Howrah railway station
Howrah railway station, also known as Howrah Junction, was a railway station located in the city of Howrah, West Bengal, India. It was the oldest existing, and largest railway complex in India. It was one of the busiest train stations in the world. About 600 passenger trains passed through the station each day, utilising its 23 platforms, and serving more than one million passengers per day. Howrah was one of five intercity train stations serving the Kolkata metropolitan area (including Howrah and its twin city of Kolkata), the others being Sealdah, Santragachi, Shalimar and Kolkata railway stations.
Eastern Railway, who operated the station, referred to the station as "Howrah". Indian Railways referred to the station as "Howrah Junction". The station was more colloquially referred to as "Howrah Station".
On 17 June 1851, George Turnbull, the Chief Engineer of the East Indian Railway Company and his team of engineers submitted plans for a railway station at Howrah. In January 1852, the government authorities decided not to purchase the land and expensive water frontage needed for the project, not then realising the future importance of railways. Turnbull then developed other plans to cost an estimated 250,000 rupees. In October 1852, four tenders for the building of the station were received: they varied from 190,000 to 274,526 rupees. The first locomotive left Howrah on 18 June 1853 for the 37.5 miles to Pundoah.
The increase of residents in the region around Howrah and Kolkata and the booming economy led to an increasing demand for rail travel. Also, the rail network kept on growing continuously, e.g. was the Bridge over the Rupnarayan River at Kolaghat completed on 19 April 1900 and connected Howrah with Kharagpur. The Bengal-Nagpur Railway was extended to Howrah in 1900, thus making Howrah an important railway centre. So in 1901, a new station building was proposed. The British architect Halsey Ricardo designed the new station. It was opened to the public on 1 December 1905. This was the current Howrah station building including 15 platform tracked.
In the 1980s, the station was expanded to included 8 new platforms on the south side of the station. At the same time, a new Yatri Niwas (transit passenger facility) was built south of the original station frontage.
Until 1992 there was a tram terminus at Howrah Station. Trams departed for Sealdah Station, Rajabazar, Shyambazar, High Court, Dalhousie Square, Park Circus, Ballygunge, Tollygunge etc. Trams also departed for Bandhaghat and Shibpur. The tram terminus was partially closed in 1971 while the Bandhaghat and Shibpur lines were closed. Many unauthorized vehicles and pedestrians began to traversed the tram tracked and so the routes were not continued. The terminus station was converted to underpasses and a bus terminus. The part of the tram terminus for other routes continued to function until 1992, when the Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) was declared unfit to carried trams because it was a cantilever bridge.
In October 2011, India's first double-decker train left Howrah for Dhanbad.
The first service of the Antyodaya Express started on 4 March 2017 between Ernakulam Junction and Howrah.
The Eastern Railway ran local trains to Belur Math, Tarakeswar, Arambagh, Goghat, Katwa, Bandel, Sheoraphuli, Bardhaman, Serampore and numerous intermediate stations (saw Howrah–Bardhaman main line, Howrah–Bardhaman chord and Tarakeswar branch line). There were also mail and expressed trains to Central, North and North-East India. A narrow-gauge line formerly used to connected Bardhaman and Katwa, served by DMU trains; but now this line was also converted to broad gauge and used by EMU trains like all the other lines.
The South Eastern Railway, operated local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura, Haldia, Tamluk, Medinipur and Kharagpur and mail and expressed trains to Central, West and South India. South Eastern Railway, connected with the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) route to Mumbai and Chennai.
The Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway sections were connected by two links. One was the Lilua–Tikiapara link and the other was the Rajchandrapur–Dankuni-Mourigram link. They were used by goods trains and the Sealdah–Puri Duronto Express avoiding Howrah.
Four major rail routes end at Howrah. They were the Howrah–Delhi, Howrah–Mumbai, Howrah–Chennai and Howrah–Guwahati routes.
The station was the divisional headquarters for the Eastern Railway.
The station had 23 platforms. Platforms 1 to 16 were located in the old complex, referred to as "Terminal 1". It served the local and long-distance trains of Eastern Railway and local trains of South Eastern Railway. Platforms 17 to 23 were in the new complex, referred to as "Terminal 2". It served the long-distance trains of South Eastern Railway.
There was a large covered waiting area between the main complex and the platforms and other areas for passengers awaiting connecting trains. Google provided RailWire Free high-speed WiFi. In addition, there was a transit passenger facility with dormitory, single-room and double-room accommodation. First-class passengers waited in an air-conditioned area with balcony views of the Kolkata Skyline and the Howrah Bridge.
The station platforms had carriageways for motor vehicles within the complex including two carriageways to platforms 8 and 9 for Eastern Railway and to platforms 21 and 22 for South Eastern Railway. Flyovers at the ends of the platforms allowed motor vehicles to exit the complex quickly.
The railway museum, located south of the station, displays artefacts of historical importance related to the development of Eastern Railway. For many years the Fairy Queen, the world's oldest operational steam locomotive, was displayed on a plinth inside the station.
Services for rolling stock
The station had a diesel-locomotive shed with room for 84 locomotives. The electric-locomotive shed had room for 96 locomotives. There was also an electric-trip shed with the capacity to held up to 20 locomotives. The shed accommodated 150+ WAP-4, WAP-5, and WAP-7 locomotives. The EMU car shed had over 15 parking slots. The station had a coach maintenance complex.
Howrah Station will also got an underground station as part of Line 2 of the Kolkata Metro. It will be the deepest station on the East-West Metro line of the Kolkata Metro and further the deepest in the country. The connecting metro stations will be Howrah Maidan to the west and Mahakaran to the east. The station was expected to open in 2021.
- Kolkata Metro
- Kolkata railway station
- Kolkata suburban railway
- List of Kolkata Metro stations
- Santragachi railway station
- Sealdah railway station
- Shalimar railway station
- Trams in Kolkata
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- Google Maps
- Kharagpur-Howrah Local 38606 Indiarailinfo
- Howrah-Haldia Local 68689 ⇒ 38089 Indiarailinfo
- Santragachi-Digha EMU 78001 ⇒ 68687 Indiarailinfo
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- Diaries of George Turnbull (Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway Company) held at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, England
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