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From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 22 Apr 1993 13:54:00 -0500

Help needed

Nice to see that this net still exists. Vijay Balasubramaniam has asked
me to post this message as he doesn't have e-mail now.
He has been a victim of IBM's problems and is now in the job market. Here
are some very brief details of his areas of interest. If you feel that your
company or univ has any possible opening, please contact him at
(914) 473 4836.
He has a PhD in CS from Urbana-Champaign in 1991 and was working at
IBM Poughkeepsie until now. He is interested in the following areas:
Fault-tolerant computing
Parallel processing
Computer architecture
VLSI design

Although he would prefer to be in industry, he awould also be interested
in faculty positions or possibly post-docs.
Please reply to him, not me.

From: dheeraj <

Subject: IRFCA found a new home.

Date: 27 Apr 1993 13:43:00 -0500

Hello everyone,

Thanks to Satish we have
a new home for IRFCA. The new address for irfca is:

Please make a note of it, and send future mails to that address.

I am sending this mail to both the old list and the new list.
So all of you should receive two copies of this mail. If you
receive only one, then let me ( and/or
Satish know, and we will try to fix the problem.

The old address of irfca would remain valid for some time but
don't depend on it. It can go any time.

My thanks to all of you who cooperated and helped in maintaining
this list for last 4 years, and hope that the same cooperation
would be extended to our new administrator, Satish.


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Re: IRFCA found a new home.

Date: 27 Apr 1993 13:55:00 -0500


As Dheeraj already announced, mail to the IRFCA mailing list should now
be sent to " Please update your .mailrc files or your
alias lists or whatever to reflect this change.

For administrative requests such as adding new members or deleting members,
mail should be sent to me, " Please do not send
administrative messages to the mailing list. (Unfortunately there is no longer
an "owner-irfca" address available now.) Changes to the mailing list will
usually take about 24 hours to take effect.

I do have copies of the old IRFCA archives that Dheeraj maintained. I will
be maintaining archives of future IRFCA mail too. However, disk space is not
that plentiful, so I may not save _all_ articles for all time; my policy will
probably be to discard non-informative articles (queries, etc.) from the files
after say 6 months or so.

Looking forward to lots of interesting discussions on IRFCA! And thanks
a lot to Dheeraj for his administration of the list till now.



From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 28 Apr 1993 14:47:00 -0500

First "genuine" posting from the new node

I join all other irfca netters in thanking Dheeraj and Satish for
ensuring that irfca continues to thrive. Here is the first "genuine"
posting from the new node.
Some interesting technical points from the recent budget speech:

Chittaranjan has produced the first prototype electric locomotive of 5000
hp for freight operation. This will, to a large extent, avoid double-heading
on graded sections.
Designs have been finalised for a rail bus having a capacity of 75 seats
on broad gauge and 60 on metere gauge. This bus can be driven in both
directions without turning and will provide a quick shuttle service on
low-density lines in rural areas.
Designs have been finalised for diesel multiple units which can run with
high fuel efficiency and rapid acceleration in any combination from 3 to
9 coaches. These units could achieve the same trasnit times as mail/express
All BG steam locos to be withdrawn by 1996-97.
Computerised reservation now extended to 37 stations. Work on 18 other
stations in progress. It is to be extended to 12 more stations in 1993-94.
At this stage over 80% of all reservations will be done by computer.
A new class called "sleeper class" is introduced which has fares 25%
higher than second class. No sleeper surcharge as at present. Presumably
the railways hope to ensure that unreserved passengers do not enter these
coaches. The class structure now becomes:

AC first class
AC sleeper
AC chair car
First class
Sleeper class
Second class (separate fares for express and passenger trains)

Apart from these, there are special fare tables for the Rajdhani and
Shatabdi expresses, special surcharges for superfast trains as well as
"chargeable distances" on certain routes.
There is also a long list of new lines and bg conversions which I will
post soon.


Subject: Current info about Bombay (sub)urban Railway system.

Date: 05 May 1993 11:46:00 -0500

I'll appreciate it if someone on this net can answer a few questions
on this topic.

