"Fear has its use but cowardice has none. "
~ Mahatma Gandhi

"Each one prays to God according to his own light "
~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Indian Railways

The first railway on the Indian sub-continent ran a stretch of 21 miles from Mumbai to Thane.

Inaugurated on 16th April 1853, 14 railway carriages carrying about 400 guests left Bori Bunder. This idea was first conceived by Mr. George Clark, Chief Engineer of the Bombay (Mumbai) Government, during a visit to Bhandup in 1843, when he wanted to pursue the idea of a railway to connect Mumbai with Thane, Kalyan and the Thal and Bhore Ghats.

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The first passenger train from Howrah station to Hooghly, 24 miles away was auspiciously inaugurated on 15th August, 1854. In the south the first line between Veyasarpandy and Walajah Road (Arcot), 63 miles away was opened on Ist July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. In the North a length of 119 miles of line was laid from Allahabad to Kanpur on 3rd March 1859. The first section from Hathras Road to Mathura Cantonment was opened to traffic on 19th October, 1875. By 1880 the Indian Railway system had a route mileage of some 9,000 miles. The railways have served to transport the people of India to many different destinations in various states.


More recently one of the achievements have been the Metro Railway of Calcutta. Opened to commercial operation for the entire route between DumDum and Tollygunge in 1995, it is now the pride of Calcutta. The 760 km long Konkan Railway from Roha to Mangalore is also a recent addition with 169 major and 1630 minor bridges and 88 tunnels with the longest being 6.5 km long. Almost a quarter of the total route of Indian Railways is now electrified. Carrying 11 million passengers a day over more than 62,000 route kilometers and 1,07,000 track kilometers it is the largest rail system under a single management.

The 760 km long Konkan Railway from Roha to Mangalore is also a recent addition with 169 major and 1630 minor bridges and 88 tunnels with the longest being 6.5 km long.
There are several different kinds of trains and categories of accommodation catering to varied needs. The prestigious Rajdhani trains from Delhi connect the state capitals with the national capital of India. The Shatabdi trains run for shorter distances and are the fastest trains in India. Both trains are fully air-conditioned. The mail trains are relatively faster than the passenger trains which stop at smaller stations en route and are generally imply an uncomfortable and tedious journey. Local trains are for the convenience of commuting passengers.

The railways have some special trains for tourist sectors. The Palace on Wheels, for which payment is in dollars, connects Agra with Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur in Rajasthan. For the international tourist it is a charming and romantic introduction to an India that exists only in the pages of our history of princes and kings. Royal Orient Express is a similar train that covers destinations in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. There are other special trains like the Buddha Parikrama, which covers Buddhist pilgrim destinations, and the Fairy Queen which is the oldest running locomotive in the world, and runs between Delhi and Sariska National Park.

Compiled by Romola Butalia

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.