IR History: Part - III (1900 - 1947)

Chronology of railways in India, Part 3 (1900 - 1947)

  • 1900
  • GIPR network becomes state property on July 1, but the company is allowed to continue operating the services.
  • Upper Sone bridge built, the longest in India at 10,052 feet.
  • Balotra-Hyderabad section of Jodhpur Bikaner Rly. opens.
  • Doon Railway opens (Haridwar-Dehradun).
  • Tapti Valley Railway opened.
  • Connection to Gaya added on the Calcutta Delhi route
  • Assam Bengal Rly. opens branch line to Guwahati.
  • Bengal Dooars Rly. open link to EBR at Lalmonirhat.
  • Rajputana Malway Rly. becomes part of the BB&CI Rly.
  • Bengal-Nagpur Railway lays a line to Howrah.
  • Brahmaputra-Sultanpur Branch Rly. opens MG line from Santahar east (with a ferry section) to Mymensingh.
  • Manmad-Secunderabad MG line opened by the Hyderabad Godavary Valley Rly.
  • Calcutta tramways' electrification and conversion to standard gauge from meter gauge begins. Total system size is at 30km.
  • NG lines opened: Parlakimedi Light Rly. from Navpada (BNR); Rajpur-Dhamtari (BNR). Planning begun for Matheran Light Railway.
  • 1901
  • Sir Thomas Robertson Committee submits recommendations on administration and working of the railways.An early version of the railway board is constituted, with three members serving on it at first.
  • Railway mileage now at about 24,750 miles in India, of which 14,000 miles are BG, and most of the rest MG (with only a few hundred miles of 2' and 2'6" gauge lines).
  • The railways also start returning some modest profits; for the last 40 years they had been making large losses.
  • Indian Midland Railway merged into BBCI Railway.
  • EIR's "Grand Chord" section finished connecting Sitarampur - Gaya - Mughalsarai.
  • BB&CI line to Cambay.
  • East Coast Rly. line to Waltair becomes part of the Madras Railway.
  • MG lines: Kaunia-Dharlla Rly. lines converted to MG; Jodhpur - Hyderabad (by Jodhpur Bikaner Rly., after a section near Hyderabad is converted from BG to MG).
  • NG lines: Gitaldaha-Jainti (Cooch Behar State Rly.); Nawshera-Dargai State Rly. (later NWR).
  • Burn & Co. sets up a workshop at Howrah.
  • 1902
  • Shoranur-Cochin line is built, owned by the state but operated by the SIR.
  • A monorail of the Ewing system (double-flanged wheels and an outrigger wheel for balance) powered by ponies is installed for transporting tea and other light goods at the High Range near Keranganie.
  • The Luni-Shadipalli line is completed in the Thar desert. The Shadipalli-Hyderabad (now Pakistan) line is regauged to MG.
  • BNR takes over part of the East Coast Rly. lines (Cuttack - Vizianagaram, branch line to Puri).
  • NG lines: Khushalgarh-Kohat (later NWR).
  • Mar. 27: Electric trams begin operating in Calcutta.
  • The Jodhpur Railway becomes the first to introduce electric lights as standard fixtures. (Electric lighting had been tried by other railways starting in the 1890s.)
  • 1903
  • BESA standards for new loco types are formulated.
  • The Robertson Report recommends re-laying all BG and MG lines to standard gauge, but this report seems to have been completely ignored.
  • Nov. 9: Kalka-Shimla Railway line opened, built at 2'0" gauge (but relaid later, see below).
  • The first bogie-mounted coaches appear, including bogie dining cars on some railways.
  • Assam-Bengal Rly. joins Dibru-Sadiya Rly. at Tinsukia from Chittagong via Lumding (MG).
  • GIPR appoints its first Signal Engineer (following belatedly in EIR's footsteps), Mr I W Stokes.
