or triple with standees during rush hour.
Mumbai's rail transport is jointly managed by the Central and Western Railways. It has three lines, one managed by the WR and other two managed by the Central Railway. The Kolkata metro has the administrative status of a zonal railway, though it does not come under the seventeen railway zones.
Mumbai's suburban railway is the densest route in the world. It is approximately a little more than 50,000 passengers per kilometer, transporting 65 lakh (6.5 million) commuters daily. This has resulted in severe overloading in the trains which carry 5000 commuters per 9 car trains which are designed to carry less than a third of that amount. The density of passengers in peak hours is as high as 15 people per sq metre.
A single line rail bridge
IR carries a huge variety of goods ranging from mineral ores, agricultural produce, petroleum, milk and vehicles. Ports and major urban areas have their own dedicated freight lines and yards. Many important freight stops have dedicated platforms and independent lines.
Indian Railways makes 70% of its revenues and most of its profits from the freight sector, and uses these profits to cross-subsidise the loss-making passenger sector. However, competition from trucks which offer cheaper rates has seen a decrease in freight traffic in recent years. Since the 1990s, Indian Railways has switched from small consignments to larger container movement which has helped speed up its operations. Most of its freight earnings come from such rakes carrying bulk goods such as coal, cement, food grains and iron ore.
Indian Railways also transports vehicles over long distances. Trucks that carry goods to a particular location are hauled back by trains saving the trucking company on unnecessary fuel expenses. Refrigerated vans are also available in many areas. The "Green Van" is a special type used to transport fresh food and vegetables. Recently Indian Railways introduced the special 'Container Rajdhani' or CONRAJ, for high priority freight. The highest speed notched up for a freight train is 100 km/h (62 mph) for a 4,700 tonne load.
Notable trains and achievements
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a World Heritage Site, and one of the few steam engines in operation in India.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a narrow gauge train with a steam locomotive is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The route starts at Siliguri in the plains in West Bengal and traverses tea gardens en route to Darjeeling, a hill station at an elevation of 2,134 metres (7,000 ft). The highest station in this route is Ghum. The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, in the Nilgiri Hills in southern India, is also classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also the only cog railway in India. The Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) railway station in Mumbai is another World Heritage Site operated by Indian Railways.
The Palace on Wheels is a specially designed train, lugged by a steam engine, for promoting tourism in Rajasthan. The Maharashtra government did try and introduce the Deccan Odyssey along the Konkan route, but it did not enjoy the same success as the Palace on Wheels. The Samjhauta Express was a train that ran between India and Pakistan. However, hostilities between the two nations in 2001 saw the line being closed. It was reopened when the hostilities subsided in 2004. Another train connecting Khokhra Par (Pakistan) and Munabao (India) is the Thar Express that restarted operations on February 18, 2006 since being closed down after the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
The Lifeline Express is a special train popularly known as the "Hospital-on-Wheels" which provides healthcare to the rural areas. This train has a compartment that serves as an operating room, a second one which serves as a storeroom and an additional two that serve as a patient ward. The train travels around the country, staying at a location for about two months before moving elsewhere.
Among the famous locomotives, the Fairy Queen is the oldest running locomotive in the world today, though the distinction of the oldest surviving locomotive belongs to John Bull. Kharagpur railway station also has the distinction of being the world's longest railway platform at 1072 m (3,517 ft). The Ghum station along the Toy Train route is the second highest railway station in the world to be reached by a steam locomotive. Indian Railways operates 7,566 locomotives; 37,840 Coaching vehicles and 222,147 freight wagons. There are a total of 6,853 stations; 300 yards; 2,300 goods-sheds; 700 repair shops and a total workforce of 1.54 million .
The shortest named station is Ib and the longest is Sri Venkatanarasimharajuvariapeta. The Himsagar Express, between Kanyakumari and Jammu Tawi, has the longest run in terms of distance and time on Indian Railways network. It covers 3,745 km (2,327 miles) in about 74 hours and 55 minutes. The Trivandrum Rajdhani, between Delhi's Nizamuddin Station and Trivandrum, travels non-stop between Vadodara and Kota, covering a distance of 528 km (328 miles) in about 6.5 hours, and has the longest continuous run on Indian Railways today. The Bhopal Shatabdi Express is the fastest train in India today having a maximum speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) on the Faridabad-Agra section. The fastest speed attained by any train is 184 km/h (114 mph) in 2000 during test runs. This speed is much lower than fast trains in other parts of the world. One reason attributed for this difference is that the tracks are not suited for higher speeds.
The headquarters of the Indian Railways in Delhi
Indian Railways is a publicly-owned company controlled by the Government of India, via the Ministry of Railways. The ministry is currently headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Union Minister for Railways and assisted by two junior Ministers of State for Railways, R. Velu and Naranbhai J. Rathwa. Reporting to them is the Railway Board, which has six members and a chairman.
Each of the sixteen zones is headed by a General Manager (GM) who reports directly to the Railway Board. The zones are further divided into divisions under the control of Divisional Railway Managers (DRM). The divisional officers of engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal & telecommunication, accounts, personnel, operating, commercial and safety branches report to the respective Divisional Manager and are in charge of operation and maintenance of assets. Further down the hierarchy tree are the Station Masters who control individual stations and the train movement through the track territory under their stations' administration.
