Historical development of Indian Railways

1844 – First proposals for the construction of Railways in India were submitted to East India Company by R.M. Stephenson, a Railway Engineer in British India.

1849 - East India company undertakes a construction of a 160  km Railway line from Calcutta to Mirzapur.

1850 - Contract undertaken by Indian Peninsular Railway for construction of a line from Bombay to Kalyan.

1853- First Railway line between Boribunder (Bombay VT) and Thane (32 km) opened.

1854 – First train between Howra and Hoogly (39 km) was run.

1855-60 – Following eight Railway companies were established in India.

  1. Great Indian Peninsula Railway
  2. The East Indian Railway
  3. The Madras Railway
  4. The Bombay-Baroda and Central India Railway
  5. The Scindia Railway
  6. The Eastern Bengal Railway
  7. The South Indian Railway
  8. The Calcutta and South Eastern Railway

1862- Assistance was given to Railways to construct feeder lines in Northern India

1866 – Completion of line from Calcutta to Delhi. This included Son Bridge and Rail-cum-Road bridges over Yamuna in Naini and Delhi.

1867 – Completion of Bombay-Bhusaval-Itarsi-Jabalpur  route of the GIP Railway and connecting it to East India Railway at Naini.

1869-1881 – Government took over construction of Railway lines and stopped giving any fresh contract to companies.  Disastrous famines occurred during 1874-79 demanded rapid expansion of Railways.

1871 – A selection committee of British Parliament was appointed to review the schemes of Railway construction.

1879 – Total length of Railway line goes to 14920 km.

1880 – The Famine Commission recommended construction of 8000 km of Railway lines in India to protect the country from famine.

1881 – Lord Hardington, Secretary of State for India, formulated rules for construction of Railways. He divided Railways into 3  categories (i)  productive (ii) unproductive and © protective.

1881- 97 – New Contracts were given to the following new companies:

  1. Bengal Central Railway
  2. The Bengal North Western Railway
  3. The Rohilkhand and Kumaon Railway
  4. The Southern Mahratta Railway
  5. The Indian Midland Railway
  6. The Bengal Nagpur Railway
  7. The Assam Bengal Railway Company
  8. The Burma Railway Company

1890 – Passing of the Indian Railways Act which came into force on 1st May 1890.

1900 – Total length of Railway line goes to 39,603 km with capital outlay of 329 crores.

1901 – Mr. Thomas Robertson was appointed to investigate into railway administration, organization and system.

1902 – Setting up of Indian Railways Conference Association to frame or modify rules and regulations of interchange of traffic between Railways.

1905 – A Railway Board was established with one President and two members under the Department of Commerce and Industries.  Railways branch of the Public Works Department abolished.

1907 –Mckay Committee was appointed to examine the financial problems of Railways.

1908- Railway Board was reorganized.

1914 – Total length of Railway line goes to 56,456 km with capital outlay of 495 crores.

1914- 21- World War I period saw Railway fares increasing considerably. Some lines of strategic importance were constructed.

1920 – “Indian Railway Enquiry Committee” was appointed under the chairmanship of Sir William Acworth to look into Railway policy, financial and administrative. The report of this Committee laid the foundation of the State management and State control of the Indian Railways.

1922- The Railway Board was reorganized.

1923 – Nationalization of Railways started.

1924 – As recommended by Railway Finance Committee, headed by Sir Malcolm Hailey, the Railway finances were separated from the General budget by a “Separation Convention”.

1925 – Government took over the management of East Indian and Great Indian Peninsula Railways. First Electric Traction was introduced  from Bombay VT to Kurla and local train system from Bombay to Kurla started.

1929-30 – Route Kilometrage gone up to 66,358 and capital investment gone up to 857 crores.

1930-31 – Great Economic depression. Rs. 11 Crore was withdrawn from the Railway Reserve Fund for general revenues.

1937 – Burma was separated from India due to which total railway Kilometrage was curtailed by 3200 km.

1939 – Total Railway Kilometrage stands at 65850 km.

1939-47 – World War II . Due to extensive usage of wagons for military movements very few were left out for private use.

1942 -  War Transport Board was  created.

1943-44 Bengal famine period.

1947-48 –Indian Railways suffered great loss during partition of India.

1949-50 Government acquired control over all Railways except a very few private companies. Prior to integration of princely states  there were 21 Railways operated by Government of India and Princely States.

1950 – Regrouping of Railways was done and 6 Railway zones were formed as follows.

Southern Railway

HQ : Madras

Comprised of former South Indian Railway, the Madras and Southern Mehratta and Mysore State Railways.

Central Railway

HQ : Bombay

Comprised GIP Railways three Princely State Railways viz, Nizam, Scindhia and Dholpur.

Western Railway

HQ : Bombay

Comprised B.B. and C.I., Saurashtra, Rajasthan and Jaipur Railways.

Eastern Railway

HQ : Calcutta

Comprised Bengal-Nagpur Railway and Sealdah, Howra, Assansol, Danapore and Dhanbad Divisions of E.I. Railways.

Northern Railway

HQ : Delhi

Remaining parts of E.I.R., Eastern Punjab Railway,  Jodhpur Railway, Bikaner Railway and Delhi-Rewari-Fazilka section of the Western Railway.

North-Eastern Railway

HQ :Gorakhpur

Oudh-Tirhut Railway, the Assam Railway, Kanpur Achnera section of the Western Railway.