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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 trains

History

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 River.

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. [4] 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.

Platforms

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.

Confluence 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.

Services

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.

South Eastern 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.

For 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

The 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 Santragachhi.

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 exist.

   

The 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 to Pandua.

16th August 2009 A commemorative postage stamp on Howrah Station

 

No. of Passengers Handled daily (Rites Report 2001)

   
Number of Eastern Railway Suburban Passengers 4,01,332
Number of Eastern Railway Non-Suburban Passengers 51,370
Number of South Eastern Railway Suburban & Non-Suburban Passengers 2,42,341
Number of Platform ticket Holders 12,402
Total 7,07,445

 

No. of Trains Handled daily (Rites Report 2001)

   
Train Type    UP                       DOWN                        Total
Mail Express    80                           80                             160
Passenger    10                             9                             19
Suburban Express (EMU)   206                         206                            412
Total   296                        295                            591
 
 
 
 
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