1. What is the current extent of service? My old info is:
WR -- Churchgate to Virar, Quad tracks upto Borivli, rest double.
CR -- VT to Kasara/Karjat, Quad tracks upto Kalyan Jn, rest double
VT to Bandra/Mankhurd, Double track upto Chembur/Bandra, single
from Chembur to Mankhurd.
2. Some major projects CR was working on: extra tracks from Bandra to
Andheri, flyover junction to blend Bandra and Mankhurd traffics.

What is the current status of these or any other projects in Bombay
area? What are the number of services on these routes? Any news on the
So called Seventh Corridor project?

Also, any news on any other urban railway projects? Madras/Hyderabad?

Thanks in advance.
Tamisra Sanyal

From: Sanjoy Majumder <

Subject: suburban railway projects and their status

Date: 06 May 1993 13:41:00 -0500

This is in response to the mailing that inquired about the status of
Bombay's suburban railway network. I don't have much information about
Bombay specifically except that the Mankhurd-Belapur link has been completed
with the construction of the bridge over some creek the name of which I
Here however are some updates on other suburban railway projects,
gleaned from my trip to India in Dec-Jan '92-'93.


The Metro rail project is still far from being complete. Earliest estimates
place it at 1995-97. At the moment the service is from Tollygunge to
Esplanade and in the north from Belgachia to Dum Dum. The
Shyambazar-Belgachia link is expected to be completed first by about 1995.
The more tricky Shyambazar-Esplanade link is expected to take longer. This
involves intricate construction as there are several old buildings along the
route and their foundations are in danger of being weakened. During my stay
one building was affected. The tenants were evacuated and the building
demolished. (This was on Central Ave). The tenants were compensated by the
railway authorities with rent money for temporary accomodation and
assistance in obtaining fresh accomodation. Several construction delays due
to water logging during the monsoon and labour problems have also delayed
the project. There was an 11 month labour problem sometime in 1991-2. That
has been resolved temporarily.
There are conflicting reports about the start of phase 2 of the
project, to link Salt Lake with Howrah station, (with the subway going under
the Hooghly river) and eventually extended to Ramrajatala. Some reports said
that construction has begun on each end. I did not see any evidence of it.
Ultimately, Indian Railways would like to delink the Metro Rail
system and form a company which would handle its functioning exclusively.
Again I have no information on the status of this proposal.

Delhi at present has a surface circular rail service which runs parallel to
the Ring road. Over the years there have been several attempts at coming up
with solutions to Delhi's urban transport problem with ideas ranging from
subway systems, overhead rail transit systems and a suburban rail system
like that of Bombay's. The current proposal is a combination of the latter
two. Central Delhi is to have a subway system, from Karol Bagh to New Delhi
station (running west to east). It will then extend on the surface all the
way to Shahdara in east Delhi. A subway line will also run north-south from
Azad nagar and Model Town to ND station and down to Defence colony. A part
of this line will be on the surface. I believe there are also proposals to
link Dhaula Kuan and Okhla with these lines. Unfortunately no construction
work has begun because they are still searching for finance and coming up
with an adequate funding mechanism.

Anyway, that's all for now. I hope you find it informative. Maybe someone
can add to this. I know that both Hyderabad and Bangalore are working on
mass transit systems, but I have no information on them.

Sanjoy Majumder

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 07 May 1993 16:42:00 -0500

News from here and there

Calcutta metro: Some progress at last. The Belgachia-Shyambazar section
is to be open (only single line) by June 1993. The second line will be
opened by the end of this year. The enxt section to be opened is
Chandni Chowk-Esplanade in April 1994.

Bombay: The Mankhurd-Belapur line is now open up to Nerul beyond Vashi.
The remaining 5 km to Belapur may be open by June 1993. Some of the
locals which used to run from VT to Mankhurd are running to Nerul. There is
also a new station at Mankhurd a little away from the old one.
Some new passenger services are running between Virar and points north like
Dahanu Road. The EMUs from Churchgate cannot run beyond Virar because of
the voltage problem.

Madras: The new line from Madras Beach to Park Town was opened some months
ago. This line will ultimately reach Luz and may be opened by March 1995.

