Howrah Junction railway station
Howrah Junction, more popularly known as Howrah Station, is the oldest and largest railway complex in India, serving the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata. Approximately 617 passenger trains pass through the station each day requiring its 23 platforms (the largest number of platforms in Indian railways) and serving more than two million passengers per day with the highest train handling capacity of any Indian railway station. Howrah Junction is one of five intercity railway stations serving the city of Kolkata, the others being Sealdah, Santragachi, Shalimar, and Kolkata railway station. Howrah Junction is also one of the busiest stations in India as per passenger footfall. The station is located in Howrah on the west bank of the Hooghly River. 1373 stations across India are directly connected to Howrah Railway Station.
|Regional rail and Commuter rail station|
Howrah Station, view from Hooghly River
|Location||Lower Foreshore Rd, Howrah - 711101 West Bengal|
|Elevation||12 metres (39 ft)|
|Owned by||Indian Railways|
|Operated by||Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway Zone|
|Line(s)||Howrah-Delhi main line|
Howrah-Chennai main line
Howrah-New Jalpaiguri line
|Structure type||Standard (on ground station)|
|Division(s)||Howrah (ER) and Kharagpur (SER)|
|Previous names||East Indian Railway Company|
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 18th June 1853 for the 37.5 miles to Pundoah. Great crowds celebrated the first public departure from Howrah for the 23.5 miles to Hooghly on 15th August 1854.
In 1901, a new station building was proposed due to increased demand for rail travel. The British architect Halsey Ricardo designed the new station. It was opened to the public on 1 December 1905. This is the current Howrah station building including 15 platform tracks.
In the 1980s, the station was expanded to include 8 new platforms on the south side of the station. On the other hand, the opening of the bridge over the Rupnarayan River at Kolaghat, on 19 April 1900, connected Howrah with Kharagpur. 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 Rajabazar, Sealdah Station, High Court, Dalhousie Square, Park Circus and Shyambazar. 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 traverse the tram tracks 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 carry 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 March 4, 2017 between Ernakulam Junction and Howrah.
North of the station there is a railway museum displaying 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.
The Eastern Railway runs local trains to Belur Math, Tarakeswar, Arambagh, Goghat, Katwa, Bandel, Sheoraphuli, Bardhaman, Serampore and numerous intermediate stations (see Main Line, Chord, and Tarakeswar branch line). There are also mail and express trains to Central, North and North-East India. A narrow gauge line connects Bardhaman and Katwa, served by DMU trains (all the other lines run EMU trains).
The South Eastern Railway, operates local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura, Haldia, Tamluk, Kanthi, Medinipur and Kharagpur and mail and express trains to Central, West and South India. South Eastern Railway, connects with the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) route to Mumbai and Chennai.
The Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway sections are connected by two links. One is the Lilua–Tikiapara link, and the other is the Rajchandrapur–Dankuni-Maurigram link. They are used by goods trains and the Sealdah-Puri Duronto Express, avoiding Howrah.
Four major rail routes end at Howrah Junction. They are the Howrah-Delhi, Howrah-Mumbai, Howrah-Chennai and Howrah-Guwahati routes.
The station is the divisional headquarters for the Eastern Railway.
The station has 23 platforms. Platforms 1 to 15 are located in the old complex, referred to as "Terminal 1". It serves the local and long-distance trains of Eastern Railway and local trains of South Eastern Railway. Platforms 16 to 23 are in the new complex, referred to as "Terminal 2". It serves the long distance trains of South Eastern Railway.
There is a large covered waiting area between the main complex and the platforms and other areas for passengers awaiting connecting trains. Google provides RailWire Free high-speed wifi. In addition, there is a transit passenger facility with dormitory, single-room and double-room accommodation. First-class passengers wait in an air-conditioned area with balcony views of the Kolkata Skyline and the Howrah Bridge.
The station platforms have 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 allow motor vehicles to exit the complex quickly.
Services for rolling stockEdit
The station has a diesel-locomotive shed with room for 84 locomotives. The electric-locomotive shed has room for 96 locomotives. There is also an electric-trip shed with the capacity to hold up to 20 locomotives. The sheds accommodate 100 WAP-4 class locomotives. The EMU-car shed has over 15 parking slots. The station has a coach maintenance complex.
Howrah Station will also get 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. The connecting metro stations will be Howrah Maidan to the west, and Mahakaran to the east. The station is expected to open in 2020.
- "[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: Electric Traction - I". Irfca.org. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- Pritchard, Tim (4 April 2019). "The daily commute at Howrah Station is on a biblical scale as half a million passengers pour off trains". The Mirror. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Diaries of George Turnbull (Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway Company) held at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, England
- George Turnbull, C. E . pages 110, 121, 122, 125 and 127 of the 437-page memoirs published privately 1893, scanned copy held in the British Library, London on compact disk since 2007
- "Howrah Station". er.indianrailways.gov.in. Eastern Railway. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Sen, Swagata (19 December 2005). "Howrah station centenary celebrations: A tribute to the history it has witnessed". India Today. India Today. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Howrah Station is veritably the heartbeat of Kolkata". thehindubusinessline.com. The Hindu. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- "Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express Service completes glorious 50 yrs in passenger service". United News of India. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- Ahrons, E.L. (1966). The British Steam Railway Locomotive. I, to 1925. Ian Allan. p. 142.
- Gupta, Jayanta (4 August 2018). "Kolkata: Another station comes up below Howrah station - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- "New visiting time for Howrah Rail Museum – RailNews Media India Ltd". www.railnews.in. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "IRFCA - The Indian Railways Fan Club Photo Gallery - Howrah Railway Museum". www.irfca.org. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "Metro prepares completion calendar for city projects". Times of India. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Howrah station.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kolkata Metro.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Howrah.|