Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Central Railway, which heralded India’s first train route, turns 73


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Mumbai, Nov 4: The Mumbai headquartered Central Railway (CR), which succeeded the Great Indian Peninsular (GIP) Railway of the British-era, will celebrate its 73rd foundation day on Sunday, officials said here.
It was on the GIP-CR that Asia’s and India’s first railway train ran 34 kms between Bori Bunder (Mumbai) and adjoining Thane on a warm Saturday of April 16, 1853.
That 75-minute commute wrote the first of a glorious chapter in mass public transportation for the entire sub-continent and beyond, touching the lives of billions… After that epochal development, the GIP Railway continued to expand and in 1900, it was merged with the Indian Midland Railway Company, even as the CR was headquartered in Mumbai’s ‘Bori Bunder’ or ‘Victoria Terminus’ and what is now the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The frontiers of the new merged entity expanded all the way to Delhi in the north, Kanpur and Allahabad in the north-east, Nagpur in the east to Raichur in the south-east, affording a through connection from the then Bombay (Mumbai) to almost the entire India.
At that time the route mileage of the GIP Railway was just 2,575 kms, but it proved to be a critical uniting factor for the country engaged in a long war for Freedom from the British Raj.
Post-Independence, on November 5, 1951, the CR was created by integrating the railways of the erstwhile Nizam State (Hyderabad), Scindia State (Gwalior) and Dholpur State (Rajasthan).
Presently, the CR has five divisions – Mumbai, Bhusaval, Nagpur, Solapur and Pune with a route network of more than 4,219 kms and 471 stations spanning Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
In the past 72 years, the CR has bagged many feathers in its operations – the first trains of Shatabdi Express, Jan Shatabdi Express, Tejas and others, and continues to develop and progress.
In 72 years, the originating loading which stood at 16.58 tonnes has now shot up to 81.88 metric tonnes (2022-2023), and this year it notched its best ever 49.02 tonnes in the April-October freight loading period.
The CR’s suburban services – the lifeline of the country’s commercial capital along with its sister Western Railway – has increased services from 519 (1951) to a staggering 1,810 in Mumbai and 40 in Pune (2023).
The Mumbai suburban section has spread out to four different corridors to cater to the largest number of people through its 1,810 daily services.
The suburban services which had started with just three coaches gradually grew to 9, 12 and now even 15, offering enhanced capacity with the same route infrastructure, besides introducing air-conditioned trains and now the sleek Vande Bharat Express trains.
Simultaneously, other works like constructing new lines, doubling, tripling or quadrupling certain sections, electrification, upgradation of stations and construction of new stations, bridges and other infrastructure also continues at a quick pace. (IANS)


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