Indian Railway Operations, 1855-1856

Extracts from Australian newspapers

Made available by the National Library of Australia. Edited by R Sivaramakrishnan. Posted to IRFCA on: January 16, 2010.

The Courier (Hobart, Tas.) dt. Monday 16 June 1856, p. 2

The Bengal Hurkaru of the 13th March publishes a statement of the receipts and expenditure of the East Indian Railway Company for the six months ending 31st December last, so far as they relate to the open portion of the line, that is to say, the 121 miles from Howrah to Ranigunj. The total earniugs for the six months have been Rs. 3,86.397, and the expenses Rs. 1,61,405, leaving a net balance of Rs. 2,24,902. Per mile, the gross earnings are Rs. 5-0-7 per train; and the expenses reckoned in the same way, amount to Rs. 2-0-4, showing a clear profit of Rs. 3-0-3 for every mile that each train travels over. The revenue is derived from three sources, coaching, merchandize, and minerals. The first yields Rs. 2,43,228, the second Rs. 63,850, and the third, which is exclusively for coal carried, Rs. 78,565. Besides these, there are about seven hundred rupees drawn from various trifling sources which we need not concern ourselves about. The third class passengers contribute Rs. 1,61,000 against Rs. 59,000, which is all that was received directly in fares from the first and second classes; although it is to be borne in mind that the latter furnish the principal portion of the revenue derived from the conveyance of luggage and carriages. The number of passengers was, first class 4973, second 276,564*, and third 15,061, total 346,598. The weight of merchandise carried was 1,18,731 maunds, and of coals 3,63,l57 maunds. The chief heads of expenditure are as follows :

Maintenance of way and works. .. 23,532
Locomotive department. 78,609
Coaching expenses. 19,155
Merchandise- traffic expenses... 7,542
General charges. 32,567
Total Rupees. 1,61,405

At present one terminus is in the jungle, and we think the statement now published very encouraging, showing as it dues a return of more than 3 1/2 per cent per annum. We know the cost of. the rail as far as Ranigunj to have been a trifle over 110,000 a mile, or say a total of one million and a quarter sterling for one hundred and twenty one miles; and it is on this basis that we have ascertained the above rate of return. Every accession of traffic produces a direct proportional increase of revenue, whilst it adds but a small percentage to expenditure.

Concerning the Sonthals, we quote the following from the Bengal Hurkaru of 25th March:- The acconnts vary so materially from day to day of the real condition and temper of the Sonthals, that we may not keep from our readers such information as comes in our way, and as what we have now to offer is neither murderous nor threatening, we have the more pleasure in giving it. A gentleman in the neighbourhood of Dhurora says:- ''The late rebels seem to have subsided into perfect quiet. Thousands and thousands of them are starving owing to the failure of this year's crop, and so entire is the confidence felt of no farther outbreak on their part, that the railway people are sending out peons to get them to come and work on the roads. Hunger is a great teacher - one of the mighty rulers of the earth. The vulgar appetite for food must be satisfied, or the man becomes a different creature. Daily experience shows us how essential to the effectual working of every department is the ample supply of good and agreeable nourishment.... Good feeding puts the spirit into a man. Starvation takes it out of him."


The same paper states, on 24th March, that there is a project on foot for another gigantic Railway in Central India. A line has already been sanctioned from Bombay through Surat to Baroda; and the object of the line now proposed is to continue the former from Baroda to Indore, and from thence by two separate lines to Agra and Delhi respectively.' Of course, were not the interests of the intervening country considered, one line from Baroda to Delhi, passing through Agra, would meet the requirements of those two latter cities; but Sir R. Hamilton, the Governor-General's agent for Central India, gives very good reasons for his advocacy of both lines receiving the sanction of Government.

- Sydney Herald, June 7.

[* The figures for the second and the third classes have apparently got interchanged.]

The original source material used on this page is believed to be out of copyright, and/or these extracts are believed to be fall within the scope of fair use under copyright law. Material selection and editing by R Sivaramakrishnan, 2010.