Showing posts with label Railway GK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Railway GK. Show all posts

25 June 2012

List of Railway Ministers

Below is a list of the Union Government Ministers of Railways over the years in independent India. Also included further below is the list of who presented the railway budget for each year.
Note: These lists are incomplete, and some of the dates are uncertain. Unfortunately, there is no readily available source for reliable information on this topic — reference will have to be made to archives of Indian newspapers or magazines for the most accurate information. Corrections or additions are most welcome.
See the FAQ for more historical information. Also see the list of trains introduced by railway ministers.

Railway Ministers of India

YearsRailway Minister
1947(Nov.) John Mathai (not formally designated the Minister for Railways) presents the first Railway budget for independent India
1948-1952N Gopalaswamy Ayyangar; worked on consolidating the various railways into the zonal railways
1952-1956Lal Bahadur Shastri; resigned in 1956 taking responsibility for three fatal railway accidents
1956-1962Jagjivan Ram
1962Sardar Swaran Singh
1967??Kengal Hanumanthaiah (Note: Some sources suggest he was Railway Minister later, in 1971). Ram Sew Singh is also mentioned in some sources as a railway minister in 1966-1968, he may not have been a Cabinet minister for railways.
1968Cheppudira Muthana Poonacha
1969Govinda Menon Panampilly
1970-1971Gulzari Lal Nanda Note: Kengal Hanumanthaiah may have been the Railway Minister briefly in 1971.
1972-1973Tonse Ananth Pai
1973-1975Lalit Narayan Mishra; killed by a bomb blast 2-Jan-1975, at the opening of a railway line in Samastipur.
1975-1977Kamlapati Tripathi (again briefly in 1980?)
1977-1979Prof. Madhu Dandavate
1980-1981Kedar Pandey (Kamlapathi Tripathi briefly in 1980)
(1981?) 1982-1984ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury.
1984Bansi Lal; his was a brief stint during a reorganization of some ministries and government departments
(1985?) 1984-1989Madhav Rao Scindia
1989-1990George Fernandes
1990-1991Jnaneshwar Mishra; very short tenure
1991-1995C K Jaffer Sharief
1995-1996Suresh Kalmadi (briefly), followed by Atal Behari Vajpayee also briefly, who held the Railways portfolio along with being PM.
1996-1998Ram Vilas Paswan
1998-1999Nitish Kumar
2000Mamata Banerjee
2001-2004Nitish Kumar

2004-2009Laloo Prasad Yadav

2009-2014Mamata Banerjee
2014-Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu

