The East Indian Railway Company, also known as the East Indian Railway (EIR), introduced railways to eastern and northern India, while the Companies such as the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, South Indian Railway, Central India Railway and the North-Western Railway operated in other parts of India. The company was established 1 June 1845 in London by a deed of settlement with a capital of £4,000,000, largely raised in London.
The first board of directors formed in 1845 comprised thirteen members and Rowland Macdonald Stephenson became the first managing director of the company.
Rowland Macdonald Stephenson (later Sir Rowland, but familiarly known as Macdonald Stephenson) and three assistants travelled from England in 1845 and "with diligence and discretion" surveyed, statistically studied and costed the potential traffic for a railway route from Calcutta (the then commercial capital of India) to Delhi via Mirzapur. They assessed that the maximum cost of a twin-track line would not exceed £15000 per mile if the land was available without charge. The East Indian Railway Company was then formed and raised money in London. A contract was signed between the East India Company and the East Indian Railway Company on 17 August 1849, entitling the latter to construct and operate an "experimental" line between Calcutta and Rajmahal, 161 km (100 miles) long at an estimated cost of £1 million which would be later extended to Delhi via Mirzapur.
On 7 May 1850, the East Indian Railway Company's managing director Macdonald Stephenson, George Turnbull, the company's Chief Engineer, and the engineer Slater made an initial survey from Howrah (across the River Hooghly from Calcutta) to Burdwan on the route to the Raniganj coalfields. By June, there was an impasse, in that the government did not allow Turnbull and his engineers to mark a route on the ground. Specifications for works were however advertised on 1 July and tenders received on 31 July for six contracts. Bamboo towers 80 feet (24 m) tall were then built above the palm trees at Serampore and Balli Khal to set out the line.
On 29 January 1851 the East Indian Railway Company took possession of its first land. Turnbull and other British engineers began detailed surveys of the line. They chose the critical crossing point on the 5,000-foot-wide (1,500 m) Son River (the largest Ganges tributary) on 17 February. The best route to Raniganj was determined in May and June. The plans for Howrah station were submitted on 16 June.
All permanent way, rolling stocks were transported from England in sailing ships to Calcutta via the Cape of Good Hope (the Suez Canal did not then exist). In April 1854, it was estimated that over 100,000 tons of rails, 27,000 tons of chairs, and some 8000 tons of keys, fish-plates, pins, nuts and bolts were needed.
By 1859, there were 77 engines, 228 coaches and 848 freight wagons.
The initial plans were for the many bridges over the Ganges tributaries to be built of bricks: hundreds of millions were needed. Brick-making skills were very limited and often the available clay was found to be unsuitable. Transport by river of suitable clay was difficult. Brick availability became a major problem, such that the decision was made to use vast quantities of ironwork – imported from England as India had no iron works at that time. Much ironwork was stolen during the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
Construction work of Old Yamuna Bridge in Delhi started in 1863 which was popularly known as lohe ka pool( bridge made by iron)and completed in 1866. It is a 12 spanned bridge. Construction cost of the bridge was Rs 16,16,335/- Initially it was made as single railway line and it was upgraded to double line in 1913
In 1853, The first railway line between Bombay to Thane (32 km stretch) was opened. It had 14 coaches and was driven by 3 engines. The 541 miles (871 kilometres) of line from Howrah to Benares were opened to:
During the first 16 weeks, the company was delighted to carry 109,634 passengers: 83,118 third class, 21,005 second class and 5511 first class. The gross earnings, including the receipts of a few tons of merchandise were £6793.
Including branch lines this totalled 601 miles (967 kilometres).
The most significant bridge was the girder bridge over the Son River (then known in English as the Soane River) which at the time was understood to be the second longest in the world. Other significant bridges were the girder bridges over the Kiul and Hullohur rivers and the masonry bridge over the Adjai. The Monghyr tunnel was a challenge. In late 1859, a horrific cholera epidemic in the Rajmahal district killed some 4000 labourers and many of the British engineers.