  • Interlocking introduced for 9 stations (3 on Bombay-Thane section, 6 on Thane-Kalyan section) -- including Bombay VT.
  • NG lines: Gondia-Nainpur (BNR); Kohat-Thal (later NWR).
  • 1904
  • The Moghulpura workshops near Lahore build six 0-6-2T "ST" class locos by using parts from other locos, making them the only works other than Ajmer to build locomotives in (British) India.
  • The Kharagpur Locomotive and Carriage and Wagon Workshop is set up.
  • Railway Board expanded, given more powers.
  • Agra-Delhi chord line opened.
  • NG lines: Nainpur-Chhindwara (BNR); Howrah-Tribeni (Bengal Provincial Rly. Co., connecting to Katwa line); Gwalior light railway sections: Gwalior - Jora Alapur (Jan. 1), Jora Alapur - Sabalgarh (Dec. 1). Construction begun on Matheran Light Railway.
  • 1905
  • Powers of the Railway Board are formalized under Lord Curzon. The Board is under the Department of Commerce and Industry, and has government railway official serving as chairman, and a railway manager from England and an agent of one of the company railways as the other two members.
  • The visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales gives EIR a chance to build a special train with coaches rivalling the luxury saloons used by nobility in Europe.
  • A petrol-driven 0-4-0 loco from Kerr Stuart is in use by the Morvi Railway and Tramways company.
  • Kalka-Shimla Railway regauged to 2'6" gauge under guidelines from the War Department seeking to ensure uniformity in all imperial narrow gauge systems.
  • "F" class 0-6-0 MG locomotives are introduced, soon to be among the most widely-used in India for just about all kinds of duties. Dubs & co. of Glasgow built the first few.
  • Railway Board decides that lavatories will be provided in all lower class carriages for trains running more than 50 miles.
  • BNR's Satpura Railway complete's Gondia-Nainpur-Jabalpur link.
  • Surendranagar - Rajkot MG section opened.
  • A short MG spur is built into Afghanistan along the Kabul river.
  • NG lines: Wadhwan-Rajkot line of Morvi Rly. converted to BG; Rupsa-Barapada line of Mourbhang (Mayurbhanj) Rly. opens (BNR); Tirupattur-Krishnagiri; Gondia-Nainpur line extended to Jabalpur (BNR); Tuna-Anjar by the Maharaja of Cutch, later part of the Cutch State Rly.
  • GIPR line quadrupled up to Currey Road.
  • The first electric trams run in Madras with overhead electrification.
  • Entire Calcutta tram network is now electrified and converted to standard gauge. The Howrah Station to Bandhaghat line opens in June.
  • Construction begins on a new, larger Howrah Terminus station with six platforms and provision for four more, to replace the older Howrah station in use from 1854.
  • 1906
  • The 'General Rules' are framed, governing operation of railways.
  • Howrah Terminus rebuilt and inaugurated, the largest railway station in India.
  • Madras Rly. builds Morappur-Dharmapuri MG line for famine relief.
  • Barsi Road Jn. - Pandharpur section of Barsi Light Railway opens.
  • Kalka-Shimla Rly. taken over by the state.
  • Rajputana-Malwa Rly. taken over by state and made part of BB&CI Rly.
  • BB&CI Rly. starts a Weekend Special from Bombay to Surat, the forerunner of the Flying Ranee.
  • Kasganj-Kathgodam section opens to passenger rail traffic.
  • Kurla-Chembur single line built for garbage trains.
  • Dec. 6: The Grand Chord via Gaya, which significantly shortens the distance between Delhi and Calcutta, opens on the EIR's Calcutta-Delhi trunk route (inaugurated by the Earl of Minto, the Viceroy and Governor-General of India.
  • Indian Standard Time (IST) comes into force for timekeeping in British India (except for Calcutta and some other regions).
  • 1907
  • The government purchases all major lines and re-leases them to private operators, with the exception of Rohilkhund & Kumaon Rly. and Bengal & North-Western Rly.