Yearly List of Presenters of the Railway Budget of India

Fiscal YearBudget Presenter
11947-48Transport Member, Railway Board
21947-48Col. R. E. Emerson (Chief Commissioner, Railways)
31948-49Dr. John Mathai
41949-50N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
51950-51N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
61951-52N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
71952-53 (interim)N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
81952-53 (final)Lal Bahadur Shastri
91953-54Lal Bahadur Shastri
101954-55Lal Bahadur Shastri
111955-56Lal Bahadur Shastri
121956-57Lal Bahadur Shastri
131957-58 (interim)Jagjivan Ram
141957-58 (final)Jagjivan Ram
151958-59Jagjivan Ram
161959-60Jagjivan Ram
171960-61Jagjivan Ram
181961-62Jagjivan Ram
191962-63Jagjivan Ram
201962-63 (final)Sardar Swaran Singh
211963-64Sardar Swaran Singh
221964-65H. C. Dasappa
231965-66S. K. Patil
241966-67S. K. Patil
251967-68 (interim)C. M. Poonacha
261967-68 (final)C. M. Poonacha
271968-69C. M. Poonacha
281969-70Dr. Ram Subhag Singh
291970-71Gulzari Lal Nanda
301971-72 (interim)K. Hanumanthaiya
311971-72 (final)K. Hanumanthaiya
321972-73K. Hanumanthaiya
331973-74Lalit Narayan Misra
341974-75Lalit Narayan Misra
35August 1974Lalit Narayan Misra
361975-76Kamalapati Tripathi
371976-77Kamalapati Tripathi
381977-78 (interim)Prof. Mathu Dandavate
391977-78 (final)Prof. Mathu Dandavate
401978-79Prof. Madhu Dandavate
411979-80Prof. Madhu Dandavate
421980-81 (interim)Kamalapati Tripathi
431980-81 (final)Kamalapati Tripati
441981-82Kedar Pande
451982-83P. C. Sethi
461983-84A. B. A. Ghani Khan Choudhury
471984-85A. B. A. Ghani Khan Choudhury
481985-86Bansi Lal
491986-87Bansi Lal
50November 1986Madhavrao Scindia
511987-88Madhavrao Scindia
521988-89Madhavrao Scindia
531989-90Madhavrao Scindia
541990-91George Fernandes
551991-92 (interim)Janeshwar Mishra
561991-92 (final)C. K. Jaffar Sharief
571992-93C. K. Jaffar Sharief
581993-94C. K. Jaffar Sharief
591994-96C. K. Jaffar Sharief
601996-97C. K. Jaffar Sharief
611996-97 (interim)Suresh Kalmadi
621996-97 (final)Ram Vilas Paswan
631997-98Ram Vilas Paswan
641998-99 (interim)Nitish Kumar
651998-99 (final)Nitish Kumar
661999-2000Nitish Kumar
672000-01Mamata Banerjee
682001-02Mamata Banerjee
692002-03Nitish Kumar
702003-04Nitish Kumar
712004-05 (interim)Nitish Kumar
722004-05 (final)Lalu Prasad Yadav
732005-06Lalu Prasad Yadav
742006-07Lalu Prasad Yadav
752007-08Lalu Prasad Yadav
762008-09Lalu Prasad Yadav
772009-2010Mamata Banerjee
782010-2011Mamata Banerjee
792011-2012Mamata Banerjee
802012-2013Mamata Banerjee
812013-2014Mamata Banerjee
822014-2015Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu

Trains introduced by Railway Ministers

This is an attempt to list out the trains introduced by successive Railway Ministers in India. Much of the information is from the railway budgets of each year. There are a vast number of trains that run in India, and many are cancelled, re-introduced, renamed, rescheduled or re-routed all the time, so this is only the barest attempt at listing some of the better-known trains and their origins.
See the FAQ for more historical information. Also see the list of Railway ministers.