Apart from these zones, a number of Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) are under the administrative control of the ministry of railways. Some of these PSU's are:
Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation
Konkan Railway Corporation
Indian Railway Finance Corporation
Centre for Railway Information System
Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation
Railtel Corporation of India – Telecommunication Networks
RITES Ltd. – Consulting Division of Indian Railways
IRCON International Ltd. – Construction Division
Rail budget and finances
The Railway Budget deals with the induction and improvement of existing trains and routes, the modernisation and most importantly the tariff for freight and passenger travel. The Parliament discusses the policies and allocations proposed in the budget. The budget needs to be passed by a simple majority in the Lok Sabha (India's Lower House). The comments of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) are non binding. Indian Railways are subject to the same audit control as other government revenue and expenditures. The dividends from the railways accrue to the state, and the subsidies and losses are also borne by it.
As per the Separation Convention, 1924, the Railway Budget is presented to the Parliament by the Union Railway Minister, two days prior to the General Budget, usually around 26 February. Though the Railway Budget is separately presented to the Parliament, the figures relating to the receipt and expenditure of the Railways are also shown in the General Budget, since they are a part and parcel of the total receipts and expenditure of the Government of India. This document serves as a balance sheet of operations of the Railways during the previous year and lists out plans for expansion for the current year.
The formation of policy and overall control of the railways is vested in Railway Board comprising the Chairman, Financial Commissioner and other functional Members for Traffic, Engineering, Mechanical, Electrical and Staff matters. As per the 2006 budget, Indian Railways earned Rs. 54,600 crores (Rs. 546,000 million or US$12,300 million). Freight earnings increased by 10% from Rs. 30,450 cr (US$7,000 million) in the previous year. Passenger earnings, other coaching earnings and sundry other earnings increased by 7%, 19% and 56% respectively over previous year. Its year end fund balance is expected to stand at Rs. 11,280 cr (2.54 billion US$).
Around 20% of the passenger revenue is earned from the upper class segments of the passenger segment (the air-conditioned classes). The overall passenger traffic grew 7.5% in the previous year. In the first two months of India's fiscal year 2005-06 (April and May), the Railways registered a 10% growth in passenger traffic, and a 12% in passenger earnings.
A new concern faced by Indian Railways is competition from low cost airlines that has recently made its début in India. In a cost cutting move, the Railways plans to minimise unwanted cessations, and scrap unpopular routes.
Level crossings like these usually see a high accident rate
The main problem plaguing the Railways is the high accident rate which stands at about three hundred a year. Although accidents such as derailment and collisions are less common in recent times, many are run over by trains, especially in crowded areas. Indian Railways have accepted that given the size of operations, eliminating accidents is a unrealist target, and at best they can only minimise the accident rate. Human error is the primary cause (83%)blamed for mishaps. The Konkan Railway route suffers from landslides in the monsoon season, which has caused fatal accidents in the recent past. Contributing to the Railways' problems are the antiquated communication, safety and signalling equipment. Aging colonial-era bridges and century-old tracks also require regular maintenance and upgrading.
Overcrowding is a big issue, with the General compartment often being packed beyond capacity. During the holiday seasons, reserved tickets have to be booked two months in advance, to avoid a generally static waiting list. During this season the reserved compartments are swamped by many without a reserved ticket. Railway ticket prices are particularly affected by the fact that India in general is a price-sensitive market. As a public utility, the government subsidises the prices as increasing ticket prices often translates into widespread discontent and most often political damage. This therefore imposes a strong constraint on the pace at which Indian railways can expand or modernise itself.
In many places, pedestrians, vehicles or cyclists may cut across the tracks to save time, causing a safety hazard to the railways. Most railway land in India is not fenced or restricted in any way, allowing free trespass. In rural areas, cattle and other animals may stray onto the tracks, posing a much more serious safety hazard to fast-moving trains.
RAILTEL INTERNET SERVICES
Rail passengers can kill travel boredom by surfing the Internet in trains on some of the important routes of Indian Railways soon.
The Railtel Corporation of India has successfully tested the technology for providing broad band Internet on running trains for the first time in the world.
after commissioning the optic fibre communication link between Bangalore-Secunderabad, Secunderabad- Vijayawada-Chennai and Chennai-Gooty-Bangalore through video conference, Railtel would operate the Internet on moving trains by providing prepaid cards. Passengers could utilise the fixed kiosks in trains or use their own laptops or palmtops for surfing the Net.
Railtel had provided 20,564 km of optic fibre cable, establishing connectivity between three metro cities in the West _ Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune _ and three cities in the South _ Chennai, Secunderabad and Bangalore. The connectivity linking other major metros such as New Delhi-Mumbai, New Delhi-Kolkata, Mumbai-Kolkata, Kolkata-Chennai and Mumbai-Chennai would be established.
§ RailTel is offering Internet Services all along its network. Corporates as well as individual or groups can avail of it.
§ The network supports voice over internet protocol (VOIP) or internet telephony.
§ An unrivaled network infrastructure with multiple Internet backbone providers to keep your data flowing and your access to the Internet protected, 24/7.
§ Rock-solid, always reliable based on state-of-the-art systems.
§ The Internet connectivity and speed provided by RailTel supports all kinds of usage including VOIP and Video Chat.
§ RailTel will be launching over 50 cyber cafes on Railway stations across the country during 2005-06. One such café is already operational on platform no. 12 of the New Delhi Railway Station making internet access to remotest areas possible.