On April 16th, at 3:35pm, the first train in India leaves Bombay for Thane
Pictures of BBCIR and Western Railway suburban system of Bombay (Mumbai) from the yesteryears:-
|CHURCH GATE STATION|
IRFCA PHOTO GALLERY
BBCIR / Western Railway Suburban SystemAlbum: BBCIR / Western Railway Suburban System
Main line looking down gullet from N.W. corner, south jetty [Victoria Dock construction, Bombay 19TH CENTURY PHOTO
View of incline. Truck and engine with bottom girder of one gate going down to entrance [Victoria Dock construction, Bombay].
1969-BOMBAY CENTRAL STATION
Having left from Colaba RAILWAY STATION, this is the Frontier Mail steaming out of Bombay Central on her inaugural run on 1 Sept. 1928. The train now originates/terminates from Bombay Central, as Colaba station is no more in existance.
On Armstice day[Armistice Day is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front], a special 'Frontier Mail' was run by the BB&CI Railway from Bombay. Souvenirs were distributed to the passengers travelling on the train, which was then the fastest daily service in India. The restaurant car was tastefully decorated with poppies as a symbol of Armstice Day. In this pic, taken at the Ballard Pier Station in Bombay, Lady Jackson (wife of Sir Ernst Jackson, Agent, BB&CIR) is seen placing a bouquet of poppies on the engine of the special train. (Picture supplied by John Lacey.)
All the Frontier Mail's upper class cars had electric lighting and fans. The restaurant car was liberally stocked with an abundant supply of newspapers, magazines, 'News Bulletins', books, stationery, and playing cards.
The restuarant car, when not in use, would be kept open for use as a lounge car, serving light refreshments. The rolling stock at that time was of the latest pattern, complete with every modern convenience. In keeping with an almost unanimous desire from the traveling gentry, the train was specifically comprised of 'non corridor' stock throughout, which offered a certain degree of privacy and space, something so very important on such a long journey. In fact, the snooty British sahebs mention that 'this is also for the first time these facilities have been offered to passengers in India'.
BOMBAY -General view of a new restaurant car for the Frontier Mail, circa 1929 , Interior of the car . One of the Frontier's restaurant cars was named 'Queen of Rajputana'.
The Frontier Mail's dining car was not very large, but it was spacious. There was no air conditioning, but ceiling fans cooled the car interior quite efficiently. White damask on the tables coupled with white napkins was a cumpolsory feature.Silver cutlery and exquisite crockery with crystal fruit platters were placed on each table, along with salt and pepper shakers. The table settings had to be perfect,with different forks and knives for each course. Immaculately clean and hygienic
Apart from catering, the catering company was also expected to service the rest rooms at various stations in Gujarat. Since the dining car service was offered to first class passengers only, every single detail had to be taken care of. Any tarnished cutlery was sent for replating. Any chipped crockey too was promptly discarded.
Separate menu cards were provided for breakfast, luncheon and dinner.
It was a joke in the railway circles of yesteryear that if a youth wanted to lure his lady love into eloping with him, he would entice here to ride on the Frontier Mail. Even today, the Frontier is a much favored train among honeymooners, due to the cosy coupes offered.
1934-FIRST AIR CONDITIONED TRAIN[ Frontier Mail ] IN INDIA USED ICE BLOCKS TO COOL THE TRAINThe airconditioning system in those days used ice blocks, carried in sealed receptacles built beneath the car floor. These were replenished at several halts along the line. A battery operated blower constantly blew air into these receptacles, and the cold air entered the insulated cars through vents. Very basic, very messy, but the effect was very pleasant indeed. Today, the thought of huge ice blocks being pushed into the underfloor ice receptacles at every other stop is daunting enough!
During the winter months of September through December, the Frontier Mail used to depart from Ballard Pier Mole station. British journalists at that time used to refer to this train as the 'duplicate portion' of the Frontier Mail. Ballard Pier Mole station was an ideal hop on point for the several British ladies and gentlemen arriving from England by steamer. It was also a pick up point for mail brought in from Europe by the P & O mail steamer. It is interesting to note that when the train left Ballard Pier Mole station, it traversed over the tracks of the Bombay Port Trust Railway, Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and only then eventually crossed onto the metals of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway.
The competition between the BB & CI and GIP Railways is almost legendary. As long ago as 1855, when the GIP Railway was struggling to obtain approval from England for construction of a line across the Western Ghats, the rival BB& CI Railway jumped in with its proposal that an alternative route via Baroda would be more practicable, it would avoid the arduous ghats, and this new line could connect with the East Indian Railway, something which the GIP Railway had been hoping to achieve once it got permission to cross the ghats anyway. Beginning with that, the competiton carried on till both the Railways had their own trains running from Bombay to Peshawar: the GIP's Punjab Limited, and now the BB & CI's Frontier Mail.
FIRST AIR CONDITIONED COMPARTMENT [INDIANS WERE ALLOWED INSIDE?! OR WAS IT ONLY FOR THE WHITE MEN?}
This "Rex" car is the modern version of an express refrigerator car
which was filled with ice to keep produce fresh when ship long distances.
"Fearless" Nadia in "Miss Frontier Mail"(1936)
STORY OF PUNJAB MAIL:-
PUNJAB MAIL-BOMBAY VT - FEROZEPORE[The Punjab Mail in the 1930s behind an EA/1 (later WCP/1) locomotive]
PUNJAB MAIL 1930
The Punjab Mail leaves New Delhi for FThe Punjab Mail leaves New Delhi for Ferozepore behind a WP in the early 1970serozepore behind a WP in the early 1970sPU
PUNJAB MAIL 1970
PUNJAB MAIL 1980
BOMBAY CENTRAL STATION-1960
Bombay-Poona Mail, Great Indian Peninsular
The Dapoorie Viaduct on the original line in 1855 -~1853 – The first passenger train of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway left Bori Bunder station in Bombay for Tannah. The train took 57 minutes to reach Tannah, covering a distance of a distance of 21 miles (33.8 km). 3 locomotives named Sultan, Sindh and Sahib pulled the 14 carriages with 400 passengers on board.