YearRailway MinisterTrains introduced
1973T A Pai
  • H. Nizamuddin – Mangalore/Ernakulam Jayanti Janata
1974L N Mishra
  • Samastipur Jayanti Janata and other JJ trains.
1975-?Kamalapati Tripathi
  • Sabarmati Express
  • Ganga-Kaveri Exp.
  • Neelambari Exp.
  • Varanasi Exp. (Delhi-Lucknow Exp. extended)
  • Tamilnadu Exp.
  • Kashi Vishwanath Exp.
1979-?Prof. Madhu Dandavate
  • Jhelum Exp.
  • Swaraj Exp.
  • Sarvodaya Exp.
  • Kerala Exp.
  • Karnataka Exp.
  • Andhra Pradesh Exp.
  • EMUs on Pune-Lonavala section
1980-1984A B A Ghani Khan Chaudhuri
  • Sealdah – Malda Gaur Exp.
  • Sealdah – Malda Gaur Exp.
1988Madhav Rao Scindia
  • Jhansi Shatabdi (later to Bhopal)
  • Howrah-Gwalior Chambal Exp.
  • Bombay-Gwalior Lashkar Exp.
1989Madhav Rao Scindia
  • Kanpur Shatabdi (later to Lucknow)
  • Indrayani Exp.
  • Pragati Exp.
1990George Fernandes
  • Jammu Tawi – Mangalore/Trichy Navyug Exp
  • Dadar – Muzaffarpur Shramshakti Exp (now cancelled)
  • Hatia – Varanasi Exp (still running?)
  • Surat – Varanasi Tapti Ganga Exp
  • New Delhi and Patna (via Varanasi) Shramjeevi Exp
1991Jaffer Sharief
  • Bombay – New Delhi AC Exp (later August Kranti Rajdhani)
  • Bombay – Ahmedabad Karnavati Exp
  • Bombay – Varanasi Pawan Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Vishakapatnam Samata Exp
  • Puri – Tirupati Exp
  • Mysore – Tirupati Exp (now Mysore – Tirupati Passenger)
  • Allahabad – Chahpra Bhagirathi Exp (MG)
  • Allahabad – Agra Exp (proposed, never introduced)
1992Jaffer Sharief
  • New Delhi – Bangalore Rajdhani
  • Kurla- Bangalore Exp
  • Bidar – Bangalore Link Exp
  • Madras – Banglaore Lalbagh Exp
  • Madras – Vijayawada Pinakani Exp
  • Secunderabad – Vijayawada Satvahana Exp
  • Secunderabad – Bhadrachalam (Passenger?)
  • Varanasi – Gorakhpur Krishak Exp
  • Sealdah – New Jalpaiguri Teesta Torsha Exp
  • Gandhidham – Nagercoil Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Indore Inter-City Exp
  • Valsad- Vadodara ExpThe following trains proposed by him were introduced later:
  • Bombay Pune Pragati Exp
  • Amritsar Barauni Amrapali Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Sambalpur Hirakud Exp
  • Delhi – Sikar Sainik Exp (MG)
  • Vadodara – Gandhidham Exp
  • Secunderabad – Vishakapatnam Vishaka Exp
1993Jaffer Sharief
  • H. Nizamuddin – Madras Rajdhani
  • H. Nizamuddin – Agra Inter-City Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Mangalore Mangala Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Jabalpur/Nagpur Gondwana Exp
  • New Delhi – Puri Purushottam Exp
  • Delhi – Jammu Tawi Super Fast Exp
  • Delhi – Newjalpaiguri Mahananda Link Exp
  • Dhanbad – Tatanagar Subarnarekha Exp
  • Agra Fort – Jaipur Superfast Exp (MG)
1994Jaffer Sharief
  • New Delhi – Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Exp
  • New Delhi – Guwahati Rajdhani Exp
  • Bombay – Ahmedabad Shatabdi Exp
  • Bombay – Trivandrum Exp (weekly)
  • New Delhi – Sriganganagar Exp
  • Delhi – Kathgodam Exp
  • Delhi – Sultanpur Sadbhavana Exp
  • Saharanpur – Lucknow Exp
  • Jodhpur – Lucknow Exp
  • Jaipur – Sealdah Exp
  • Katihar – Sealdah Exp
  • Secunderbad – Guntur Nagarjuna ExpThe following trains proposed by him were introduced later:
  • Madras – Mysore Shatabdi
  • Bombay – Jaipur Super Fast
  • New Delhi – Amritsar Shatabdi
  • New Delhi – Chandigarh Shatabdi
  • New Delhi – Jaipur Shatabdi
  • Madras – Kanyakumari Exp
  • Nagercoil – Guruvayur Exp
1995Jaffer Sharief
  • Howrah – Bokaro Shatabdi
  • Howrah – Raurkela Shatabdi
  • Madras – Coimbatore Shatabdi (cancelled)
  • Bangalore – Hubli Shatabdi (cancelled)
