INDIAN RAILWAYS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
April 16, 1853, was a public holiday in Bombay. Throughout the early afternoon, throngs of holiday makers could be seen making their way to Bori Bunder from where wafted strains of music, rendered by the Governor's personal band. Shortly before 3.30 p.m., 400 privileged personalities of the city climbed aboard the center of the day's festivities - the 14 gleaming carriages of the Great India Peninsula Railway, coupled behind a small steam engine, named the Falkland.
At the stroke of the half-hour, the driver of the Falkland opened the engine valves, as his fireman shoveled vigorously. The Falkland breathed heavily, enveloping bystanders in a cloud of steam. The driver reached for the whistle chord, the crowd cheered lustily and the boom of the first volley of a 21 gun salute resounded through the moist heat of the afternoon.
A final toot of the whistle, a final snort from Falkland and India's first railway train edged forward, puffing and hissing and groaning through the 35 kilometers to Thana.
Almost six years from 1853, on March 3, 1859, the first Railway Line in North India was laid between Allahabad and Kanpur followed by the Delhi - Ambala - Kalka line in 1889. From these modest beginnings, the Indian Railways have grown to become the world's largest network under a single management, covering 7000 stations spread over 62,725 route kilometers and 1,07,360 Track Kilometers, carrying over 11 million passengers and over one million Tonnes of freight every day.
Administratively, the Indian Railways have been divided into seventeen zones, headed by a General Manager and further sub-divided into 64 divisions, each headed by a Divisional Railway Manager. Northern Eastern Railway is divided in three-divisions Varanasi, Izzatnagar and Lucknow.
Varanasi division is mainly a passenger traffic oriented division and was formed way back on 01.05.1969. Until 1981, when the work of gauge conversion started on Gorakhpur-Siwan section, this division was basically Meter Gauge division. Subsequently, gauge conversion was started and completed in different sections which converted the Varanasi division into a predominantly Broad Gauge division.One by one, Varanasi - Bhatni (1990), Varanasi - Allahabad City (1993-94), Aunrihar -Chhapra (1996), Mau - Shahganj (1997), Gorakhpur - Paniyahwa (1997), Indara -Phephna (1999), Aunrihar - Janupur and Kaptangaj - Thawe (2011) sections were put on broad gauge.
Today all sections of the Varanasi division are working on broad gauge except Thawe-Chhapra Kachery and Indara-Dohri Ghat sections. The main Broad Gauge routes of this division are Gorakhpur-Chhapra, Bhatni-Allahabad City, Chhapra-Aunrihar, Mau-Shahganj, Gorakhpur-Paniyahwa, Indara-Phephna and Aunrihar-Jaunpur sections.
The principal routes for running of goods trains on the division comprise of Gorakhpur-Chhapra, Varanasi-Gorakhpur, Varanasi-Chhapra, Gorakhpur-Paniyahwa and Indara-Phephna sections.Varanasi division is spread over twelve districts of eastern U.P. & three districts of western Bihar.
VARANASI DIVISION AT A GLANCE
1108.12 KM (Double Track -152.24 KM)
BG -141 Pairs
Average Passenger Per day
Average Earning Per day
No of Stations
A1- 1, A – 06, B- 07, D - 27, E - 79 (Total – 120)
Sanctioned Staff Strength
Staff On Roll
VARANASI : An Introduction-
Varanasi, also known as Kashi or Benaras, is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi`s Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrevealed. Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras, once wrote : "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together" . According to the ‘Vamana Purana’, the Varuna and the Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial Person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be ‘Varanasi’, the holiest of all pilgrimages.
The word ‘Kashi’ originated from the word ‘Kas’ which means to shine. Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground’ created by Shiva and Parvati, upon which they stood at the beginning of time. Varanasi is the microcosm of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by religion, it has always attracted a large number of pilgrims and worshippers from time immemorial. To be in Varanasi is an experience in itself an experience in self–discover an eternal oneness of the body and soul. To every visitor; Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmering across the Ganges, said to have its origins in the tresses of Lord Shiva, the high-banks, the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air and the refreshing dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats, makes stay at Varanasi unprecedented.
Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the origins of Varanasi are yet unknown. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals.
Varanasi – the land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss. Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts and education. Some of the world renowned exponents India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi’s cultural ethos. Luminaries apart, Varanasi abounds in the art of silk weaving, an exotic work of art which manifests itself in precious Banarasi Silk Sarees and Silk brocades which are cherished as collector’s items across the world today.
GHATS PILGRIMAGE FESTIVALS VISITING PLACES
* Updated on 26.03.2014.
Source : North Eastern Railway CMS Team Last Reviewed on: 23-11-2015