Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway

The Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (reporting mark BB&CI) was a company incorporated in 1855 to undertake the task of constructing railway lines between Bombay to the erstwhile Baroda State, that became the present-day Baroda (Vadodara) city in western India. BB&CI completed the work in 1864. The first suburban railway in India was started by BB&CI, operating between Virar and Bombay Backbay station[1] (later extended to Colaba), a railway station in Bombay Backbay in April 1867.

Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway
Founded1855; 169 years ago (1855)
Defunct1951; 73 years ago (1951)
Area served
Bombay Presidency and Rajputana Agency
ServicesRail transport
A Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Locomotive at the National Rail Museum, New Delhi

The railway was divided into two main systems, broad (5 ft. 6 in.) and metre gauge. There was also a comparatively small mileage of 2 ft. 6 in. gauge line worked by the BB&CI on behalf of the Indian States. In 1947 the mileage of the respective portions was stated to be: broad gauge, 1,198 miles, with a further 69 miles worked for Indian States; metre gauge, 1,879 miles, with a further 106 miles worked for Indian States; narrow-gauge, 152 miles, worked for Indian States and various companies. Quadruple track mileage was 22 and double-track 250, the remainder of the system being single-track, whilst running powers were exercised over 147 miles (including the important section from Muttra Junction to Delhi, owned by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway).[2]

The main headquarters of the BB&CI Railway was located at Churchgate, Bombay and the headquarters and workshops for the metre gauge tracks and services was located in Ajmer.

Construction and opening edit

The first section of the railway company was the Ankleshwar-Amroli line (in present day Gujarat). The first train on this section was run on 10 February 1860. Further construction works continued with the line being extended to Bulsar by 1862. This section was further extended to Grant Rd by 1864.[3] This was an important milestone, and the BB&CI had now finally entered the port city of Bombay.

The first train was run between the section between Grant Rd and Surat on 28 November 1864. The Times of India gave a in detail report of the event on the following day's issue. This inaugural train had thirty coaches, consisting of first class, second class, and the third, the last two classes being in much higher frequency. There were reportedly very few passengers in the First Class coaches, more being in the Third Class.[4] The report also gave other details regarding that of the terminus at Grant Rd, and the newly introduced Third Class coach design. The station at Grant Rd was mentioned to be more lavish than that of the neighboring GIP Railway's Bori Bunder Terminus, and then possessed a platform comparable in width to the latter station. A notable mention was of an improvement in the third classes, the company having had introduced a double-decker variant of this class. This was expected to provide much needed comfort to the Third class passenger, since now one had the space to lie in, behind the sitting passengers, with some degree of comfort. These coaches were built at Amroli in about 1863. Further, a 'sloping shade' was added to the carriage, in order to block the heat of the sun, while still allowing ventilation for the passengers.

Further progress continued along the line, with the first suburban train service beginning on 1 November 1865. This service plied between Grant Rd and Bassein Rd (today's Vasai Rd). Soon after, the platforms of stations between the two local termini were lengthened to 500 yards (about 457.2 m).[5] The next development was the extension of the line, further on to a station called Bombay Backbay in 1866. Soon following were three suburban services from the station.The station was used to run ballast trains from Santacruz, carrying earth for the then ongoing reclamation scheme at Bombay Backbay. This scheme was to reclaim a part of the Backbay, a large body of water at South Bombay's seafront. A much larger patch was to be reclaimed, but the plan was cut short, after the liquidation of the Backbay Reclamation Company, after the end of the American Civil War. Hence a patch of land, just enough to lay the tracks all the way to Colaba was created. Soon several roads came up, running beside the newly laid rail tracks.[5]

The next important milestone was the commencement of the first regular suburban rail service, on 12 April 1867, between Bombay Backbay, and Viraur (present day Virar). The stations on the route then were- Bombay Backbay, Grant Rd, Dadur (Dadar), Mahim, Bandora (Bandra), Santacruz, Andaru (Andheri), Pahadi (near Goregaon), Berewali (Borivali), Panjo (on the Panju island between the Vasai Creeks), Bassein Rd (Vasai Rd), Neela (Nallasopara), and finally, Viraur (Virar).[1]

The section was extended to Charni Rd in 1868, and finally to Churchgate in 1870. This station opened on 10 January 1870. The line to Colaba was completed by 1873, and a semi permanent goods terminus was established. The Colaba Terminus station was later rebuilt as a grand station, and re-opened on 7 April 1896.

During the second phase of the 1860s Backbay Reclamation project, the Churchgate Colaba line was found to be an obstacle. Hence a new Bombay Central station was opened in 1930, and the line between Churchgate and Colaba was closed and removed.[3]

The section from Godhra to Nagda was opened in 1896 and extended to Baroda. Nagda to Muttra Junction was opened in 1909, making possible through broad-gauge running between Bombay and Delhi.