  • Bombay – Madgaon Shatabdi (never introduced)
  • Kurla – Madgaon Exp
  • Miraj – Bangalore Rani Chennamma Exp
  • Bangalore – Quilon Exp (weekly)
  • Ernakulam – Trivandrum Exp (Via Alleppey)
  • Nagercoil – Bombay Exp (weekly)
  • Tirupati – Cuddapah Exp (Passenger?)(cancelled)
  • Delhi – Jaipur Inter-City Exp
  • Jodhpur – Jaipur Exp
  • Bikaner – Jaipur Exp
  • Jodhpur – Howrah Superfast (instead of Jaipur-Sealdah Exp)
  • New Delhi- Muzaffarpur Lichhavi Exp
  • Raxaul – Muzaffarpur Exp
  • Howrah – Gorakhpur Exp (weekly)
  • Howrah – Gauhati Saraighat Exp (weekly)
  • Ahmedabad – Bhavnagar Exp (MG)
  • Kanpur – Farukhabad Exp (MG)
  • Bhagalpur – Muzaffarpur Jansewa Exp
  • Amritsar – Barauni Jansewa Exp
  • Ahmedabad – Puri Exp
  • Surat – Varanasi Jansewa Exp (never introduced)For sometime, Suresh Kalmadi was the railway minister, from Pune.
  • Bombay Pune Shatabdi
  • Ahmedabad – Pune Ahimsa Exp
  • Howrah – Pune Azad Hind Exp
  • Varanasi – Pune Gyan Ganga Exp
1996Ram Vilas Paswan
  • New Delhi – Patna Rajdhani
  • Kurla – Patna Exp
  • Delhi – Ramnagar Link Exp
  • Kalka – Simla Shivalik Exp
  • Gorakhpur- Darbhanga Exp (MG)
  • Howrah – Rampurhat Gandevta Exp
  • Howrah – Bikaner Link Exp
  • Jaipur – Chennai Exp (weekly)
  • Bhopal – Rewa Exp
  • Hubli – Bangalore Intercity (instead of the Shatabdi)He also announced the following trains in BG after gauge conversion
  • Ahmedabad – Delhi Mail
  • Ahmedabad – Delhi Ashram Exp
  • Ahmedabad – Bikaner Ranakpur Exp
  • Secunderabad/Guntur – Vasco Exp
  • Guwahati – Dibrugarh Exp
1997Ram Vilas Paswan
  • Newdelhi – Ahmedabad Swarnajayanti Rajdhani
  • H. Nizamuddin – Vishakapatnam Swarnajayanti Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Bangalore Swarnajayanti Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Secunderabad Rajdhani (later cancelled, then reintroduced)
  • Delhi – Ranchi Jarkand Swarnajayanti Exp
  • Surat – Patna Exp
  • Gorakhpur – Dehradun Exp (bi-weekly)
  • Koraput- Bhubaneswar Link Exp
  • Madras – Tirupati Inter City
  • Tata- Katihar link Exp
  • Vasco – Bangalore Exp
  • Coimbatore – Bangalore Intercity Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Ernakulam Swarnajayanti Exp (introduced for political reasons, to placate Kerala MPs)
1998Nitish Kumar
  • Kurla – Howrah Super Deluxe
  • Kurla – Nagpur Super Deluxe
  • Kurla – Varanasi Kamyani Exp
  • Kurla – Mangalore Matsyagandha Exp
  • H. Nizamuddin – Bhopal Superfast
  • Patna – Bhagalpur Intercity
  • Secunderbad – Guntur Palnad Exp
  • Madurai – Coimbatore Exp (MG) (cancelled)
  • New Delhi – Muzaffarpur Swatantra senani Exp
  • Sealdah – NewBongaigaon Uttar Bangla Exp
  • Howrah – Trichy Exp (triweekly)
  • Vishakaptanam – Bangalore Prashanti Exp
  • Later on all the express trains on the Chennai – Trichy – Madurai route were restored after BG conversion. All the trains on the Ahmedabad – Delhi route announced earlier were also introduced, except that Ranakpur Exp was started from Bandra to Bikaner, Suryanagari Exp was restored from Ahmedabad to Jodhpur and Aravalli Exp was started from Bombay to Jaipur (via Ajmer). In SCR, Venkatadari Exp was introduced between Secunderabad – Tirupati (via Kurnool), Haripriya Exp was introduced between Kolhapur and Tirupati. However a Secunderabd – Hubli Exp announced earlier was never introduced.
1999Nitish kumar
  • Amritsar – Darbhanga Jansewa Exp (weekly)
  • Delhi – Gandhidham Exp. (the train was not introduced, but Ala Hazrat Exp running between Ajmer and Bareilly was extended to Gandhidham)
  • Kurla-Patna superfast
  • Mumbai – Madgaon Mandovi Exp
  • Jaipur- Bangalore Exp (via Secunderabad)