The Reversing Station, Campoolee, Bombay
Railway Bridge on Bhore Ghaut Incline.--Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1855
photograph of a view of the Bhore Incline, near Bombay from the 'Vibart Collection of Views in South India' taken by an unknown photographer about 1855. India’s vast railway network is an enduring legacy of the East India Company. In 1853 there were 32kms of tracks, whereas by 1948 there were nearly 50,000kms. The railway connecting Thana through the Thal and Bhor Ghat inclines was the initiative of George Clark, Chief Engineer of the Bombay Government. The Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company developed the scheme in the 1840s and the Bhor Ghat pass was opened in 1861 as the main route over the Western Ghats linking the sea coast with the Deccan.
Railway Bridge on Bhore Ghaut.--Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1855
Railway tunnel, near Khandalla.
Ghaut scenery, with distant view of railway cutting
khandala station [ 1860?]
First GIPR[GREAT INDIAN PENINSULAR RAILWAYS=NOW CENTRAL RAILWAY] EMU, 1924--BOMBAY TO POONA[PUNE]
GIPR's Wadi Bunder viaduct, 1925. Scan provided by John Lacey.
View of the Bhore Ghat, from a photograph at the India Office, London. Scan provided by John Lacey.
GIPR trains (one freight, one passenger) on the Bhore ghat, 1929. Scan provided by John Lacey.
an inspection car on the 2' 0" Neral Matheran line
Map of the Bhore Ghat alignment in 1929. Scan provided by John Lacey.
Bhore Ghauts.--Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1855[before railways were built]
A photograph of a view of the Bhore Ghauts near Bombay from the 'Vibart Collection of Views in South India' taken by by an unknown photographer about 1855. The reversing station on the Bhore Ghat Incline under construction, with the hill known as the Duke's Nose in the distance. The idea of a railway to connect Bombay with Thane, Kalyan and with the Thal and Bhore Ghat inclines first occurred to Mr. George Clark, the Chief Engineer of the Bombay Government, during a visit to Bhandup in 1843. But it was not until 1856 that Bhore Ghat, 15.75 miles in length was begun under the direction of engineer William Frederick Faviell. The work was continued by Solomon Tredwell after Faviell's death in 1859. About 42,000 workers (peak of 1861) including many tribals, 32 different classes of artisans & labourers (10,822 drillers/miners, 2659 masons, buttiwalas to load & fire blasts, storekeepers, timekeepers, interpreters, filemen, platelayers, trumpeters for mustering people, thatchers, harness makers etc worked here. Coolies travelled on an average of 15-20 miles a day and carried an estimated 6,296,061 cubic yards of earthwork on heads.
Bhor Ghat, Reversing Station:-
The most magnificent railway station in the world, Bombay, India--Photographer: Ricalton, James Medium: Photographic print Date: 1903
View from N.E. corner looking S., forming with A [print 44], a complete panoramic view of works from N.E. [Victoria Dock construction, Bombay].-Photographer: Taurines, E. Medium: Photographic print Date: 1887-
The idea for the construction of a wet docks for the use of shipping in Bombay harbour was first suggested by M. Malet when member of Council in 1855. In 1866, Russell Aitken, Executive Engineer to the Municipality prepared the foundation of a Harbour and Dock Trust which could raise money for the construction of wet docks on the Elphinstone and Mody Bay reclamations as private companies had gone into a recession. In 1875, the first stone was laid in the hope that the new dock would create a prosperous revolution in the trade of Bombay. In April 1879, the Prince's Dock was thrown open by the Governor of Bombay, Sir Richard Temple. In 1884, it was decided to extend the dock and construction then began on the Victoria Dock.
Khandalla on the Bhore Ghaut, Bombay.--Photographer: Unknown Medium: Photographic print Date: 1860
his print was taken by an unknown photographer in the 1860s. It shows a view of Khandala, a small hill station in the state of Maharashtra, within the Sahyadri Mountains. In the nineteenth century such hill resorts became the favoured retreats of the British
. An XC on the BB&CI Railway hauls the Frontier Mail on the Darrah viaduct between Bombay and Delhi. At 175 tonnes, the XCs were considered among the heaviest locomotives in use at that time.
The Frontier Mail of yore leaving Mole Station in 1928 at the start of its very long journey to Peshawar (which is now in Pakistan). Today the train runs upto Amritsar, and has been renamed the Golden Temple Mail.
Bhor Ghats prior to electrification? Here is a 4-6-0ST used on the ghats in 1863. Note the tank overhang for extra water.
Poona got a brand new station in 1929. Here is a steam train at the new Poona station in 1930.
MLR class articulated steam locomotives of the Neral to Matheran line on the CR. The MLRs were built by the German firm of Orenstein and Koppel. The line is now diesel worked. Two MLRs are preserved: on at Matheran station, and one in the National Rail Museum, New Delhi. In addition, one MLR is used at the Leighton Buzzard preserved railway in the UK.
steam near Delhi. Note additions of modern fittings in keeping with current safety requirements. When not running, the engine is parked in an enclosure in the National Rail Museum,where she was originally preserved. Fairy Queen's twin sister 'Express' is preserved in the Jamalpur workshops on the ER