Western Railway is celebrating its 72nd Foundation Day | So Good News


Mumbai: The Western Railway celebrates its 72nd Foundation Day on Saturday 5 November. Since its infancy, the railway has achieved several milestones in its 70+ years of service to the nation.

In its present form, Western Railway came into existence on 5 November 1951 by the amalgamation of its predecessor, the erstwhile Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI), with other state railways, namely Saurashtra, Rajputana and Jaipur.

The present jurisdiction of Western Railway is in 6 divisions: Mumbai Central, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Ratlam.

On 3 March 1961, Western Railway introduced suburban trains with 9 coaches, due to the increasing demand of travelers to the city. In 1972, Western Railway introduced its prestigious Mumbai–New Delhi Rajdhani Express train, which is one of the most important and busiest lines on the Indian railway network. This year, this renowned train completed 50 glorious years and celebrated the golden jubilee of its maiden run with great fervor and fanfare.

Continuing in its journey of achieving milestones one after another, right from the introduction of the world’s first ladies special train, the first 15-car suburban train and the introduction of the first air-conditioned suburban train in India, it has earned many firsts in various fields such as operations, security and by adopting state-of-the-art technology.

Western Railway recently introduced the country’s third Vande Bharat Express, between Mumbai Central and Gandhinagar Capital. It has time and again proven its mettle, throughout its long journey, ever since it was born in the British era of the 1850s. Through its historic journey of over 70 years, at present, Western Railway has a wide railway network covering 6175.9 km, consisting of broad gauge, meter gauge and narrow gauge sections in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Prakash Butani, General Manager (in charge) of Western Railway congratulated all the officers and employees across the six divisions for their dedication to their work and the rich achievements Western Railway has achieved over all these years.

To commemorate the day, Western Railway’s social media platforms ran a special campaign through an engaging quiz and infographic on the railway’s recent achievements and its glorious past.

A look at the history and heritage of the Western Railway

The Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI) was incorporated in 1855, starting with the construction of 29 miles of gauge from Ankleshwar to Utran in Gujarat state on the west coast with Surat as its headquarters then.

Later that year, on 21 November, the company entered into an agreement with the East India Company to build a railway line from Surat to Baroda and Ahmedabad.

Another contract was signed to start a line from Utran (north of Surat) to Bombay to ensure an abundant supply of cotton – grown in Gujarat – entering the western port. Work began on the line the following year, and the line from Utran to Grant Road station in Bombay was officially opened on 28 November 1864 – marking the start of today’s Western Railway.

The process of the actual foundation of the BB&CI local line to and within the city of Bombay and the identification of a terminus, particularly south of Grant Road – the first terminus, was a confusing issue.

Although the dedication ended at Grant Road station, this terminus did not adequately serve the population living further south; near the old fort or cantonment of Colaba which now served a considerable population.

It was decided to extend the line to Back Bay, just outside the western side of the old Fort area and along the western bay.

This station was later called Churchgate, as it was in close proximity to the old church gate of the walled city – the gate that gave entrance to the church of St Thomas which later became a cathedral.

The Western Railway has grown with the city of Mumbai, and Mumbai city has grown with the Western Railway, which has always been the cynosure of the development of the city of Mumbai.

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