Howrah station is a major railway
station serving Howrah, Kolkata and the neighbouring
districts. It was established in 1854 when railway line was
constructed here, connecting it to the coalfields of the Bardhaman.
This station is now part of two zones of Indian Railway: the Eastern
Railway and the South Eastern Railway and it is connected to most of
the major cities of India. It is also part of the Kolkata Suburban
Railway and suburban trains connecting various stations of the
districts of Howrah, Hooghly, Bardhaman, East Midnapore and West
Midnapore. Within Howrah city, there are six other stations:
Tikiapara, Dasnagar, Ramrajatala, Santragachhi, Padmapukur and
Shalimar Station, all serving the South Eastern Railway.The first station
after Howrah terminus that serves the Eastern Railway is Liluah,
which is located in the municipal area of Bally. Tikiapara, Dasnagar,
Ramrajatala and Padmapukur are smaller stations of suburban railway.
Santragachhi is a railway junction. Shalimar Station served as a
terminus for goods trains and hosted a rail yard since its inception
in 1883. In recent years, it has been brought into the network of
passenger train stations to reduce pressure on Howrah station. Apart
from suburban trains, few long-distance trains have been introduced
or moved over here (from Howrah station).
Developed towards the early part of
the twentieth century, it has become one of the most important
points of transit for passengers as well as the movement of goods in
the country. The station building completed a 100 years in 2006.
Howrah is the terminus of the first Indian Railway system namely
East Indian Railways. A survey for the East Indian Railway was taken
up in 1845 and construction began in 1851. The section of the
Railways, a Broad gauge railway was opened in 1854 from Howrah to
Hooghly. After construction of the first Howrah Bridge in 1874, the
Howrah Station was remodeled and improved. Howrah station has now a
large imposing building facing the river with clock Tower and twenty
long platforms for the passenger trains and three for the goods
In 1854 the British
colonial government in India started building a rail link from
Kolkata to the coalfields in Bardhaman district. This was the
second railway line constructed in India after the first one
from Mumbai to Thaney in 1853. The line started from Howrah,
then a small town on the west shore of the Hooghly
Initial plans for
the first Howrah station were submitted by George Turnbull the
Chief Engineer of the East Indian Railway Company on 17 June
1851. In January 1852, it became clear that the government
authorities would not sanction the purchase of sufficient land
nor the necessary waterfrontage despite remonstrations from
Turnbull that the terminus would grow enormously. In May 1852,
the detailed station plans were the major work of him and his
team of engineers. In October four tenders for building the
station were received varying from 190,000 to 274,526 INR
against an estimate of 250,000 INR.
Due to a great
increase of traffic, a new station building was proposed in
1901. The new station was designed by the British engineer
Halsey Ricardo. It was brought into service on 1 December
1905.  This building is the current Howrah station
building. The station had 15 platform tracks.
It was expanded in
the 1980s with the addition of 8 platform tracks in an area to
the south of the station which previously had a parcels
terminal, bringing the track count up to 23. At the same time
a new Yatri Niwas (transit passenger facility) was built south
of the original head house.
There are currently
23 platforms in Howrah Station (1-16 for Eastern Railway;
17-23 for South Eastern Railway). It is slated to get an
additional 15 platform tracks by the next decade to bring it
up to a total of 38 platforms.
of two railway zones The station is served by the
Eastern Railway for local trains to Belur Math, Tarakeswar,
Katwa, Bandel, Shrirampur, Sheoraphuli, Memari, Rishra, Pandua, Chandanpur, Gurap and Bardhaman; and mail/express
trains to Central, North and North-East India. A narrow gauge
line connects Bardhaman and Katwa and is currently served by
DMU trains (all other lines run EMU trains). There is a plan
to extend the suburban train service from Bardhaman to Mankar
and Guskara, by electrifying the Khana-Guskara existing
stretch, which is currently served by diesel loco hauled
trains. The Bardhaman-Mankar stretch is now served by electric
loco hauled trains.
The South Eastern
Railway serves local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura,
Haldia, Kanthi, Medinipur and Kharagpur; and mail/express
trains to Central, West and South India. The Tamluk-Kanthi
stretch is currently under electrification and until complete,
it will be served by DMU trains (all other lines run EMU
trains). There is a plan to extend the suburban train service
from Kharagpur to Jhargram and Narayangarh. Both stretches are
now served by electric loco (EMU) hauled trains.
from this station serve the Kolkata urban area via the Kolkata
suburban railway, the state of West Bengal, and most major
cities of India. Its twenty-three platforms handle over three
hundred trains each day, serving more than a million
passengers. It is served by two zones of the Indian Railways:
Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway.