  • Raichur – Gulbarga Passenger
  • Secunderabd – Machilipatnam Exp
  • Chennai – Tirupati Shatabdi (never introduced)
  • Chennai – Guwahati Exp (biweekly)
  • Pune – Ernakulam Exp (via Hubli) (introduced later, now runs via Madgoan)
  • Shalimar- Haldia Azad Exp
  • Kamakhya – NewBongaigaon Pass
  • Patna – Mughalsarai Pass (via Gaya)
  • H. Nizamuddin – Coimbatore Kongu Exp (weekly)
2000Mamta Banerji
  • Sealdah – New Delhi Rajdhani
  • Sealdah – Amritsar Akaltakht Exp
  • Sealdah – New Jalpaiguri Kanchkanya Exp
  • Shalimar – Bankura Exp
  • Howrah – Purulia Rupashi Bangla Exp
  • Ajmer – Bangalore Exp (weekly)
  • Jodhpur – Bangalore Exp (weekly)
  • Shimoga – Bangalore Exp
  • Puttaparthi – Bangalore Satya Sai Exp
  • Tirupati – Nagercoil Exp
  • Manmad – Kakinada Exp
  • Ahmedabad – Nagpur Exp (weekly)
  • Okha – Dehradun Uttaranchal Exp (weekly)
  • Bandra – Gandhidham Exp (combining 9055 Sayajinagari Exp and 9101 Vadodara Gandhidham Exp)
  • Hatia – Bhagalpur Vananchal Exp
  • Manduadih – Baidynathdham Exp
  • Lucknow – Chhapra Exp
  • Lucknow – Bhopal Exp((weekly)
  • Bikaner – Suratgarh Exp
  • Kurla – Madurai Exp (weekly)Some Calcutta area specials introduced by her:
  • Howrah – Dehradun Upasana Exp (weekly)
  • Sealdah – Ajmer Exp (weekly)
  • Howrah – Okha Exp (weekly)
2001Mamta Banerji
  • New Delhi – Bilaspur Rajdhani
  • Newdelhi – Hatia Rajdhani
  • H. Nizamuddin – Secunderabad Rajdhani
  • New Delhi – Gorakhpur Gorakhdham Exp
  • Hatia – Dhanbad Inter-City
  • Asansol – Amritsar Superfast
  • Asansol – Haldia Exp
  • Asansol – New Jalpaiguri Exp
  • Howrah – New Jalpaiguri Exp
  • Howrah – Yeshwantpur Exp (weekly)
  • Howrah – Nagercoil Gurudev Exp
  • Howrah – Rampurhat Exp
  • Kurla – Bhubaneswar Exp (weekly)
  • Berhampur – Bhubaneswar Exp (now extended to Srikakulam)
  • Chennai – Jodhpur Exp (weekly)
  • Jodhpur – Haridwar link Exp
  • Valsad – Patna Exp(weekly)
  • Gandhinagar – Indore Exp
  • Pune – Solapur Exp
  • Pune – Ernakulam Exp (via Madgaon)
  • Vasco – Yeshwantpur Exp (biweekly)
  • Jaipur – Ernakulam Marusagar Exp
  • Palghat – Trivandrum amritha Exp
2002Nitish Kumar
  • Jammu Tawi – Haridwar Exp
  • New Delhi – Howrah Exp (biweekly)
  • H. Nizamuddin – Kanyakumari Exp (weekly via Villipuram)
  • Delhi – Pathankot Exp (triweekly)
  • Guwahati – Jodhpur/Bikaner Exp (weekly)
  • Jaipur – Durg Exp (weekly)
  • Jaipur – Bandra Exp (triweekly)
  • Indore – Patna Exp (weekly via Lucknow and Varanasi)
  • Bhopal – Howrah Exp (weekly)
  • Kurla – Habibganj Exp (weekly)
  • Durg – Banglaore Exp (weekly via Chanda Fort, Secunderbad)
  • Mhow – Chittaurgarh Exp (MG)
  • Ahmedabad – Varanasi Exp (via Allahabad)
  • Ahmedbad – Rajkot Exp
  • Gandhidham – Bangalore Exp (weekly)
  • Pune – Nanded Exp (triweekly)
  • Cannanore – Banglaore Exp (weekly)
  • Calicut – Erankulam Exp (after Janshatabdi is introduced between Ernakulam and Trivandrum)
  • Chennai – Trivandrum Exp (via Nagercoil)
  • Chennai – Vishakapatnam Exp (weekly)
  • Kurla – Hatia Exp (weekly via Gaya)
  • Hatia – Gervaroad Exp
  • Rajgir – Sarnath Buddhaparikrama Exp (triweekly)
  • Howrah – Gorakhpur Exp (weekly via Narkatiaganj)
  • Bhubneswar – Palasa IntercityThere are also the Jan Shatabdis proposed
  • Madgaon – Kurla
  • Bangalore – Hubli
  • Ernakulam – Trivandrum
  • Chennai – Vijayawada
  • Habibganj – Jabalpur
  • Ahmedabad – Bhuj
  • Lucknow – Varanasi
  • Patna – Katihar
  • Tata – Ranchi
  • Raigarh – Durg
  • Guwahati – Dimapur
  • Howrah – Malda town
  • Howrah – Bhubaneshwar
  • New Delhi – Chandigarh
  • New Delhi – Dehradun
  • H. Nizamuddin – Kota