The metre-gauge system was originally the Rajputana Malwa State Railway and was taken over subsequently by the BB&CI. The metre-gauge main line from Delhi to Jaipur was completed in 1874, extended to Ajmer in 1875 and to Ahmedabad in 1881.[6] The branch from Rewari to Bhatinda and Fazilka was begun in 1881 by the Ferozepore & Rewari Railway, but the section between Bhatinda and Ferozepore was subsequently built to the broad-gauge and passed to the GIPR.

Description of systems edit

The broad-gauge main line ran northwards from Bombay to Baroda, where it bifurcated, the north-east main line continuing towards Delhi, and the north-west main line to the industrial city of Ahmedabad and onwards to Viramgam and Kharagoda. The north-east main line passed through Godhra, Ratlam, Kotah and Bayana (from where a branch line ran to Agra Fort), to Muttra Junction, where it joined the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, over which it had running powers for 90 miles into Delhi.

The metre-gauge system was originally the Rajputana Malwa State Railway. It began at Ahmedabad and ran northwards through Baroda State and Rajputana via Abu, Ajmer, Jaipur and Rewari to Delhi. There were branches from Rewari to Bhatinda and Fazilka, from Ajmer to Ratlam, Indore and Khandwa, and from Achnera to Cawnpore.[7]

Organisation edit

The original Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway Company was purchased by the Government of India in 1905, but continued to be worked by a company with a board of directors in London until 1 January 1942, on which date the working was taken over by the government and it became part of the Indian State Railway system, directly under the Railway Board.[8]

Electrification edit

An early BB&CI Electric EMU at NRM, New Delhi

The Colaba-Borivali section (37.8 km) was electrified on 5 January 1928 on the 1.5 kV DC system. The two tracks between Colaba and Grant Road stations were electrified, while four tracks between Grant Road and Bandra railway stations were electrified. Only two suburban tracks between Bandra and Borivali were electrified in 1928, two main tracks were left for the steam locomotives. In 1933, Colaba railway station and two electrified tracks between Colaba and Churchgate railway stations were dismantled. In 1936, electrification was extended to the two main tracks between Bandra and Borivali railway stations, left earlier and the two main tracks between Borivali and Virar railway stations were also electrified, resulting in completion of the electrification of the Churchgate-Virar section.[9]

Locomotives and rolling stock edit

By the end of 1877 the company owned 77 steam locomotives, 295 coaches and 2,644 goods wagons.[10] At the end of 1910 there were 7272 goods wagons.[11] In 1936 the BB&CI owned 833 locomotives, 43 railcars, 1963 coaches and over 20.000 goods wagons.[12]

In 1947, the total numbers of broad-gauge locomotives in service were 363 steam, 10 diesel and 2 electric. There were 1,042 passenger coaches (including 40 electric motor and 120 electric trailer coaches) and 10,584 goods wagons.

The equivalent figures for the metre-gauge were 437 locomotives, 1,335 coaches, 3 Sentinel steam coaches, and 9,127 wagons.

On the 2 ft. 6 in. gauge there were 20 locomotives, 58 coaches and 259 wagons.[13]

Classification edit

It was labeled as a Class I railway according to Indian Railway Classification System of 1926.[14][15]

Later developments edit

In 1949, after independence of India, Gaekwar's Baroda State Railway was merged in to Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway by Government of India.

On 5 November 1951 the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway was merged with the Saurashtra Railway, Rajputana Railway, Jaipur State Railway and Cutch State Railway to give rise to the Western Railway.

Gandhi film edit

The railway is featured in many travel scenes in the 1982 film Gandhi which tells the story of the leader of India's independence movement, Gandhi played by the actor Ben Kingsley.

See also edit

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b "The Bombay local and suburban train service" (PDF). Retrieved 31 May 2023.
  2. ^ Article by H.C. Towers in The Railway Magazine, vol. 93, no. 568, March and April, 1947
  3. ^ a b A Century of Suburban Service- Westrail News 1961
  4. ^ Rahul Mehrotra, Sharada Dwivedi (2000). Anchoring A City Line. Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd. p. 23. ISBN 81-900602-4-4.
  5. ^ a b Rahul Mehrotra, Sharada Dwivedi (2000). Anchoring A City Line. Eminence Designs Pvt. Ltd. p. 28. ISBN 81-900602-4-4.
  6. ^ Towers, ibid.
  7. ^ Towers, ibid.
  8. ^ Towers, ibid.
  9. ^ Rao, M.A. (1988). Indian Railways, New Delhi: National Book Trust, pp.150-1
  10. ^ Archiv für Post und Telegraphie, Band 7 (in German). Reichsdruckerei, Berlin. 1879. pp. 62–63.
  11. ^ Special Consular Reports. Washington Government Printing Office. 1913. p. 175.
  12. ^ World Survey of Foreign Railways. Transportation Division, Bureau of foreign and domestic commerce, Washington D.C. 1936. p. 212.
  13. ^ All figures quoted by Towers, ibid.
  14. ^ "Indian Railway Classification". Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  15. ^ World Survey of Foreign Railways. Transportation Division, Bureau of foreign and domestic commerce, Washington D.C. 1936. pp. 210–219.

Further reading edit

External links edit