A Peek into the Dawn of the Indian Railways

by Nikee Kapoor An India travel expert

Imagine your first family car zooming in front of your house and you watch it with sparkling eyes. That is exactly what happened in 1851, when the first train in India ran between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar carrying lumps of clay to solve the irrigation problem. Again in 1853, the first commercial train began its 21-mile journey between Bombay and Thane with 14 carriages, 400 passengers, drawn by three locomotives – Sahib, Sultan and Sindh.

The account of how India Railway gained foothold on the Indian soil, is totally an interesting one. Do we remember that locomotives were once famed as 'fire-spitting demon'.

The dawn of Indian Railways gave a whole new meaning and breath to the Indian transport system. In 1900, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) was established and served under Lord Curzon. The Railways started booming with profit. Now India needed something faster, to travel in-between cities and the first locos made its appearance. The first electronic train served between Bombay and Kurla in 1925, covering a distance of 10 miles.

The main pressure for establishing railways in India came from London in the 1800s. The British laid the foundations in India that brought political, economical and military boost.

During the Indian independence, India inherited a frail network or railways since 50 percent of the railway routes were in the newly made Pakistan. New lines had to be constructed and re-routed to connect important Indian cities. A total of 45 diverse railway networks were merged in the Indian Railways with a span of 35,000 miles.

Around 1953 it was decided that rail networks will be classified into zones, mainly six zones. As the Indian economy kept rising, the railways started to electrify the lines. By 2003, six further zones birthed from the existing zones. Now, the Indian Railways had completely flourished with 18 zones including the metro in Kolkata.

Very soon the Indian Railway Network was becoming the lifeline of a nation, bringing together the masses. With a gigantic workforce of 1.70 million, everyday approximately 12,000 trains run, including 8,000 passenger trains.

In 1971, railways announced the construction of broad gauges and every metre gauge would be gradually converted to broad gauge. The railway lines that were to be converted into broad gauge was indentified and kept under priority work. A total length of 8150 miles needed to be converted.

The 21st century has seen a major change in the Indian Railways. Newer trains on newer routes, revamped interiors and facilities of guests have been implemented.

 Here are some interesting facts that many are not aware about:

1. Mamata Banerjee became the first woman railway minister in 2000

2. India's fastest train runs at 160 km per hour

3. Now Delhi to Agra can be reached in 90 minutes

4. The New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi is currently the fastest train on the Indian Railways network. It reaches a maximum speed of 150 kmph on the Faridabad-Agra section.

5. With 1.4 million employees, the Indian Railways is the world's 7th largest employer in the world.

6. The Gorakhpur Railway Station is now the world's longest platform at 1,366 meters.

7. World's highest railway bridge is being built over the Chenab river linking the Kashmir Valley. The bridge will rise 359 meters.

8. The longest tunnel is Pir Panjal, linking Kashmir with Banihal in Jammu.

9. The train with the longest route is Vivek Express. Running between Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari, it covers 4,286 km in around 82 hours and 30 minutes.

10. The Fairy Queen, plying between New Delhi and Alwar in Rajasthan, is the oldest functioning steam engine in the world.

The India Railways has been the heart, soul and lifeline of India and its people. We all love train rides because the length and the breadth of this wonderful country can be experienced only by train. Every station and every track has a story to tell.

The sound of the train horn is pleasing to the ears in the dead of the night. Be it a village of a hill station, you can see a huge black snake speeding on its track with a bright light guiding the path.

When Railway began 150 years ago India nobody would have thought that it will began the choice of transport in India, now If all goes well and God-willing, India will see another impressive milestone and a turning point in the history of the Indian Railways with the introduction of the Bullet Train in 2022. So If you too want to experience the great Indian Railways then book your Flights to India from UK and get the first hand experience yourself.Happy Journey.

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About Nikee Kapoor Freshman   An India travel expert

8 connections, 0 recommendations, 36 honor points.
Joined APSense since, September 7th, 2017, From delhi, India.

Created on Oct 7th 2017 08:32. Viewed 281 times.


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