  • Sirhind-Morinda section of the Patiala State Monorail is opened, powered by oxen and army mules from 1907 until 1927.
  • By now, toilets are standard in most lower class carriages, except for short suburban lines.
  • Railway Mail Service (RMS) is established.
  • 22 March: Matheran Light Railway opens, with 4 articulated 0-6-0T locomotives.
  • Madras Railway trunk route extended from Calicut to Mangalore.
  • Jaipur - Sawai Madhopur MG line opened by the Jaipur State Rly.
  • NG lines: Purulia-Ranchi (BNR); Tuna-Anjar extended to Bhuj (Cutch State Rly.); Shahdara-Saharanpur Light Rly. (Martin & Co.).
  • The Sir James Mackay Committee suggests further enhancements to financial and administrative procedures.
  • May 7: Electric trams begin operating in Bombay.
  • June: Kanpur's electric tram system begins operation.
  • 1908
  • Kaunia-Dharlla MG line of East Bengal Railway extended to Amingaon, where a ferry across the Brahmaputra connected to the rail system of the Assam Bengal Railway through Guwahati.
  • BB&CI Railway constructs a line from Baroda to Mathura.
  • India's first internal combustion locomotive, a petrol-driven MG loco, is delivered to the Assam Oil Co. by McEwan Pratt & Co. of Wickford, Essex.
  • Patiala State Monorail obtains the four famed Orenstein and Koppel monorail locomotives for some of its lines.
  • Inward-opening doors are introduced on passenger coaches.
  • The spur from the north-west territories into Afghanistan, the only railway line in Afghanistan at this time, is dismantled.
  • NG lines: Gwalior - Sheopur Kalan (2' gauge, Gwalior Light Rly.), Sabalgarh - Birpur (Nov. 1).
  • Karachi's horse-drawn trams are replaced by petrol trams.
  • Calcutta tram network extended to Sibpur via G.T. Road.
  • 1909
  • India's first electric locos (two of them) are delivered to the Mysore Gold Fields by Bagnalls (Stafford) with overhead electrical equipment by Siemens. Also among the earliest electric vehicles, electrically operated rail trolleys (" White's patented rail motor trolleys") are brought into use (by EIR's Carriage & Wagon workshops, by the Oudh and Rohilkhund Rly., by the Eastern Bengal State Rly., etc.).
  • A petrol-driven 0-4-9 loco is supplied to Morvi Railway and Tramways by Nasmyth Wilson. A couple of Thornycroft petrol-driven parcel delivery vehicles are also in use by the EIR.
  • Saharanpur marshalling yard under construction by the North Western State Rly. and the Oudh and Rohilkhund Rly.
  • 23-ton BG bogie hopper wagons brought into use by Bengal Nagpur Rly. for transporting iron to the Tata Iron and Steel Works.
  • South India Rly.'s contract is renewed despite widespread support for appropriation by the state among local interests.
  • South India Rly. is engaged in ultimately abandoned attempt to build a direct railway between India and Ceylon with a viaduct over the Panban viaduct.
  • The Harbour Line opens from Kurla to Reay Road as the terminus (double track).
  • Syke's Lock and Block system of interlocking introduced on the BB&CI Rly. and other railways.
  • NG lines: Gwalior Light Rly. : Birpur - Sheopur (Jun. 15)
  • 1911
  • Kanpur - Chachran line opened by princely state of Bahawalpur (now in Pakistan, closed in the 1980s).
  • NG lines: Barsi Light Railway extended until Latur; Champaner-Shivrajpuri Light Rly. (later part of BB&CI); Dehri-on-Sone - Rohtas (Dehri-Rohtas Light Rly.); Bukhtiarpur-Bihar Rly. (Martin & Co.).
  • 1912
  • June 1: Punjab Mail (GIPR) makes its inaugural run.