Historical Events of Indian Railways

Q. When did the first train run in India?

The customary answer to this question is 3:35pm on April 16th, 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 1851 (it began working there on 22nd December 1851, to be exact). The Solani viaduct construction was a part of the Ganges Canal project, started in 1845. The viaduct had 15 arches and spanned the 4km-wide Solani valley (about 145km north-east of New Delhi). 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, reportedly to the delight of the construction workers who had viewed it more as a hindrance than help. Hughes’ book states that this was a six-wheeled tank engine, probably a 2-2-2WT built by E. B. Wilson, and of standard gauge. Some details of the wagons and the use of the locomotive are in Sir Proby T Cautley’s “Report on the Ganges Canal Works” (3 volumes, 1860).
“[The railway is] a triumph, to which, in comparison, all our victories in the East seem tame and commonplace. The opening of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway will be remembered by the natives of India when the battlefields of Plassey, Assaye, Meanee, and Goojerat have become landmarks of history.” (The Overland Telegraph and Courier, April 1853)
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. It began work on February 23, 1852. Hughes’ book suggests that this was also built by E. B. Wilson, and was probably a four-wheeled tank engine (0-4-0T?) with dummy crankshaft. It later became GIPR loco #9. A third locomotive, Vulcan, is said to have been used by the GIPR for material hauling and shunting duties in 1852 as well.
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.

Q. What was the Guarantee System? What were Guaranteed Railways?

In the 1840s, when the first proposals for railways in India were being debated in Great Britain, there was intense lobbying in support of these proposals by banks, traders, shipping companies, and others who had a strong interest in seeing railways be formed in India. These supporters prevailed upon the British Parliament to create the Guarantee System, whereby any company that constructed railways in India was guaranteed a certain rate of interest on its capital investment. This guarantee was honoured by the East India Company which then controlled large parts of India. The railways that were formed with such agreements governing them were called guaranteed railways. Typically, the guarantee was for a return of 5% annually, and the right for the railway company to pull out of the venture and get compensation from the government at any time.

Chronology of railways in India, Part 1 (1832 – 1865)

Note: This chronology is intended as a general overview for non-specialists to give them a feel for some of the interesting and complex events that shaped the development of railways in India. Many line openings are mentioned to give an idea of the geographic spread of railway services. Dates in most cases are those for when the completed lines were open to traffic; usually sections of the line may have been opened years earlier, and might even have supported revenue traffic in parts. Dates are often somewhat uncertain because of varying reports in different sources, or lack of documentation, hence in many cases they may be off by a couple of years. Anyone seeking reliable and specific information and more detail is strongly urged to consult the reference works listed in the guide to historical research and the section on books about IR history
  • 1832
First proposal for a railway in India, in Madras. This remained a dream on paper.
  • 1840s
Various proposals for railways in India, especially around Calcutta (EIR) and Bombay (GIPR).
  • 1844
R MacDonald Stephenson’s “Report upon the Practicability and Advantages of the Introduction of Railways into British India” is published.
  • 1845
Survey work carried out for Bombay-Kalyan line and an extension up the Malay Ghat for proposed connections to Khandwa and Pune.
May 8: Madras Railway Company is formed.
East India Railway company is formed.
  • 1848
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”.
  • 1849
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.
  • 1851
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).
  • 1852
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.
  • 1853
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.
  • 1854
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. Howrah station at the time is simply a tin shed with a small booking office, and a single narrow platform.
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.
  • 1855
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!
  • 1855-1856
HMS Goodwin carrying railway carriages for East Indian Railway Co. sinks. Another ship carrying a locomotive is mis-routed to Australia.
  • 1856
May 28: Royapuram – Wallajah Road line constructed by the Madras Railway Company
Jul 1: The first train service in the south begins, 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.
  • 1858
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.
  • 1859
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.
  • 1855-1870
Several (about a dozen) railway companies are incorporated.
Early 1860s
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.
  • 1860
Bhusawal station set up by GIPR.
Vasind-Asangaon line opened.
  • 1861
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.
  • 1862
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. Sahibganj Loop.
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.
  • 1863
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.
  • 1864
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.
  • 1865
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.).
Howrah station gets a second platform.
  • 1866
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.
  • 1867
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.
  • 1868
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
  • 1869
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.