General: Some new diesel-multiple units are being introduced in different
places. One service was recently started between Cuttack and Berhampur.
The unigauge conversion scheme continues to be in full swing. Almost
every day the newspapers carry some ad about one of these schemes being
inagurated or completed. One tangible benefit is a new super express between
Bombay and Jaipur via the branch from Sawai Madhopur.
Come to think of it, Jaipur was the largest city which did not have broad
gauge. The largest city which doesn't have a nearby railway station is
probably Srinagar, followed by Shillong and Imphal. Agartala does have a
railway station a few km away-but in Bangladesh :-)

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 11 May 1993 10:59:00 -0500

Gauge conversion projects-update

The following gauge conversion projects have been completed in the year
ending March 31 1993. They total 1351 km which is more than the target of
1200 km.

Bangalore-Mysore 138 km
Lalgarh-Bikaner-Nagaur-Merta 177
Dindigul-Madurai 62 (actually a parallel BG line)
Lalgarh-Kolayat 42
Nadiad-Kapadvanj 45 (from NG)
Mankapur-Katra 30
Fazilka-Kot Kapura 80
Sawai Madhopur-Jaipur 125
Lucknow-Kanpur 59 (this had been a parallel MG line)
Bangalore-Yelahanka 12
Parbhani- Parli Vaijnath 63
Purulia-Kotshila 34 (from NG)
Madurai-Tuticorin 134
Guntur-Narsaraopet 46
Aurangabad-Jalna 64
Delhi-Rewari 83
Lucknow-Manaknagar 5
Bellary-Rayadrug 54
Burhwal-Mahmudabad 38

About 11000 km are to be converted by 2000, of which 6000 km are to be
completed by the 8th plan (March 97, I think)

From: Jishnu Mukerji <

Subject: Re: Gauge conversion

Date: 11 May 1993 17:36:00 -0500

Excerpts from personal.IRFCA: 11-May-93 Ajai (858*)

> Delhi-Rewari 83

Has MG service to Delhi Jn. been discontinued? If so what are they doing
with all the MG trains that originated in Delhi Jn.? Runnign link BG
trains to Rewari to connect to the MG trains?


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 04 Jun 1993 16:52:00 -0500

News from here and there

22 persons were killed and 63 injured in a train accident in Tamil
Nadu on June 1. The site was Samalpatti station on the Jolarpettai-Salem
section, when the Kurla-Mangalore Express collided with a wagon
which had earlier derailed.
(Looks a bit like the earlier accident to the Rajdhani. But if this
happens within the station limits, someone should have noticed the
derailment earlier.)
A light rail system is now planned for Bangalore at a cost of over
1000 crores.
A new series on "Great Railway Journeys" is under production by the
BBC. This time it won't cover India, but it will cover Pakistan. Interestingly
it will include a trip up the Khyber Pass. This line was recently reopened.
Other trips include one from St Petersburg to Mongolia, Peru and Ireland.
Conversion work has started on the Miraj-Kurduwadi-Latur narrow gauge line.
This will be further extended to Latur Road which is on the Vikarabad-Parli
section. This could give a shorter route for trains going from Hyderabad to
Bombay side, since they could now run from Hyderabad to Vikarabad, Latur
Road, Latur and Kurduwadi (and bypass Wadi, Gulbarga and Solapur).

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 09 Jun 1993 15:53:00 -0500

Details of new lines

Here is some information from this year's railway budget:

The following projects totallling 319 km were to be opened by March 31, 1993:

Amguri-Tuli (rail head for Nagaland)
Alleppey-Kayanakulam (Kerala)
Telapur-Patancheru (near Hyderabad)
Bilaspur-Rudrapur (part of Rampur-New Haldwani line in UP)
Dindigul-Madurai (TN,note that this is a parallel BG line and not conversion)
Talcher-Angul (part of Talcher-Sambalpur project in Orissa)
Trichur-Guruvayur (Kerala)
Satna-Rewa (MP)
Gwalior-Sanichara and Khajuri-Shivpuri of Guna-Etawah project (MP and UP)
Mathura-Deeg (part of Mathura-Alwar project, UP and Rajasthan)
Sambalpur-Maneswar (part of Talcher-Sambalpur project in Orissa)

The following new lines totalling 269 km are planned to be completed
by 1993-94:

Deeg-Alwar (part of Mathura-Alwar project, UP and Rajasthan)
Challakere-Rayadurg (part of Chitadurg-Rayadurg project, Karnataka)
Lakshmipur-Rayagada (part of Koraput-Rayagada project, Orissa)
Rudrapur-Lalkua (part of Rampur-Kathgodam project, UP)

With the opening of these sections the following projects will be completed:


Clearance from the Planning Commission has been received for the following

Narkher-Amravati (Maharashtra)
Nizamabad-Peddapalli via Karimnagar (Andhra)

(If one is somewhat familiar with the home towns and constituencies of
some major politicians, you will find a lot of interesting coincidences in
the above lists. Have fun trying to find the connections.)