On 5 February 1863, a special train from Howrah took George Turnbull, the Viceroy Lord Elgin, Lt Governor Sir Cecil Beadon and others over two days to Benares inspecting the line on the way. They stopped the first night at Jamalpur near Monghyr. They alighted at the Son bridge and inspected it. In Benares there was a durbar on 7 February to celebrate the building of the railway and particularly the bridging of the Son river, the largest tributary of the Ganges.
The Chief Engineer responsible for all this construction from 1851 to 1862 was George Turnbull who was acclaimed in the Indian Official Gazette of 7 February 1863 paragraph 5 as the "First railway engineer of India".
Some historians like Irfan Habib argue that because the contracts signed between East India Company and EIR in 1849 guaranteed 5 percent return on all capital invested, initially there was no inducement for economy or for employing Indians instead of high-paid Europeans. EIR was stated in 1867 to have spent as much as Rs 300,000 on each miles of railway, the construction described by a former Finance Member in India as 'the most extravagant works ever undertaken.
The line from Kanpur to Allahabad was opened in 1859. In 1860, the Kanpur-Etawah section was opened to traffic and between 1862 and 1866 all gaps between Howrah and Delhi were filled and the connection to Agra was built. The bridges over the Yamuna at Allahabad and at Delhi were completed in 1865 and 1866 respectively. In June 1867 the Allahabad-Jabalpur branch was completed and a connection made at Jabalpur with the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, thus completing the rail connections between Calcutta and Delhi and Calcutta and Bombay. On 31 December 1879, the British Indian Government purchased the East Indian Railway Company, but leased it back to the company to work under a contract terminable in 1919.
On 14 April 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated two new zones of the first six zones of the Indian Railways. One of them, the Northern Railways had the three "up-stream" divisions of East Indian Railway: Allahabad, Lucknow and Moradabad, while the other, the Eastern Railways had the three "down-stream" divisions: Howrah, Asansol and Danapur and the complete Bengal Nagpur Railway.
The Asansol–Gaya section is a railway line connecting Asansol and Gaya in India. This 267-kilometre long (166 mi) track is part of the Grand Chord, Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. This section includes the NSC Bose Gomoh-Barkakana line. It is under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway and East Central Railway. The section links to South Eastern Railway through Bokaro Steel City and Adra.Asansol–Patna section
The Asansol–Patna section is a railway line connecting Asansol in the Indian state of West Bengal and Patna in Bihar. The 331 km (206 mi) line passes through the fringe areas of West Bengal, a portion of Santhal Parganas in Jharkhand and the Gangetic Plain in Bihar.Asansol–Tatanagar–Kharagpur line
The Asansol–Adra-Tatanagar–Kharagpur line is part of Howrah and eastern India's links with Mumbai and Chennai. It is also a major freight line for transporting iron ore, coal and steel products. This page includes the Adra-Gomoh branch line and Tatanagar-Badampahar branch lines.Bardhaman–Asansol section
The Bardhaman–Asansol section is a railway line connecting Bardhaman and Asansol. This 106 kilometres (66 mi) track is part of the Howrah–Delhi main line, Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. It is under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway, and is connected to the South Eastern Railway through Asansol Adra line at Asansol Jn and Kalipahari Damodar connector at Kalipahari (this line is only used by freight trains).Bengal Nagpur Railway
The Bengal Nagpur Railway was one of the companies which pioneered development of the railways in eastern and central India. It was succeeded first by Eastern Railway and subsequently by South Eastern Railway.Delhi–Kalka line
The Delhi–Kalka line is a railway line connecting Delhi and Kalka. It connects to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kalka–Shimla Railway.Gaya–Mughalsarai section
The Gaya–Mughalsarai section is a railway line connecting Gaya and Mughalsarai. This 197-kilometre (122 mi) track is part of the Grand Chord, Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. This section includes Arrah-Sasaram and Son Nagar branch lines. It is under the jurisdiction of East Central Railway.Howrah–Bardhaman main line