Chronology of railways in India, Part 2 (1870 – 1899)

  • 1870
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.
  • 1871
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 ‘Shorter Main Line’ on the Delhi-Calcutta route (via Jhajha, 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.
  • 1872
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.
  • 1873
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.
  • 1874-1880
Famines in several areas of India result in more railway lines being bulit for relief.
  • 1874
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.
  • 1875
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.
  • 1877
Indian Railway Conference Association (IRCA) formed.
  • 1877
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.
(Possibly 1876?) 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.
  • 1878
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).
  • 1879
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.
(1877?) Following an agreement between the British and the French, an MG line is laid between Pondicherry and Villupuram.
Parel workshops established.
  • 1880
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 (1879?), 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.
  • Early 1880′s
Bengal and North Western, Bengal Central, Rohilkhand-Kumaon, and Indian Midland Railways formed without guarantees; Southern Mahratta Railways formed with guarantees.
  • 1881
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.
  • 1882
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.
  • 1883
Punjab Northern State Railway line extended from Jhelum to Peshawar.
Attock bridge across the Indus is constructed.
  • 1884
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.
  • 1885
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.
  • 1886
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.
  • 1887
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.
  • 1888
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.
  • 1889
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.
  • 1890
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 (1891?).
NG lines: Wadhwan-Morvi-Rajkot line opened (later converted to BG); Shahjahanpur-Powayan (Powayan Steam Tramways).
(Approximate date) 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.
  • 1891
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.
Dec. 1: Mysore – Nanjangud line (24km, MG) opened.
  • 1892
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.
  • 1893
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.
  • 1894
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.
  • 1895
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.)
Howrah station gets its third platform.
  • 1896
Indian railway staff and some MG locos are sent overseas to help build the Uganda Railway.
BB&CI line to Nagda and Ujjain.
  • 1897
The first section of the NG Barsi Light Railway is built from Barsi Road Junction to Barsi Town.
(Late 1890′s) 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.
  • 1898
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.).
  • 1899
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.
July 12: Mysore-Nanjangud extended to Nanjangud Town station.
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.

Chronology of railways in India, Part 3 (1900 – 1947)