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 19 Jun 1993 18:56:00 -0500

Details about the Madras Rajdhani

It will run once a week in either direction from July.
Madras dep 15.00
Nizamuddin arrival 21.15 next day

Nizamuddin dep 06.50
Madras arrival 13.15 next day

4 commercial halts in either direction: Vijayawada, Nagpur, Bhopal, Jhansi.
No details about technical halts.
Rake consists of 11 coaches: 2 generator/luggage, 1 AC first, 3 AC sleeper,
5 AC coach. (no pantry car?)
As in the Bangalore Rajdhani, meals are extra (not part of the fare as in
the Shatabdis and Howrah/Bombay Rajdhanis).

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 24 Jun 1993 17:25:00 -0500

Place names in Kerala
(This was meant for alt.culture.kerala, but others may find it of

What is the present position about the renaming of towns in Kerala? As
I understand, in 1989 the then LDF government changed the names of several
towns so that they were the same in both English and Malayalam.
For instance, a signboard on a government office or bus would earlier
have read "Alleppey" in English and "Allapuzha" in Malayalam. Now it would
also read "Allapuzha" in English.
As far as I could make out, these were the places whose English names were

Old New
Alleppey Allapuzha
Cochin Kochi
Trichur Thrishoor
Palghat Palakkad
Quilon Koylom
Trivandrum Tiruvananthapuram
Calicut Kozhikode
Cannanore Kannoor

(Ernakulam and Kottayam seem to have escaped unscathed :-)
Of course, this really didn't make any difference to the local people as
they knew what is being referred to. It might have caused some problem to
outsiders visiting the state. Also, it would be confusing for people outside
Kerala reading news agency reports from exotic places like Kochi.
Of course, Tiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode were in somewhat general use
before 1989, but not the other "new" names.
Apparently the Central government did not agree with these changes. Hence
the names of railway stations were not changed. Anyway the present UDF
government plans to cancel the changed names. Just wondered what the
general public in Kerala felt about the issue.
Incidentally, the longest name of a railway station in Kerala is
Mullagunnathukavu (on the Trichur-Shoranur) section. By the way, the main
campus of the Trichur medical college is situated here, and it was always
a big pain to book a trunk call to my brother when he was studying there :-)
But if you think that name's a mouthful, try these for size:

Tannirpandalpalaiyam (near Salem, TN)
Periyanaickenpalaiyam (near Coimbatore,TN)
Tiruppadiripuliyur (near Cuddalore, TN)
Srungavarapakota (near Visakhapatnam, AP)
Fatehabad Chandrawatiganj (near Indore, MP)
Basavana Bagdewadi Road (near Gadag, Karnataka)
Anugrahanarayanan Road (near Sasaram, Bihar)
Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta (near Renigunta, AP. The Indian record holder.)

At the other extreme we have

Ib (near Jharsuguda, Orissa)
Bad (near Mathura, UP)
Ara (near Patna, Bihar)

Strangely, the world record for the longest name of a railway station
does not belong to India. There is a station called Llanfairpwllgwlll....
siliogogogoch (total 56 letters)in Wales, UK. The name seems to be a bit of a
concoction as the local people made up the name when the line was built.
Similarly, Venkata..peta is actually a combination of the names of three or
four villages which were served by the station.

From: dheeraj <


Date: 27 Jul 1993 15:29:00 -0500

It is time for me to say good-bye to all of you. It has been a
lot of fun to receive all the info on IR, sitting so many thousand
miles away from where the real fun is. Now it is time for me to move
on and enjoy riding those trains once again. I hope to join the list
again in couple of months' time after I am settled down in my new job.

