Railway Budget 2016: History of Indian Railways in years

As the Railway Budget 2016 was presented by the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, we take a look at the history of Indian Railways from steam to modern-day trains.

Today, we talk about bullet trains, but there was a time when trains ran on steam. With 16 zones, India's railway network is one of the largest in the world.

Railway Budget 2016-17

Here, trains are considered as an important lifeline that connects all corners of the country and binds together over one billion people of this country.

It has been a connecting link for those who have to travel in different states, all across India. Let us go through the changing face of Indian railways:

Steam Engine

In December 1851, first steam engine Thomason was operated in Roorkee. second was named after Bombay governor as Lord Falkland, third was used as trial run of the passenger train in Nov 1852.

In 1970, the last steam locomotive was rolled out of Chittaranjan Locomotive Works. By 1985, steam locomotives were phased out.

[Also Read: Railway Budget 2016: Indian Railways in numbers]

Fairy Queen, one of the oldest working steam locomotives in the world, has gained tourist attraction because it is the oldest steam engine in operation hauling luxurious train from Delhi to Alwar.


India's debut with official train

With the modest beginning, India's first train was flagged off on Saturday, April 16, 1853 from Bori Bunder, Mumbai to Thane for a distance of 33.81 kms. 400 passengers first experienced the travel in the train of 14 coaches.

Interestingly, the Bombay government had declared that day as a public holiday.


Diesel train: No looking back

To combat the problems faced by steam engine trains, diesel trains were launched, that were faster.

Diesel Locomotives are fitted with Auxiliary Power Units which saves nearly 88% of fuel during the idle time when train is not running.


Electric train

In 1904, the idea to electrify the rail network was proposed.

On Feb 3, 1925, first electric train made debut between Bombay (Victoria Terminus) and Kurla, a distance of 16 kms

Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) coaches are used for suburban traffic in large cities - mainly Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore.


High-speed rail

In July 2014, India's first semi-high speed bullet train or high-speed train had a successful trial run from Delhi to Agra in 90 minutes only. It is likely to be fully operational in 2015, with the name of "Gatimaan Express", with a maximum speed of 200 km/h.

The current fastest train in India is the Bhopal Shatabdi that runs with a top speed of 150 km/h.

After Lok Sabha elections 2014, Modi government promised to build the Diamond Quadrilateral project, which would connect via high-speed rail the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai.


Indian Railways in years:

1832: Innovative and novel plan for the introduction of a rail system was proposed.

1854: On August 15, 1854, first passenger train in the eastern section ran between Howrah to Hooghly (24 miles).

1856: On June 26, 1856, first train between Royapuram and Wallajah Nagar was flagged off.

1859: On March 3, 1859, North India got its first date with passenger train that ran between Allahabad and Kanpur at a distance of 180 km.

1895: India started manufacturing its own locomotives.

1921: In September 1921, the landmark decision about the separation of railway finances from general finances was taken by the Acworth Committee, headed by William Acworth.

1925: India's first ever railway budget was presented.

1947: Due to partition, railway system was divided. Some of the part was given to Pakistan and some to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

1951: On April 14, 1951, Southern Railway was formed.

1952: On April 14, 1952, Northern Railway was formed.

1977: India got its first Railway Museum, spread over 10 acres, in New Delhi.

1978: On March 31, 1978, Railways were split into nine zones.

1985: Steam locomotives were replaced by diesel and electric locomotives.

1987: Computerization of reservation first was carried out in Bombay

1989: Train numbers were standardised to four digits

1995: Entire railway reservation was computerised through the railway's Internet.

1998: Konkan Railway was opened for public.

1999: Fairy Queen bagged the National Tourism Award for most innovative and Unique Tourism Venture.

1984: On October 24, 1984, Kolkata became the first Indian city where first metro rail ran 25 kms from Calcutta to Dumdum.

1994: On 24 March 1994, first live telecast of railway budget took place.

2000: Mamata Banerjee became the first women Railway Minister of India.

2002:  On Dec 24, 2002, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) began its operation in Delhi. 

2004 to 2009: Railway budget was presented by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, six times in a row.

2010: Wi-Fi facility launched at Mysore Railway station  on Monday, Feb 1, 2010.

2011: On Oct 20, 2011, Bengaluru got Namma Metro. 

2014: On June 8, 2014, Mumbai got Mumbai Metro and Mumbai Monorail.

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