During the Industrial Age, locomotives played a hugely important role in shaping the world in its current form. India has a rich history and association with railroads, they were first introduced in 1837, when a carriage from Red Hills to Chintadripet Bridge in Madras carried granite for construction, and it was named as the ‘Red Hill Railway’. However, the first passenger train ran in 1853 between Mumbai and Thane. It embarked an era where trains would be paramount in the economic and cultural history of India.
Milestones for the Indian Railways
The Post-Independence history of the Railroads
After years of struggle and tyranny, India finally attained its independence on August 15th, 1947, and took over the reins of the Indian Railways from the British. However, all the railroads in India were not handled by one organization and even if so, it would still be a monumental task to maintain the function of such an extensive network. In the 1950s it was decided that all remaining state-owned railways would be merged into Zonal systems. And so, 9 zones were demarcated, and the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western and Central Railways to name a few came into existence.
As modernization took place, some important events, in no particular order, during the post-independence railways were:
The railways have played an integral part in molding what is essentially a modern India, but it hasn’t forgotten its roots. In honor of that rich history, two UNESCO World Heritage sites namely The Mountain Railways of India and The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), still function to this day.
The Mountain Railways which are the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal, Shimla-Kalka Railway in the Siwalik Hills, Himachal Pradesh, and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu. These are a very popular tourist attraction and regularly attract flocks of people every day. The CSMT is an old historical building nearly 150 years old and is the headquarters of the Central and Western Railways.
The future for Indian Railways looks bright, and there are plans already in place to introduce HSR and metros in various cities. For years to come, it will continue to act as a backbone of this fast developing nation.