The station is
operated by the Eastern Railway.
Railway was previously known as the Bengal-Nagpur Railway
(BNR, derisively called "Be Never Regular" because of its
notorious tardiness) which built the truck route from Kolkata
to Nagpur connecting to Great Indian Peninsular (GIP) route to
Mumbai and the trunk route to Vijayawada Junction connecting
with the GIP route to Chennai. Eastern Railway was previously
known as East Indian Railway (EIR) which built the trunk route
from Kolkata to Delhi and beyond.
Four of India's
most important trunk rail routes end in Howrah. They are
Howrah-Delhi, Howrah-Mumbai, Howrah-Chennai and
Howrah-Guwahati. Today there are 23 platforms in Howrah
Junction /Central. The first Rajdhani Express in the country
ran between Howrah and New Delhi in 1969. Eastern Railway
handles trains for northern, north-western, north-eastern
& eastern India through Barddhaman line & Katwa line.
South Eastern Railway handles trains for southern,
south-western, south-eastern, western & central India
through Medinipur Line. Kanthi line is also serving long
distance intrastate trains.
The Eastern Railway
and South Eastern Railway section are connected by two links,
one is Lilua-Tikiaparha link , and other is
Rajchandrapur/Dankuni-Bankrha link , currently used by only
goods trains. There are proposals to introduce passenger train
service on these two links to facilitate quick travel between
the two sections avoiding Howrah.
Howrah Station houses the divisional
headquarters of the Howrah Division of Eastern Railway zone of
Indian Railways. Mohammad Jamshed was appointed the Divisional
Railway Manager for Howrah Division in 2008.
passengers it has an enormous covered waiting area between the
main complex and the platforms. The main complex has waiting
and retiring rooms for passengers awaiting connecting trains.
In addition there is a Yatri Niwas with dormitory/ single
room/ double room accommodation. The vehicular carriageways
along the length of platforms allow passengers to be dropped
near rail compartments - a facility unique among most major
stations of the country.
The Station Complex
station complex includes the following:
• Two vehicular
carriageways between platforms 8-9 (Eastern Railway) and 22-23
(South Eastern Railway) up to the length of the platforms.
They connect to the flyovers at the end of platforms;
facilitating quick exit of vehicles. • Diesel Loco
shed (55+ locos) • Electric Loco Shed (75+ locos).
This also has an electric trip shed with the capacity to hold
around 15-20 locos • EMU Car Shed (15+ parking
slots) • Coach Maintenance Complex services many
prestigious trains such as the Rajdhani and Shatabdi
expresses. South Eastern railway's EMU car shed and
electric loco shed are situated respectively at Tikiaparha and
North of the station there is now a new
Railway Museum displaying artifacts of historical importance
related to the development of Eastern Railway.
Before 1992, there was a tram terminus at Howrah
station. Trams departed from here towards Rajabazar, Sealdah
Station, High Court, Dalhousie Square, Park Circus and
Shyambazar. Trams also departed from here towards Bandhaghat
and Shibpur. That terminus was partially closed in 1971 for
closure of the Bandhaghat and Shibpur lines. Many unauthorized
vehicles and people took over the tram-track carrying streets
and it was impossible to continue the tram service on these
routes. The state government wanted to close these lines
rather than control buses, taxis, rickshaws and people to
allow free tram movement. After these closures, the part of
the terminus which served these two lines was re-constructed
for underpasses and a bus terminus. But the other part still
functioned until 1992, when the Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge)
was declared not fit to carry trams, because it is a
cantilever bridge. The tram line ran from the opening of the
bridge until 1992. Previously routes 11, 20, 26, 30 & 32
served this terminus. Now the terminus is used by buses, and
all trams for Howrah station now depart from Barhabazar (1 km
away). Some poles and stretches of track still
first locomotive, shown christened "multum in parvo" (barely
visible on the wheel casing), which was used by the East
Indian Railway Company in 1854 on its 23-mile line from Howrah
16th August 2009 A
commemorative postage stamp on Howrah Station
No. of Passengers Handled daily (Rites
Number of Eastern Railway Suburban Passengers
Number of Eastern Railway Non-Suburban Passengers
Number of South Eastern Railway Suburban & Non-Suburban Passengers