  • Cabin interlocking completed for the entire length of the Bombay-Delhi route (GIPR).
  • Work begins on Mysore-Arsikere link.
  • 1913
  • Bowringpet-Kolar 2'6" line (part of the Kolar District Rly.) opened by the Mysore State Railways.
  • Madras Rly. extends MG line from Dharmapuri to Hosur.
  • NG lines: BB&CI lines to Godhra, Nadiad; Jessore-Jhenidah (McLeod's).
  • NG lines: Kalabagh-Bannu (Trans-Indus Rly.; later NWR).
  • In the Mumbai area, suburban terminals are opened at Kurla, Kalyan, Thane, and one at the BB&CI station at Bandra for GIPR trains.
  • 1914-1919
  • World War I places heavy strain on the railways. Railway production is diverted to meet the needs of British forces outside India. At the end of the war Indian railways are in a total state of dilapidation and disrepair. All services are downgraded or restricted.
  • 1914
  • Ceylon Government Railway extends the line from Polgahawela to Talaimannar at the northern tip of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), to enable connecting services with SIR trains with a ferry crossing across the Palk Strait. Steamer services from Dhanushkodi (India) to Talaimannar (Ceylon) start on March 1.
  • RBS standards for rails adopted (90lb/yd for BG, 60lb/yd for MG).
  • Double line between Ravli Cabin and Mahim on Harbour Branch.
  • NG lines: Dholpur-Bari line extended to Tantpur; Dhond-Baramati (Central Provinces Rly.; later GIPR); Murtazapur-Achalpur/Yavatmal; Arrah-Sasaram, Baraset-Basirhat (Martin & Co.); Larkana - Jacobabad and Jacobabad-Kashmore (NWR, now in Pakistan after conversion to BG).
  • 1915
  • Two new branches of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway opened to traffic. The Kalimpong Road (now Gelkhola) branch followed the Teesta valley (hence known as the Teesta Valley Line) and the Kishanganj branch (built in the preceding year, 1914) ran west - southwest of Siliguri.
  • Lower Ganges Bridge (Hardinge Bridge) opened on the trunk route to Siliguri on the EIR.
  • Burdwan-Katwa line opened.
  • Mandra - Bhaun and Sialkot - Narowal lines opened (both now in Pakistan; the former was closed in the 1990s).
  • First ever diesel locomotive in India, a 2'6" gauge unit from Avonside (Bristol) is supplied to the India Office for use on a tea plantation (in Assam??).
  • Currey Road - Thane line is quadrupled.
  • Calcutta-Santahar MG line of East Bengal State Rly. opens.
  • NG lines: Yeshwantpur-Devanahalli-Chikaballapur section of what would become the Bangalore Chikaballapur Light Rly. opens (2'6"); Ellichpur-Yeotmal (Central Provinces Rly.; later GIPR); Burdwan-Katwa (McLeod's).
  • 1916
  • Bowringpet-Kolar 2'6" line extended to Chintamani / Chikkaballapur (forming the Kolar District Rly.) by the Mysore State Railway.
  • Kacheguda station built by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
  • Parsik tunnel (1.3km) opened to traffic.
  • NG lines: BB&CI lines to Pani mines.
  • 1917
  • Ahmadpur-Katwa line opened.
  • Thane-Kalyan line is quadrupled.
  • Yeshwantpur-Yelahanka MG line is made mixed gauge to allow NG 2'6" traffic.
  • NG lines: Pulgaon-Arvi (Central Provinces Rly., later GIPR); Khanai-Hindubagh (Zhob Valley Rly.; later NWR); Bankura-Damodar, Kalighat-Falta, and Ahmadpur-Katwa (McLeod's).
  • Nushki Extension Rly. towards Iran opened till Dalbandin, from Spezand on the Sibi-Quetta line.
  • 1918
  • Bangalore-Chikkaballapur Light Railway (2'6") opens the Bangalore-Yeshwantpur section.