  • 1900
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.
Connection to Gaya added on the Calcutta Delhi route
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.
Bengal-Nagpur Railway lays a line to Howrah.
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.
  • 1901
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.
  • 1902
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. (Electric lighting had been tried by other railways starting in the 1890s.)
  • 1903
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 (but relaid later, see below).
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 (following belatedly in EIR’s footsteps), 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).
  • 1904
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.1905
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.
Construction begins on a new, larger Howrah Terminus station with six platforms and provision for four more, to replace the older Howrah station in use from 1854.
  • 1906
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.
Dec. 6: The Grand Chord via Gaya, which significantly shortens the distance between Delhi and Calcutta, opens on the EIR’s Calcutta-Delhi trunk route (inaugurated by the Earl of Minto, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India.
Indian Standard Time (IST) comes into force for timekeeping in British India (except for Calcutta and some other regions).
  • 1907
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.
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.
  • 1908
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.
  • 1909
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)
  • 1911
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.).
  • 1912
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.
  • 1913
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.
  • 1914-1919
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.
  • 1914
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).
  • 1915
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).
  • 1916
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.
  • 1917
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.
  • 1918
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.
  • 1919
Wagon pooling comes into wide use among the various regional railways as a result of war-time necessities.
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.
  • Early 1920′s
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.
  • 1920
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.
  • 1921
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?)
Nanjangud – Chamarajanagar railway line construction begins but stops because of financial difficulties.
  • 1922
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.).
  • 1923
Two diesel locos delivered to Barsi Light Railway by Ruton Proctor of Lincoln.
Total trackage at 60,540 route-km.
  • 1924
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.
  • 1925
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.
IRCA reviews experiments with wagon pooling and establishes it as a policy for all BG railways.
  • 1926
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.
Aug. 27: Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar section opened, completing the link from Mysore.
  • 1927
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.
  • 1928
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).
  • 1924-1929
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.).
  • 1929-1937
Railways (like everything else!) hit by the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the ensuing global depression; severe economy measures undertaken.
  • 1929
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.
  • 1930′s
Experiments with railcars on the Jamnagar & Dwarka Rly.
Power signalling introduced; upper-quadrant semaphore signals introduced.
  • 1930
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.
  • 1931
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.
  • 1932
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.
  • 1933
Kaunia-Dharlla MG lines north of the Brahmaputra are extended to Rangapara.
May 16: Kanpur trams stop operating.
  • 1934
Shoranur-Cochin line converted to BG.
  • 1935
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.
  • 1936
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.
  • 1937
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.
  • 1938
All lines of the MSMR in Mysore are taken over by the Mysore Darbar.
NG lines: Bhavnagar Tramways line extended to Mahura.
  • 1939
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.
Wagon pooling established across north Indian MG networks.
  • 1940
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.
  • 1940′s
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.
  • 1941
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.
  • 1942
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.
First Link Train run between Bhusaval and Nagpur with two XP engines.
  • 1943
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.
  • 1944-45
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.
  • 1944
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.
  • 1945
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.
Link Trains run between Bhusaval and Igatpuri with nine AWE engines.
Apr. 1: Jacobabad-Kashmore line taken over by state (now in Pakistan).
  • 1946
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.

Chronology of railways in India, Part 4 (1947 – 1970)

  • 1947
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.
Dec. 19: 56 EMU coaches ordered for Bombay suburban system from Metropolitan Cammell.
  • 1948
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.
  • 1949
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. An initial agreement is signed with the Swiss Car and Elevator Co. of Schlieren-Zurich, Switzerland, which eventually led to the establishment of the Integral Coach Factory at Perambur.
  • 1950
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.
Some railway coaches production (10 a month) begins at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., Bangalore. These are all-metal coaches made with indigenous components.
Wagon pooling established across south Indian MG networks.
  • 1951
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.
  • 1952
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.
  • 1953
Howrah-Bandel-Burdwan electrification work commences (3kV DC).
Bandra-Andheri mainline tracks electrified.
  • 1954
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.
  • 1955
Integral Coach Factory set up at Perambur, with the help of 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.
  • 1956
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.
The first seven coaches (third-class seating coaches) assembled from imported shells and other components roll out from ICF in February. On August 14, the first all-indigenous steel-bodied integral design coach rolls out from ICF.
[Disaster] The Grand Trunk Express (?) derails at Mahboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh and kills 112.
[Disaster] Madras-Tuticorin express plunges into river when 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.
  • 1957
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).
Nov. 24: 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.
Nov. 23: Narsapur-Nidadavole Passenger collides with a goods train at 3:15am at Nidadavole (near the South Cabin); many injured.
  • 1958
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.
Mar. 30: First Crack Train run between Gaya and Mughalsarai.
  • 1959
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. [??Some sources say this section was energized on Aug 11, 1960.]
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.
  • 1960
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.
  • 1961
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.
  • 1962
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.
ICF begins production of self-propelled units (EMUs) – initially only trailer coaches.
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.
  • 1963
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.
ICF begins producing MG coaches and EMU production is enhanced to include motor coaches.
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.
  • 1964
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.
  • 1965
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.
  • 1966
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.

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