Main page of the IRFCA Server

by: S. SHANKAR

 

 

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[Home] [Deccan Queen] [Flying Ranee] [Frontier(Golden Temple)Mail] [Punjab Mail] [Flying Mail] [Grand Trunk Exp] [Tamilnadu Exp] [Taj Express] [Really? Wow!!]

 

16 Apr. 1853 - 16 Apr. 2002

 

Deccan Queen, Flying Ranee, Frontier Mail (now Golden Temple Mail), Punjab Mail, Flying Mail: each one of them classic Indian trains. Each one of them full of romance. Each one of them evoking tales of grand old times, of times long gone by. Of the glories that were.

Most (though not all) of these trains are still in service. Some still evoke the same grandeur and mystique that surrounded them during the glorious yesteryears. Some have unfortunately been reduced to a mere shadow of their former glory.To travel by these classic trains means taking a journey into the past. A trip down memory lane,with your imagination running wild. Fantasizing how it might have been then. What the trains looked like. What kinds of engines hauled them. What the scenery, the countryside, the traveling gentry, and your co-passengers looked like. The dresses they wore. What the train crew looked like and what uniform they wore. The exotic culinary delights of that golden era, the food and drink served on board. The stiff upper lip and starchy interiors of the upper classes, contrasting with the crowded and sometimes squalid third class cars. And to stretch your imagination a little further, even to imagine your own family elders traveling by these classic trains of a bygone era. The luggage that they carried, the food they ate on board, how they passed their time.

Welcome to Classic Trains of India. Here, I have tried to explore the history and origins of some of the most famous and best known trains of India.

In a project of this nature, information can never be 100% accurate, given patchy and inconsistent data, inaccessibility to real records, most of which are buried deep down in the railway archives. A lot of material on a single subject has had to be collected and collated from at times over twelve or more sources of data. Nonetheless, I have tried to present data which is as authentic and accurate as possible.

Please note that I have excluded India's modern supertrains: the Shatabdi and Rajdhani Expreses, the Palace on Wheels, Royal Orient, Buddha Parikrama etc. Although these are classy, upmarket trains, they are not classic trains, if you get my drift. Fascination and awe maybe, but here is no real romance associated with these strictly commercial modern super trains. I'm considering putting them into a separate website. 

Ah, but to talk of a train which originated in 1928 or 1930, hauled by those magnificent Mail engines, with the stiff upper lip starchy gentry on board, ah well, thats something!! Some trains like the Taj Express or Tamil Nadu Express are not really ancient, they started off fairly recently. And yet they earned an enviable reputation for their speed, punctuality and reliability. And acquired a classis status in their own right. Some of such trains are included too.

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This is just a beginning. There are still scores of more such classic trains in India. In the near future, I would like to feature several more of such trains on these pages.

For this, I need information, and pictures. Please e-mail me at frontier_mail@yahoo.com if you have any historical information, or are in a position to provide me with  pictures and details of any of the following trains:  

Kalka Mail, Malalaxmi Express, Howrah Madras Mail, Pink City Express,  The Imperial Indian Mail, Brindavan Express, or any other train you consider worth including here.

However, please note that mere names would not suffice, I would require some information and pictures as well. Pictures not 100% essential, but authentic information, certainly yes. More points would suffice, I can always build on those.

If you would rather send me the information by post, my postal address is:

S. Shankar, P.O.Box 2144, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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So much for future plans. But in the meantime, do enjoy what is already here: historic overview and information about a handful of classic trains. Click on the links on this page to experience for yourself the fascinating and nostalgic world of the Classic Trains of India.

Please note that the color of the panels and links box on the pages which follow represent the livery worn by the train represented by that page. This livery is not necessarily the current one, but it certainly was a livery worn by that train at least once during its lifetime.

My special thanks are due to my friend Viraf Mulla, who was an invaluable help in providing me with the information about four of trains featured here viz the Deccan Queen, Flying Ranee, Punjab Mail and Frontier Mail. Thanks also to John Lacey, Skandan, Gautam Parthasarathy, Jay Balakrishna, Sagar Tipnis, Vijay Balasubramanian  and others who provided additional information and suggested corrections about the other trains. Thanks are also due to Satish Pai for allowing me to make use of the 'Famous Trains' section of his epic IR FAQ page. Last but not least, thanks to Gautam Parthasarathy, Shashanka Nanda, Shriram Chellappan, John Lacey, Terry Case, Richard Morrisson, Apurva Bahadur, Dr. Shirish Yande and others for their photographic inputs.

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Users of older and non-java browsers may follow the textual links below:
[Home] [Deccan Queen] [Flying Ranee] [Frontier(Golden Temple)Mail] [Punjab Mail] [Flying Mail] [Grand Trunk Exp] [Tamilnadu Exp] [Taj Express] [Really? Wow!!]

 

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All material on this website is copyright S.Shankar. You are welcome to download any material from these pages for your own PERSONAL use, or for any non commercial applications. This includes downloading images for use on your personal website or making printouts and giving them out to your friends. The material is NOT TO BE USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL PURPOSES whatsoever. In the event of your using any material from this site, please credit me with the information and drop me a line so that I can visit the items in their new home. Material from other sources has been used with prior permission from the owners of such material, and this has been duly acknowledged wherever applicable.
Last Revised & Updated 29-04-2002   Page spun by S.Shankar with Microsoft FrontPage2000