  • Mysore-Arsikere MG line opened by the Mysore Darbar.
  • Nushki Extension Rly. is completed until Zahidan (Duzdap) in Iran.
  • 1919
  • Wagon pooling comes into wide use among the various regional railways as a result of war-time necessities.
  • Oct. 1: Mysore Darbar takes over Nanjangud-Mysore-Bangalore and Birur-Shimoga lines.
  • NG lines: Pachora-Jamner (Central Provinces Rly.; later GIPR).
  • Batasia Loop constructed on the DHR.
  • Bhusawal loco shed set up by GIPR; at the time the largest loco shed in Asia and the third largest in the world.
  • Early 1920's
  • Vacuum braking comes into wide use.
  • Track-circuiting introduced on WR suburban lines.
  • Telephones are brought into use for train control purposes in some suburban sections.
  • 1920
  • Total trackage at 37,000 miles (about 15% privately-held). The East India Railway Committee (chaired by Sir William Acworth, hence also known as the Acworth Committee) points out the need for unified management of the entire railway system. On the recommendations of this committee, the government takes over the actual management of all railways, and also separates railway finances from the general governmental finances (the latter step led to the practice, followed to this day, of presenting the Railway Budget separately from the General Budget every year).
  • Superheating makes its appearance in India.
  • Electric lighting of signals is introduced between Dadar and Currey Road.
  • A 2' gauge diesel loco is delivered to Bengal by Baugleys of Burton-on-Trent. (1921?)
  • Sep.: Double-decker electric trams are introduced in Bombay.
  • 1921
  • The Peninsular Locomotive Company is founded at Jamshedpur for the purpose of building locomotives; this would have been the third loco manufacturing plant in India after Ajmer and Jamlpur, but unfortunately it failed even before it manufactured a single loco.
  • July 1: Chikjajur-Chitradurg line opened by MSMR.
  • Total trackage stands at 61,220 route km.
  • The Railway Board is reorganized with a Chief Commissioner of Railways having overriding powers on technical matters. (1921?)
  • Nanjangud - Chamarajanagar railway line construction begins but stops because of financial difficulties.
  • 1922
  • Retrenchment Committee under Lord Inchcape recommends drastic cuts in working expenses and other measures designed to produce a fixed annual profit for the state.
  • An electric loco with overhead power collection is delivered to the Naysmyth Patent Press Co. at Calcutta, by British Electric Vehicles.
  • Jamnagar-Khambaliya-Gorinja-Okha MG section opened.
  • Locomotive Standards Committee publishes a paper with details of proposed standardization of locomotive classes.
  • Jamnagar-Kuranga MG line opened by the Jamnagar & Dwarka Rly., and the Kuranga-Okha MG line by the Okhamandal Rly.
  • NG lines: Larkana-Jacobabad (NWR); Futwah-Islampur (Martin & Co.).
  • 1923
  • Two diesel locos delivered to Barsi Light Railway by Ruton Proctor of Lincoln.
  • Total trackage at 60,540 route-km.
  • 1924
  • Railway finances separated from general finances in the general government budget after the first Railway 'Convention'. Railway board expanded to have a Financial Commissioner, a member in charge of ways, works, stores and projects, and a member in charge of administration, staff, and traffic.
  • Uniform system of loco classification codes based on an initial letter for the gauge comes into use.
  • Jodhpur Bikaner Rly. split into Jodhpur State Rly. and Bikaner State Rly.
  • Kurla-Chembur line open for passenger traffic.
  • Rajkot-Morvi 2'6" line of Morvi Rly. converted to BG.
  • Rupsa-Barapada NG line extended to Talband.
  • 1925
  • February 3: First electric railway operates on Harbour branch of the GIPR from Victoria Terminus to Kurla (16 km), using 1500V DC overhead traction. The section is designated as a suburban section. EMUs from Cammell Laird and Uerdingenwagonfabrik are used. In the same year electrification of VT-Bandra is also completed and EMU services begin there as well, with an elevated platform at Sandhurst Road. The GIPR suburban line is later electrified up to Kalyan.