The Howrah–Bardhaman main line is a broad-gauge railway line connecting Howrah and Bardhaman via Bandel. The 108 kilometres (67 mi) railway line operates in Howrah, Hooghly and Purba Bardhaman districts in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is part of the Howrah–Delhi main line and the Kolkata Suburban Railway system.Indian Branch Railway Company
The Indian Branch Railway Company was formed in 1862 to build short branch and feeder lines. It received no guarantee but was offered a 20-year subsidy. In the 1850s, it secured a guaranteed return.In 1863, it built the 4 ft (1,219 mm) wide narrow gauge railway line between Azimganj and Nalhati. The Azimgan–Nalhati line was taken over by the Government in 1872, as Nalhati State Railway. In 1867, it opened the 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) wide metre gauge Kanpur–Lucknow branch line.It established a railway workshop at Alambagh in 1865 and another at Charbagh in 1867.Around 1872, it was merged into Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway. Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway was subsequently merged with East Indian Railway Company in 1925.Liluah Railway Station
Liluah is a Kolkata Suburban Railway station on the Howrah-Bardhaman main line and Howrah-Bardhaman chord. It is located in Howrah district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It serves Liluah and the surrounding areas. It is 5 km from Howrah railway station.Lucknow–Moradabad line
The Lucknow–Moradabad line (also known as Lucknow-Moradabad main line) is a railway line connecting Lucknow and Moradabad railway stations, both in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The line is under the administrative jurisdiction of Northern Railway.Moradabad–Ambala line
The Moradabad – Ambala line (also known as Moradabad - Ambala main line) is a railway line connecting Moradabad in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and Ambala Cantonment in Haryana. The line is under the administrative jurisdiction of Northern Railway.Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij
The Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (Dutch East Indies Railway Company), abbreviated NIS, was the railway company in charge of rail transport in Java, Dutch East Indies. The company's headquarters were in Semarang. The railway connected Semarang with Yogyakarta and Surakarta and in 1873 they also connected the Willem I Railway Station of Ambarawa and Kedungjati and Batavia. Later the network expanded to Bandung and Surabaya.
The company's iconic headquarters building in Semarang was designed by Cosman Citroen.Patna–Gaya line
The Patna–Gaya line is a railway line connecting Patna on the Howrah-Delhi main line and Gaya on the Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line both in the Indian state of Bihar.Patna–Mughalsarai section
The Patna–Mughalsarai section is a railway line connecting Patna Junction in the Indian state of Bihar and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Nagar Junction in Uttar Pradesh.Sahibganj loop
The Sahibganj loop is a railway line connecting Khana Junction and Kiul Junction. Originally a part of the Howrah-Delhi main line, it was opened to traffic in 1866. With the construction of a shorter railway line for a part of the route, the 410 kilometres (250 mi) stretch was assigned a separate identity.Tarakeswar railway station
Tarakeswar is a Kolkata Suburban Railway station on the Sheoraphuli-Tarakeswar branch line and is located in Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It serves Tarakeswar and surrounding areas.Varanasi–Lucknow line
The Varanasi–Jaunpur-Faizabad-Lucknow line (also known as Varanasi-Lucknow Via Faizabad Main line) is a railway line connecting Varanasi and Lucknow, both in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The main line was subsequently extended to Bareilly, Moradabad and Saharanpur and the entire line was thought of as the "main line" of Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway. An important branch line, the Allahabad-Faizabad line, which meets the main line almost at right angles, is included here. The main line is under the administrative jurisdiction of Northern Railway, a portion of the branch line is under the jurisdiction of North Central Railway.Varanasi–Rae Bareli–Lucknow line
The Varanasi–Pratapgarh–Lucknow line (also known as Varanasi-Lucknow chord line) is a railway line connecting Varanasi and Lucknow, both in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The line is under the administrative jurisdiction of Northern Railway.