Long ago, I read the book, "Indian Railways: One Hundred Years,
1853-1953" by J N Sahani and published by Ministry of Railways. I had
posted some quotes from that book in Sep/Oct 1989, and reposted them
in summer 1991. Before I take leave from IRFCA, I thought I would post
it once again. (Satish, please take my name off the list.)


"The Bengal Hurkuru of 23rd August 1854, gives some amusing `first
impressions of railway travel' of some of its readers. `Roop Chand
Ghose, a flourishing dealer in piece-goods and purfumery,' when sat
down at the end of the journey after he had arrived at Hooghly, felt
strongly suspicios and went down the street asking several people as to
the name of the place he had reached. It took a long time before the
conviction gained upon him that verily he had come to Hooghly.' Pandit
Radhalunkur Banerjee, `after duly consulting the stars,' undertook his
trip up to Hooghly `but declined to undertake the return journey,'
because said he, `too much travelling on the car of fire was calculated
to shorten life. Seeing that it annihilates time and space and curtails
the length of every other journey, it must shorten the journey of human
life.' There was then the case of one Mr. Jones who had made trips to
Hooghly and back three successive days. `Having acquired a notion of
speed, such as he never knew before, he can no longer reconcile himself
to the jog trot of his buggy horse, and accordingly does nothing but
whip the poor brute in the vain hope of making it go at something like
railway speed'."

"British experts apprehended that a large number of classes will have
to be provided because of the prevailing religious caste and racial

Did you know that Chittaranjan Locomotives produced only 3 engines
in its first year of operation, 1950 and that electrification of routes
was stopped in 1936, and wasn't undertaken at least until 1953.

The first electric train ran between VT and Kurla in 1925, a distance
of 9.5 miles. (Till 1953, India did not use SI units, so the book give
figures in miles only.) In 1926, Thana and Mahim were connected. In
1929, electrification was complete up to Kalyan. In 1928, Borivili in
the north was connected. In 1929, Kalyan - Igatpuri section was
commissioned. In 1930, Kalyan - Poona tracks were opened to electric
trains. In 1931, metre gauge track between Madras Beach and Tambaram
was electrified. After that the only electrification project undertaken
was Borivili - Virar, finished in 1936.

The earlier reason for electrification was primarily steep grade and
hence steam engines were incapable. e.g. in case of Bombay (where
almost all the electrification was done), Municipality had developed a
scheme to house industrial workers along what is now known as Harbour
Branch. Since it was realized by that time that suburban trains would
be the most practical way of transporting people locally [Why they
didn't do the same thing for Delhi then?] there was a need to connect
that area by trains. The only practicable manner in which this
connection could be effected was by taking the track on a series of
masonary arches and steel viaducts for a distance long enough to enable
it to cross the Wadi Bunder goods yard and the quadruple track of the
main line entering the Bombay Terminus. This necessitated a short
stretch of gradient of 1 in 34 on a heavy curve where the Harbour
Branch line descended to the level of the main line. It was felt that
an intensive suburban service could not obviously be operated by steam
traction on such a gradient. This was one of the important reasons
which determined the decision to electrify the entire suburban track up
to Kalyan.

The reason for electrification upto Igatpuri and Poona was to be able
to move traffic faster over Ghat inclines. e.g. The steam engines could
haul only half the goods train over the Ghat, which have a maximum
gradient of 1 in 37. So the goods train were divided into 2 and joined
again later. Also passenger traffic to and from Poona was increasing,
and electrification helped removed the bootleneck of the Ghats. Now
Deccan Queen could make the journey from Bombay to Poona in 3 hours.

The reason for electrification of Bombay-Virar and Madras-Tambaram was
to provide fast suburban traffic.
All these electric routes were served by 1500 Volts DC power.

Did you know that among the four metropolitan cities, the two to be
connected first were Delhi and Calcutta in 1866. The first train
between the two cities were run in 1864, but at that time the bridge
at Allahabad wasn't complete and coaches crossed the river on big
boats. The bridge finished in 1865. The train at that time used to
stop before Jamuna in Delhi. The Jamuna bridge in Delhi was finished
in 1866, and that is when the train started coming to what is now
known as Delhi Junction.