  • Feb. 3: The EF/1 (later WCG-1) "crocodile" loco is introduced.
  • VT-Kurla section is also completely track-circuited.
  • Oudh and Rohilkhund Rly. amalgamated with EIR.
  • Locomotive Standards Committee adopts several IRS loco classes as standards.
  • First Railway Budget.
  • East Indian Railway Company taken over by the state on January 1; Great Indian Peninsular Railway taken over on June 30.
  • Khyber Railway opened from Peshawar Cantt. to Landi Kotal.
  • IRCA reviews experiments with wagon pooling and establishes it as a policy for all BG railways.
  • 1926
  • Ex-GIPR suburban line is electrified up to Kalyan. Main line electrified up to Poona and Igatpuri over the Bhore and Thal Ghats (1500 V DC).
  • Order placed with Vulcan Foundry for the new classes of locos (XA, XB, XC, etc.).
  • Lucknow's Charbagh Station built.
  • East Bengal State Rly.'s line to Siliguri is converted to BG.
  • Khyber Railway's last section from Landi Kotal to Landi Khana, 2km short of the frontier with Afghanistan, is opened.
  • NG lines: Bhavnagar-Talaja section of Bhavnagar Tramways.
  • Aug. 27: Nanjangud-Chamarajanagar section opened, completing the link from Mysore.
  • 1927
  • The BB&CI suburban lines extended to Borivili and Virar. In the Bombay area tracks in some places are doubled and even tripled or quadrupled (e.g., between Bandra and Borivili).
  • Patiala State Monorail stops operations.
  • NG lines: line from Barsi Road Jn. to Pandharpur is extended to Miraj; Dehri-Rohtas extended to Rohtas Fort. In Nepal, the Raxaul-Amlekhganj line is opened (Martin & Co.).
  • 8-coach EMU rakes are introduced on the main line in Mumbai and 4-coach rakes on the Harbour line.
  • 1928
  • Work begun on Madras suburban line.
  • Jan 5: Colaba-Borivili section electrification completed by BB&CI Rly.
  • Two suburban tracks of the Bombay-Borivli section are electrified, but the two mainline tracks are left for steam traction. The first batch of electric EMUs for Bombay arrive (made by British Thompson Houston / Cammell Laird).
  • Sep. 1: The Frontier Mail is flagged off from Colaba Terminus, with Peshawar as its destination.
  • First automatic colour-light signals in India, on GIPR's lines between Bombay VT and Byculla.
  • Kanpur Central and Lucknow stations inaugurated.
  • Golden Rock workshops near Trichy set up by the South Indian Railway.
  • Bahawalnagar - Fort Abbas line opened by princely state of Bahawalpur (now in Pakistan, closed in the 1990s).
  • 1924-1929
  • Railways build more than 1,000 miles of tracks each year. General period of prosperity for the railways--generous provisions are made for passenger amenities (waiting rooms, etc.).
  • 1929-1937
  • Railways (like everything else!) hit by the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the ensuing global depression; severe economy measures undertaken.
  • 1929
  • Kazipet-Balharshah link completed, connecting Delhi and Madras directly.
  • The Grand Trunk Express begins running between Peshawar and Mangalore.
  • Kalyan-Igatpuri-Pune section is now completely electrified, and the quadruple line between Bombay and Kalyan is also electrified.
  • A 2' gauge diesel loco from Maffei is supplied to C K Andrew and Co. (Probably used on a plantation?)
  • Burma Railways taken over by the state.
  • Chola Power House near Thakurli built by the GIPR for supplying power for the newly electrified Kalyan-Igatpuri-Pune section.
  • Punjab Limited Express begins to run between Mumbai and Lahore, leaving Mumbai on Thursdays.
