|Howrah Bridge and Howrah Station,Kolkata,W.B. www.flickr.com|
No other technological revolution in transport had made as much impact as the introduction of trains was and the Indian railways facilitated easy movement of large a volume of goods and people over long distances. This speedy surface transportation led to better news distribution, mixing of different Indian communities,cultures and fashions. Through out the 19th century, railways played a vital role, in particular, during war times, transporting military equipments and soldiers across different parts of the Indian sub continent.
|Howrah Station, Kolkata in 1913, er.indianrailways.gov.in|
It was in in England in 1925, the world's first train ran between Darlington and Stockton. In less than 30 years after the great event in world history of transportation, the train services were introduced in India because India happened to be an important country in the British empire. India's first train was run by Great Indian Peninsula Railway from Bombay to Thane on April 16, 1853. Soon East Indian Railway's first train ran from Howrah to Hooghly on August 15,1854, covering a distance of 24 miles in 91 minutes.
|Howrah Station, Kolkata,.en.wikipedia.org|
The Howrah Station, one of he three railway stations in Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal, India is the 2nd oldest, biggest and busiest - in term of passenger volume per day - railway complex in India with as many as 23 platforms. Considered the highest train-handling capacity of any railway station in India, it was opened in 1854. The other stations are Kolkata Railway Station, Sealdah Station and Shalimar Station.
|First train of the East Indian Railway, 1854.en.wikipedia.org|
It was George Turnbull, the Chief Engineer of the East Indian Railway Company, who took the initiative and submitted detailed plan of the station in May, 1852, taking into account the future expansion of the station. For this purpose sufficient land and the necessary water frontage had to be purchased by the government. Initially the British colonial government had to build a rail link to the coalfields of Bardhaman District from Kolkata.
To handle better traffic a new station designed by Halsey Ricardo, a British architect, was opened in December, 1905 with 15 platform tracks. This old railway building complex is called Terminal-1. An addition of 8 platform tracks were built in 1980 and this building is referred to as Terminal-2 which serves mainly long distance trains of SE Railways, whereas the old building serves local as well as long distance trains of Eastern Railways. All these platforms handle over six hundred trains each day, serving more than a million passengers. Howrah division has a track kilometer of 1269 Km (including 945 electrified). Surprisingly this station initially had a temporary tin shed with a small booking office and a single line flanked by narrow platform.