Indian Railways which was not stopped by bombs and terror attacks breaks its 167 year old record to stop Covid-19

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Indian Railways which was not stopped by bombs and terror attacks breaks its 167 year old record to stop Covid-19
  • Due to the current coronavirus situation in India, all movement by trains, metro except for security purposes has been prohibited.
  • Almost 16 decades and seven years back on April 16, 1853, the first passenger of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway took off from Bori Bunder station in Bombay for Tanna.
It is 167 years since Indian Railways started its glorious run. But instead of celebrating its anniversary tomorrow, officials are lamenting that its smooth running has been interrupted. It’s been a month since its passenger services have stopped.

Indian Railways is currently running only freight services as it closed passenger services after the Coronavirus outbreak. The virus has achieved what World Wars, strikes and bomb blasts and terror attacks could not - a shutdown of services.

“Never ever in its history, there has been such a long interruption of services. Not during the World Wars, not during the 1974 Railway Strike or any other national calamity or natural disaster. Even in Mumbai, services have never been halted for such a long period during the terror strike, bomb blasts or the monsoon. This is a complete shutdown of passenger services and is unprecedented in history,” an Indian Railways spokesperson told Mid-day.

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The story of Sahib, Sindh and Sultan

India was under British rule when railway services started on April 16, 1853. On this day that year, India’s first passenger train of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway took off from Bori Bunder station in Bombay to Tanna suburbs.

Few would identify the line with its old names because almost every station and city has been changed since. Bombay is now known as Mumbai and Tanna is now Thane. Bori Bunder is also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway has now been changed to Central Railway.

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That day, the 14-carriage train carried 400 people and ran on a line of 34 kilometres in 57 minutes. It was hauled by three steam engines, namely Sahib, Sindh and Sultan.

Indian Railways which was not stopped by bombs and terror attacks breaks its 167 year old record to stop Covid-19
<em></em>Rare pictures of Charbagh station on display at an exhibition in Lalit Kala Akademi to mark 160 years of Indian Railway. The exhibition was inaugurated by North Eastern Railway DRM Anoop Kumar

Railways back on tracks after bombings

The Railways have also been attacked many times but that never killed its spirit. Even after a series of train bombings in July 2006, and even after 2008 terror attack on CST station, trains were back on the tracks ferrying passengers within four hours.

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“Around 50 people were killed and over 100 injured at the station premises in one of the deadliest attacks on the city, but we took the situation and services were restored early in the morning,” a Central Railway official said.

However, the resilience of Railways is broken only by government’s measures to protect Indians from Coronavirus. “But with the extended complete lockdown now, passenger railway trains in India will now remain closed for over a month, and that will remain a milestone in the 167-year-old history of the monolith,” a Railway official said.

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