The first train in India was NOT in 1853, but in 1852. The first train
went from Bombay to Thana on 18th Nov. 1852. It covered the 21 mile
distance in 45 minutes. The train was formally inaugrated on 16th Apr.
1853. The day was observed as a public holiday.

The first train could very well be in the East. 38 miles of track were
ready by 1853, but two mishaps prevented the running of the first train.
The ship bringing the first railway carriages, HMS Goodwin sank at
Sandheads. The ship bringing the first locomotive was misdirected to
Australia. There was also some boundary problem with France. (Chander-
nagore was under French control, and tracks were found to be encroaching
its boundary. The locomotive finally reached India in 1854. The coaches
were constructed in India, and the first trial trip was done from
Howrah to Pundooah on 28th June 1854. On 15th Aug, Howrah to Hooghly
section was formally inaugrated.

The railroads were started by British capitalists in the beginning.
In fact, State assumed the administration only in 1925. The terms that
were offered to them were: Free land, no taxes, company's responsibility
for doing surveys and making plans, govt. has to approve all plans, all
lines were to constructed according to one specification, worked on
one system, company has to maintain all works in perfect repair, and
after a certain timeframe (about 20 years) the Govt would have right
to become the proprietors of the railroads. The Govt ensured a minimum
return of 5 percent. The return of 5 percent was more than the interest
rate at that time, and anybody who had any money bought shares in the
railroad compaanies. As a result, the companies were flush with funds
and were very extravagant. In fact, the cost of laying tracks in India
at that time was more than twice the cost in Canada, which is surprising
even though in India, the terrain was uneven, and presented many
engineering challenges.

As of 1953, there were seven railway platforms of length more than
2000 feet. Five of them were in India. Sonepur - 2415, Kharagpur - 2350,
Lucknow - 2250, Bezwada - 2100, Jhansi - 2025. The other two were
Bulawayo (Zimvabve, then Rhodesia) - 2302, Manchester (England) - 2194.
In fact, the 22 longest platforms in the world are all in India or
England except 3 (in Zimbabve, Burma and Pakistan) which were also
constructed by British. (As of 1953.)

Does anyone know of current position in this regard.

Here is an interesting quote from the book:
"In the early stages it was difficult to convince people that
a fast moving railway train would continue on its tracks and was not
likely to run off the rails and become a danger to the life and property
of those living in the neighbourhood of the railway line. To obviate
some of the dangers, various alternative inventions were tried. In
England, an inventor introduced what was then known as the Atmospheric
System. This was based on the general principle that trains should be
propelled forward by means of atmospheric pressure acting on a piston
working in a tube from which the air had been pumped by stationary
engines situated at intervals along the line of route. The system was
not a passing fancy. It was actually tried at many places, and even an
act of Parliament was passed authorising the construction of an
Atmospheric Railway from Croydon to Epsom."

Gauges: It was in 1870 that meter gauge was allowed by the British Govt.
to speed up laying down of tracks. (It saves money and therefore more
miles could be laid for the same money. By now, the capitalists had
invested enough in railroads, and there was shortage of money for fresh
investments.) In 1953, India had 16000 miles (25600 KM) of broad gauge,
15000 miles (24000 KM) of meter gauge and 3000 miles (4800 KM) of narrow

Rails: The standard of rails is expressed in terms of weight in pounds
per yard. The broad gauge tracks were laid with 90 lb standard, while
the meter gauge tracks were laid with 50-60 lb standard. [I think the
Delhi-Kanpur and Delhi-Jhansi tracks are now 120 lb standard.] The length
of rails varies from 30 ft in branch lines to 42 ft for main lines.

In the beginning, the centre to centre distance in case of two parallel
tracks on the Western Ghats, was 12 feet. In 1940s, Indian railways decided
to use modern wider rolling stock. That caused problem of shifting the
tracks. The centre to centre distance was established at 15 ft and 6
inches. The book gives an interesting description of the work involved,
and the novel schemes of widening tunnels when the traffic on one track
is moving normally.