  • Bombay's Victoria Terminus undergoes some reconstruction work so that it gets 14 platforms.
  • Automatic colour-light signalling extended to the Byculla-Kurla section.
  • The Kurla car shed is opened.
  • NG lines: BB&CI line to Piplod; Kangra Valley Rly. (NWR).
  • Railway Board reorganized with separate members in charge of traffic and labour matters.
  • 1930's
  • Experiments with railcars on the Jamnagar & Dwarka Rly.
  • Power signalling introduced; upper-quadrant semaphore signals introduced.
  • 1930
  • The Times (London) nominates the Frontier Mail "the most famous express train in the British empire".
  • Through electric services begin on the Kalyan - Pune section.
  • June 1: The Deccan Queen begins running, hauled by a WCP-1 (No. 20024, old number EA/1 4006) and with 7 coaches, on the GIPR's newly electrified route to Poona (Pune).
  • Two BG diesel shunters from William Beardmore in use on the North Western Railway.
  • NWR procures two 420hp diesel-electric shunters from William Beardmore.
  • Hyderabad Godavary Valley Rly. merged into Nizam's State Rly.
  • Axle boxes with roller bearings come into use.
  • The route of the Grand Trunk Exp. is changed to Delhi - Madras.
  • 1931
  • Madras MG suburban railway line completed. ((April 2?) May 11: Tambaram-Beach has electric traction). The first MG EMU service.
  • The YCG-1 DC MG locos are introduced in the Madras area.
  • Samdari - Raniwara section opens as the first phase of a rail connection between Jodhpur-Bikaner and Gujarat. Phalodi - Jodhpur section opens.
  • Total trackage in India at about 43,000 miles. Hardly any new construction until after World War II.
  • NG lines: Darwha-Pusad (Central Provinces Rly; later GIPR).
  • More than 700 stations have interlocking by now.
  • 1932
  • MSMR's workshops at Perambur split into the Carriage and Wagon Workshops and the Locomotive Workshops.
  • NG lines: Agar-Ujjain (Gwalior Light Rlys.)
  • Nok Kundi - Zahidan section of Nushki Extension Rly. is closed.
  • 1933
  • Kaunia-Dharlla MG lines north of the Brahmaputra are extended to Rangapara.
  • May 16: Kanpur trams stop operating.
  • 1934
  • Shoranur-Cochin line converted to BG.
  • 1935
  • NWR procures two 1200hp diesel-electric locos from Armstrong-Whitworth with the intention of using them for a new Bombay-Karachi route. They were deployed on the Karachi-Lahore mail route, but then were withdrawn soon afterwards, having manifested many problems as they were not designed for Indian conditions.
  • 1936
  • Borivli-Virar electrification complete. The two mainline tracks on the Bombay-Borivli section are also electrified.
  • BBCI obtains one diesel shunter from Armstrong Whitworth.
  • Air-conditioning introduced in some (first-class) passenger coaches. Matunga workshops manufacture 5 air-conditioned coaches, the first such to be made locally.
  • Indian Railway Committee under Sir Ralph Wedgwood constituted to look into the position of the state-owned railways and how to improve their finances
  • Mavli-Marwar MG line opened.
  • Jodhpur Rly. acquires two Drewry railcars, one for the Maharaja and the other an inspection car.
  • 1937
  • Wedgwood Committee makes recommendations for public relations, advertising, etc. which until then had been neglected. Also recommends faster and more reliable passenger services and expansion of freight activities, for the railways to compete with road transport.
  • The post of Minister for Transport and Communications is created; the Minister was a civil servant, and could decide on matters dealt with by the Railway Board.
  • The infamous Bihta accident, in which the excessive oscillations of an XB class loco caused the derailment of the Punjab-Howrah mail, killing 154 persons.
  • NG lines: In Nepal, the Nepal Jaynagar-Janakpur Rly. opens.
