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Yesterdate: This day from Kolkata’s past, February 3, 1855

First train to Ranigunge started its run from Howrah, on this day

Chandrima S. Bhattacharya | Published 03.02.23, 07:24 AM
Representational image

Representational image

File picture

On this day the first train to Ranigunge started its run from Howrah. It was a Saturday.

The first train in India had run on April 16, 1853, from Bori Bunder (Bombay) to Thane. Within two years, the East India Company was using state-of-the-art technology and transport with its economic and military aims in mind. The discovery of coal in Ranigunge area had made it a strategic location for the British.


The opening of the railway lines from Howrah to Ranigunge was covered widely by the Kolkata press. The lines covered a distance of 120 miles (about 193km). A huge crowd, which included eminent Kolkatans, had gathered on both sides of the Hooghly to watch the spectacle that was the inauguration, says the Indian Railways website. A horse light field battery from Dum Dum added colour to the Kolkata side of the river. Ferry ghats on both sides, jetties and the Howrah station terminus were decorated with evergreens, flowers, streamers and banners.

The opening of the Ranigunge section was planned as a major event in Lord Dalhousie’s reign. The flagging off of the Ranigunge line was meant to be an even greater show that the inauguration of the first train in eastern Indian on August 15, 1854, from Howrah to Hooghly. But the Governor-General, being unwell, only oversaw the arrangements and inaugurated the train after a 19-gun salute, without boarding the train. The special train, carrying 15 carriages, left Howrah at 9.40am after the reading of prayers by the Lord Bishop of Kolkata.

Last updated on 03.02.23, 07:24 AM

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