The first train with double decker coaches was introduced in 1862. (I
always thought that Singarh (sp?) Exp. running between Bombay and
Pune was the first such train.) In 1874, Fourth class of service was
introduced which has no benches. The passengers were supposed to sit
on the floor, and there wasno protection from rain, sun etc. After a
public agitation, benches were restored, it started being called 3rd
class, and the original 3rd class was renamed as Intermediate class.
Until 1885, all coaches were made of wood. Then they started making
all-steel underframe, but the body continued to be of wood. All steel
coaches were first introduced on Bombay suburban service in 1922. It
was only in 1949 that IR adopted all-steel coaches as its standard for
all future coaches. Did you know that HAL Bangalore used to (still
does ???) make coaches? By the way, all-steel coaches are also known
as `integral design' and hence the name `Integral Coach Factory' to the
coach building factory of IR. In 1949, the length of broad gauge
coaches was increased from 68 feet to 70 feet, and width from 10 feet
to 11' 8" (which was later reduced to 10' 8"). First AC coach was
introduced in 1936. Before that, upper class coaches were kept cool in
summer by khas-khas in mattings which were kept moist. Early coaches
used to open on the outside. Inward opening doors were first
introduced in 1909. Four-wheeler coaches were replaced by bogie coaches
in 1903. Vacuum break was introduced in 1879. In earlier trains in other
countries, passengers had to get their own candles for light. In India,
oil lamps were provided from the very beginning. In 1870s gas lamps
became common. The first electric lights were introduced in 1902 by
Jodhpur Railways. By the end of the decade, it became standard on all
railways. Latrines in the third class coaches were first introduced in

Did you know that TELCO, Jamshedpur also made (still makes??) railway
engines? The first broad gauge locomotive was manufactured in India in
1880 in the East Indian Railway workshop, while the first meter gauge
locomotive was built in 1896 at Ajmer.

In 1952, "One among every 400 Indians is a `Railway Man.' One in
every 100 families looks to the railways for support.

The most impressive success story of Indian Railways seems to be the
construction of Assam Rail Link. The lines in Assam were cut off from
the rest of the country after partition. The construction of a railway
link had to be undertaken immediately to provide a direct rail route
to Assam over Indian territory.

"The Assam Rail Link covers a distance of 143 miles. The route
passes through thick malarial jungles which had to be cleared before
surveys could be made, formation prepared, bridges built, track laid,
and ancilliary services provided for train running. Between Nov. 1948
and April 1949, TWO HUNDRED MILLION cubic feet of earth had to be moved
for embankments and other earthwork to bring about an appropriate
alignment. Between the two ends, the alluvial plains of East Bihar and
West Assam, lay the foothills of mighty Himalayas studded with boulders
and shingle. The alignment interspersed with deep cuts and high fills
cut across the drainage of the country and the problem lay in bridging
368 channels varying in size of bridge opening from 3 feet to 1425
feet, spread over a distance of 250 miles. This had to be accomplished
within one working season of five and a half months, in an area where
rainfall usually exceeds 250 inches per year.

Including the Tista, Torsa and Sankosh, there are 22 rivers
which required deep well foundations for constructing bridges. For
other flood openings and hill streams, steel girder bridges on masonry
abutments and piers were constructed. Heavy boulders up to six feet in
diameter, and buried tree trunks were the usual obstacles encountered
in well sinking. In this area the training of rivers on guide bund
principle had been rejected, as engineers had considered that the steep
beds of rivers, high velocities of flood waters and presence of heavy
flotsam rendered such methods unsuitable. The practice adopted instead
was to bridge every river or stream, from bank to bank, and then
protect the ends by spurs, etc, from year to year as found necessary.
The adoption of bank-to-bank bridging on this project was, however,
considered inordinately expensive and the training of rivers by guide
bunds with certain modifications was adopted.

Steel girders of Indian Railway Standard type and Army Standard
Truss type were used for spans of bridges. In three bridges, however,
pre-stressed concrete girders of 60 feet and 40 feet spans were cast
in situ [italics]. These were cast and employed for the first time
under railway loading in India and perhaps in the world, and this has
been considered a remarkable and unique achievement in bridge building.
In the case of one road under-bridge, a two-hinged rigid concrete frame
of 44 feet span and 48 degree skew was built.

In all one span of 250 feet, 29 spans of 150 feet, 4 spans of
100 feet, 14 spans of 80 feet, 18 spans of 60 feet, 20 spans of 40 feet
and 100 spans of 30 feet, and under were erected. Roofed area provided
both for service buildings and residential accomodation is 550,000
square feet. The entire project was completed at a cost of Rs.
8,89,71,204 being an average of Rs. 6,22,176 per mile."

