Rail­ways cel­e­brates 165th birth­day

Net­work fer­ries 8.1b pas­sen­gers and over 1.1b tonnes of freight an­nu­ally as of 2016

Gulf News - - India - BY PAMELA RAGHUNATH Cor­re­spon­dent

In­dian Rail­ways cel­e­brated its 165th birth­day yes­ter­day. The coun­try’s first pas­sen­ger train ran be­tween Bori Bun­der (later re­built as Vic­to­ria Ter­mi­nus and then re­named Ch­ha­tra­p­ati Shivaji Ter­mi­nus) and Thane, Ma­ha­rash­tra, on April 16, 1853.

The 14-car­riage first pas­sen­ger train was hauled by three steam lo­co­mo­tives — named Sahib, Sindh and Sul­tan — car­ry­ing 400 pas­sen­gers.

Even though freight trains in In­dia started run­ning long be­fore 1853, it was the first time that a pas­sen­ger train plied on the tracks of In­dian Rail­ways.

The train stopped at Sion for 15 min­utes to wa­ter the en­gines and oil the new wheels.

It fi­nally ar­rived at Thane which stretched for 40 kilo­me­tres, af­ter 55 min­utes, trav­el­ling at a speed of 60 kilo­me­tres per hour, to a ju­bi­lant wel­come from the crowds gath­ered there.

Bil­lions of pas­sen­gers

In Novem­ber 1852, a year be­fore the maiden jour­ney, a trial run took place but it was done with a shunt­ing lo­co­mo­tive in­stead of a rail en­gine.

Later on, The Great In­dian Penin­su­lar Rail­way was formed.

Since then, In­dian Rail­ways is the largest pub­lic trans­porter and also one of the largest em­ploy­ers in the world which has been serv­ing the na­tion by car­ry­ing more than 23 mil­lion rail­way pas­sen­gers across all trains per day.

The rail net­work fer­ries 8.1 bil­lion pas­sen­gers and over 1.1 bil­lion tonnes of freight an­nu­ally as of 2016.

In­dia’s first pas­sen­ger train plied be­tween Bori Bun­der and Thane 165 years ago on April 16.

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