The never-ending journey of trains in India began from the Great Indian Peninsula Railway which left Bori Bunder station in Bombay for Tanna (Thane), thus establishing the foundation of Indian Railways in 1853. It was a remarkable day when the train took fifty-seven minutes to reach Tanna (Thane) with a total distance of 33.8 kilometers. It was exactly 167 years ago when the first train was launched successfully not only in the Indian Subcontinent but in entire Asia.
On the 167th Birthday of Indian Railways; let us remember some of the interesting facts of Indian Railways and its journey from scratch to being one of the top railway networks in the world.
The First proposal for Railway in India: The First proposal for a railway in India was decided in 1832 which was to be started in Madras (now Chennai). This remained a dream on paper.
The First Operational Railway in India: The first operational rail project was the Red Hill Railroad near Madras (Chennai), in 1837 used for transporting granite stone. The conservative paper dated 6th May quoted:
“We have reason to know that the state of the rail-way question, as far as the Government are concerned, is as follows:- The attention of the Government was attracted to the large and unproductive expenditure upon the public roads of this presidency, and the board of revenue were, in consequence, desired to report whether a more economical and efficient system could not be introduced, and whether it might not be advisable in some instances to substitute rail-roads for common roads. The board referred the subject to Capt Cotton, who after inspection of the localities, expressed confident opinion, that by laying rails to the Red Hills, and to the Stone Quarries at the Little Mount, a saving of nearly one half, or about 28,000 rupees out of annual expenditure of about 60,000 might be affected in the conveyance of materials alone for the presidency roads, besides yielding a revenue by the conveyance of private trade. He recommended, therefore, that immediate measures should be taken for surveying the lines and framing detailed estimates. His proposal was approved, and orders issued accordingly and also for laying down the experimental rail-way at Chintadrapet, as an experiment.”
India’s oldest working locomotive: Manufactured in 1855, Fairy Queen is India’s oldest working locomotive. It is also the oldest functioning steam engine in the world.
Oldest Railway Station in India: Started in 1854, the Howrah junction railway station is the oldest in India.
Fourth Largest Rail Transport Network in the World: Indian Railways is the fourth largest railway network in the world. It has a track length of 67,368. This length can circle the equator 15 times.
Longest Railway Bridge in India: The connecting bridge between Edappally and Vallarpadam in Kochi is the Vembanad Rail Bridge. It is the longest railway bridge in India. The total length of the bridge is 4620 meters.
World’s Highest Railway Bridge: 359 meters above the Chenab River, the Indian Railways is planning to build the world’s highest railway bridge. When completed, it will be higher than France’s Eiffel Tower.
From the First Passenger Train to Vande Bharat Express: Journey Continues…….
When it comes to running the first passenger train in India which was run in 1853; the technology was limited. The technical trends were not as developed as it is today. The journey of Indian railways had started from a point where technology was not that updated. On the contrary, after centuries, when the technological advancement is at its peak; the railways, in 2018, launched an engineless train called TRAIN18 (later renamed as VANDE BHARAT) was a masterpiece. It runs with a speed of 180KM/h. The technical journey of Indian railways continues and India is waiting for its first Bullet train.
EMPTY TRACKS IN 2020! No Trains to run due to Coronavirus Lockdown
It is in the first time of the history of Indian railways that the tracks are empty and no passenger trains are operational in 2020. The entire nation and world is hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. All the passenger trains are shut by the railways. The freight trains and on-demand parcel trains are only running to supply the basic essentials to the public. During the pandemic, the Indian Railways, has actively participated and came up with several measures like converting rail coaches into hospital wards, inventing the world’s cheapest ventilator named Jeevan and locomotive factories which stated producing hospital beds for coronavirus patients. We can expect railways running speedily on their tracks after the lockdown ends. RailMitra salutes Indian railways for its endeavors to uplift the nation from COVID-19 pandemic and return soon with the khatar Khatar wheel sound and happy passengers traveling and enjoying the beautiful natural scenic beauty outside.