All that work in FIVE AND A HALF MONTHS only.

Railway Zones were created by regrouping the railway systems in 1951.
The first Zone to be created was Southern Railway on 14th April 1951.
Central and Western Railways were created on 5th Nov. 1951. On 14th
April 1952, Northern, North Eastern, and Eastern Railways were
inaugrated. In the beginning there were only 6 zones. In all these
times of hectic activity, Lal Bahadur Shastri was the Railway Minister
of India.

From: Manish.Malhotra <

Subject: ABB

Date: 31 Jul 1993 13:59:00 -0500

Taken from listserv news;

NEW DELHI - Asea Brown Boveri transportation systems in Zurich, Switzerland
today announced that it has concluded a contract, valued at approximately
200 million dollars with the Railway Ministry to transfer main-line electric
locomotive technology to Indian Railways.

From: Janardan Ramesh <

Subject: Get together

Date: 02 Aug 1993 10:00:00 -0500

Have a good time guys. I am definitely missing not having Vijay on the net.
I wish I could have attended, but Rochester is a little bit too far away
from San Jose, California. Please do post about how it went.

Does anyone have an idea about the progress on havong a unigauge system?
I read somewhere that Jaffer Sheriff stated that the conversions should be
complete in the next 10 years.

This was stated when he innagurated the broad gauge line between Bangalore
and Tumkur (as part of converting the Bangalore-Miraj) line.


From: S Pai <Pai>>

Subject: Re: Get together

Date: 02 Aug 1993 15:03:00 -0500

JR> Does anyone have an idea about the progress on havong a unigauge system? I
JR> read somewhere that Jaffer Sheriff stated that the conversions should be
JR> complete in the next 10 years.

I think he said it would be completed in the 9th 5-year Plan period.


From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 10 Aug 1993 14:15:00 -0500

IRFCA revived

It was nice to return from a vacation and see IRFCA revived. As more than
one person has enquired about Vijay, I am glad to tell you that he is
joining the faculty of Xavier University in New Orleans. He should be there
by about Aug 20. Apparently they do not have e-mail.
Also nice to hear that Rochester is likely to be the venue of the next
get-together, since I am likely to spend some time there.

From: Ajai Banarji <


Date: 16 Aug 1993 18:23:00 -0500

Odds and ends

Good, looks like we will meet at Rochester. I will be there for a while
after Aug 23. A pity that some of the stalwarts won't be around. Does
anyone know where Aravind is now?
One new development in the timetable: there is now a daily Rajdhani service
between Delhi and Howrah. On 5 days it will run on the usual route via
Dhanbad. On the other 2 days it will run via Patna, taking 20 hours against
18 hours by its Dhanbad counterpart. The stoppages are Kanpur, Allahabad,
Mughalsarai, Patna and Jhajha.
(Why Jhajha? It is a totally unimportant place which has a large railway
station only because it was a convenient place to change engines in the
early days. Other examples of this type are Dongargarh and Bitragunta. Probably
netters can give other examples. There are, of course, moderately-sized
cities like Kharagpur which came up only because a railway junction came up
there. And there are several cities of population in the 1-lakh region where
the railways are probably the only employer e.g. Guntakal, Bhusaval)
The new Madras Rajdhani takes around 30 hours compared with 33-36 hours for
the GT and TN. It should be remembered that the TN express used to take 30
hours when it was introduced in 1976-and remember that in those days only
the Madras-Vijayawada section was electrified. Progress while standing still !
Finally, on a personal note, I am happy to say that the age of miracles
is not yet over. I was one of the winners of the green card lottery this year.
(It's not meant for desis but anyone born in Britain is considered British by
the US immigration service.) Does anyone know about openings in Amtrak :-)

From: Siddhartha Duttagupta <

Subject: rajdhani

Date: 17 Aug 1993 08:53:00 -0500

could somebody give me the latest frequency and timings of rajdhani expresses ?
Also what is the status of the konkan railway project?
Finally how many trains operate between bombay and madras and their timings?Also which starts from VT,Dadar and Kurla.
This is to settle a bet,so I want the latest...and pronto!!!

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