  • May 1: The Flying Queen (predecessor of Flying Ranee) is introduced between Bombay and Surat, hauled by an H class 4-6-0 and making her run in 4 hours.
  • 1938
  • All lines of the MSMR in Mysore are taken over by the Mysore Darbar.
  • NG lines: Bhavnagar Tramways line extended to Mahura.
  • 1939
  • World War II. Railways under strain again. Locomotives, wagons, and track material are taken from India to the middle East; 28 branch lines were completely cannibalized for this. Railway workshops are used to manufacture shells and other military equipment. The entire railway system is in poor shape by the end of the war.
  • Diesel railcars from Ganz are tried out on the Nizam's State Railways.
  • A light railcar built at Bikaner is used on the minor lines around there.
  • The power systems of the Chola Power House and the Tata Hydroelectric plant are combined for supplying traction power to Bombay-area suburban trains as well as for long-distance trains across the ghats.
  • Wagon pooling established across north Indian MG networks.
  • 1940
  • The Jamnagar and Dwarka Railway procures a single MG diesel loco for its Saurashtra Passenger service, from Brookville.
  • Jodhpur-Phalodi section extended to Pokharan.
  • All-steel BG coaches manufactured for the first time in India.
  • 1940's
  • Large numbers of American and Canadian locos are imported (AWD, CWD, along with AWC, AWE, and MAWD classes).
  • Neale's Ball Token Instruments come into use.
  • 1941
  • Hosur-Dharmapuri NG line decommissioned.
  • The 'Following Trains' system of train working is introduced as an emergency measure in some areas out of necessity because of wartime requirements.
  • 1942
  • Most of the remaining large railway companies are taken over by the state.
  • July 11: A flash flood washes out portions of the tracks on the Chappar Rift of the Sind Peshin State Railway (now in Pakistan), and through running never resumes on this line.
  • Nok Kundi - Zahidan section of the Nushki Extension Rly. is re-opened.
  • First Link Train run between Bhusaval and Nagpur with two XP engines.
  • 1943
  • Bengal and North-Western Railway is taken over by the state, after being merged with the Rohilkund and Kumaon Rly., the Mashrak-Thane Extension Rly., the Lucknow-Bareilly Rly., and the Tirhut Rly. The new railway is known as the Oudh and Tirhut Rly.
  • The opening of the Howrah bridge in February allows the Calcutta routes of trams to be connected to the Howrah routes; total system is at 67km.
  • 1944-45
  • Fifteen diesel locos from GE supplied by USATC and deployed on WR, among the first diesel locos to be successfully used in many locations in India. Most of these were classified as WDS-1.
  • 1944
  • April: MSMR merged with the lines worked by the SIR company, and taken over by the state.
  • Oct. 1: BNR taken over by the state.
  • 1945
  • Indian Railway Standards renamed Indian Government Railway Standards. Locomotive classification codes updated to include diesels and electrics.
  • Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. (TELCO) formed as a company.
  • Bandra station has the country's first all-electric interlocking.
  • Link Trains run between Bhusaval and Igatpuri with nine AWE engines.
  • Apr. 1: Jacobabad-Kashmore line taken over by state (now in Pakistan).
  • 1946
  • A Skelton system monorail (locomotive with rubber tires guided by a rail, and wagons carried on the rail with outrigger wheels for stability) is installed for the 18km section from Bhanvad to Khambalia in Gujarat, powered by a modified diesel loco.
  • 16 prototypes of the new WP class Pacifics ordered.

The chronology continues in Part 4, listing events from 1947 - 1970. Part 5 - 1970 to 1995 & Part 6 - 1995 to present day.

The chronology begins in Part 1 (1832 - 1870). Part 2 covers 1870 - 1899. Part 4 covers 1947 to 1970. Part 5 covers 1970 to 1995, and Part 6 covers 1995 to 1999, while Part 7 covers 2000 to the present

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