Indian Railway Begins Journey 1853
The first proposals for railways in India were being debated in Great Britain in the 1840s and the people out there started entering into lobbying in support of these proposals by banks, traders, shipping companies etc.
The businessmen of England had a strong interest in seeing railways be formed in India. But they wanted the British Parliament to create a Guarantee System.
- In the Guarantee System, any company that constructed railways in India was guaranteed a certain rate of interest on its capital investment.
- This guarantee was to honored by the East India Company which then controlled large parts of India.
- The railways which were made on this arrangement were called Guaranteed Railways.
- The guarantee was for a return of 5% annually, and the right for the railway company to pull out of the venture and get compensation from the government at any time.
- Thus Indian Railways started on a Guarantee System.
- It was during Lord Dalhousie’s time that on April 16, 1853 at 3:35pm a train with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests left Bombay’s Bori Bunder for Thane, with a 21-gun salute.
- The three locomotives were Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. This 75 minutes journey was the first Journey of Indian Railway that embarked an era of development thereafter.
But this was a passenger service. Prior to that there is a trace of Railway in India.
- In 1851, a steam loco, Thomason, was used for transporting construction material in Roorkee for the Solani viaduct, which was a part of the construction in the Salony Valley.
- The locomotive Thomason was assembled on the spot from parts transported from Calcutta.
Second locomotive to arrive in India was Falkland (named for a governor of Bombay), used by the contractors of the GIPR for shunting operations on the first line out of Bombay that was being built.