Indian Roorkee. Steam locomotives remained the mainstay

Indian Railways has a fascinating history, Involving royal coaches and fancy salons, the oldest running steam locomotive, and a station that is a world heritage site.

Milestones

1. 1832: A proposal for building railway tracks in India was put forward in Madras presidency. Lord Dalhousie, the governor-general of India (1848-1856), was instrumental in sanctioning the construction of tracks all over the country.

2. 1851: India’s first steam locomotive, Thompson, used for construction work in Roorkee. Steam locomotives remained the mainstay of Indian Railways for the next one century. After 1972, their manufacture was stopped. 3. 1853: First passenger train ran between Bombay (Mumbai) and Thana (Thane), covering 35 km. It started at Bori Bunder, the first railway terminal of India.

It was only a small wooden structure, which was later built into the magnificent Victoria Terminus. 4. 1854: The first railway bridge was constructed over Thane Creek. Construction of bridges was instrumental in connecting India. At several places, where there were no bridges over rivers, the coaches were ferried across on a ship. 5. 1864: Indian Railways comes to Delhi at a partially-constructed station, which later became the Old Delhi Railway Station.

The train had 100 passengers on board. From one train that year, the station now handles 200 trains daily. 6. 1903: Construction of Old Delhi Railway Station completed just in time for the Delhi Durbar. A number of Company officials came to Delhi for the Durbar, which was held to crown Edward VII as the emperor of India. 7. 1925: First electric train operates between VT and Kurla. Process to electrify all Trunk railway lines in India was completed by 1975, leading to phasing out the steam locomotives.

Bombay-Pune line was the first major line to be electrified. 8. 1969: The first Rajdhani Express between Howrah and Delhi started. This was the first superfast as well as the first fully air conditioned train of India. In 1988, the first Shatabdi was introduced between Delhi and Jhansi.

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