Never let a crisis go to waste!
The first train journey in Asia took place between Bombay and Thane, a distance of 34 kms. On 16th Apr 1853 at 3.30 PM, 400 distinguished guèsts boarded a train with 14 railway carriage and hauled by three locomotives (named Sultan, Sindh and Sahib). The journey took 57 minutes, with a brief halt just beyond Sion for water. Indian Railways has come a long way from that time – 150 years to be exact.
Recently, I was browsing the Train Atlas booklet and found a page titled Indian Railways: Some Fascinating Facts and the facts were indeed fascinating.
- Indian railways has the widest rail tracks in the world. The British chose the 5-feet 6-inch guage as the standard because many parts of the country was prone to cyclones and flooding. This guage was considered more safe than the standard guage used all over the world. Some other countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh use the Indian guage as the national standard.
- The shortest station name for a station is Ib, near Jharsuguda, on the Howrah-Nagpur main line.
- The longest station name is Srivenkatanarasimharajuvariapeta on the Arakkonam-Renigunta section of the Southern Railway, which is the first station after Renigunta toward Mumbai.
- The Himsagar Express between Jammu Tawi (Jammu & Kashmir) and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) has the longest run both in terms of total time taken and distance covered. It covers its route of 2,344 miles in 74 hours and 55 minutes.
- The Prayagraj Express, with 26 coaches, is the longest train in the country.
- The Haldia-Asansol Express, which has just three coaches, is the shortest train and is, oddly, often hauled by the powerful WAP-4 locomotive.
- Ghoom near Darjeeling in West Bengal is the highest station at 2,258 meters, or 7,407 feet.
- People afraid of tunnels should clear of the Karbude tunnel on the Konkan Railway along the west coast, which is the longest tunnel at 4.06 miles.
- The Godavari bridge near Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh, which stretches 3.125 miles, is the longest.
- Surekha Yadav nee Bhonsle of Bombay was the first female to become an engine driver – a serious career option for all Indians at some point in their lifetime. You might be able to spot her as she drives commuter trains between Bombay Central and Dombivili.
For more such nuggets of information, visit the Indian Railways Fan Club Association website.