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The Kolkata Suburban Railway is a suburban rail system serving the suburbs surrounding the city of Kolkata. Railways such as this are important and heavily used infrastructure in India. It is the largest suburban railway network in India by track length and number of stations. It has 393 stations and a track length of 1,332 km. The suburban railway operates 1497 EMU services carrying 3.5 million (35 lakhs) people daily. It runs from 4 a.m to 2 a.m in the night.[2]

Kolkata Suburban Railways
Indian Railways Suburban Railway Logo.svg
A Yellow and Green EMU train is at Station
LocaleKolkata Metropolitan Area, West Bengal, India
Transit typeSuburban Rail
Number of linesEastern line: 12
South Eastern line: 3
Circular line: 1
South lines: 4
Chord link line: 1
Number of stations
Daily ridership3.5 million (2017–18)[1]
Annual ridership4.2 billion
HeadquartersHowrah Junction (SER) & (ER)
Sealdah (ER)
WebsiteSouth Eastern Railway
Eastern Railway
Began operation15 August 1854
Train length9 or 12 coaches
System length1,322 kilometres (821 mi)
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Electrification25,000 V AC overhead catenary
Average speed45 km/h (28 mph)
Top speed100 km/h (62 mph)



A Howrah bound EMU train

The Kolkata Suburban Railway is an offshoot of the second passenger railway to be built by the British in India and is also the second oldest railway system in Asia. The first train ran here between Howrah and Hooghly on 15 August 1854. The train left Howrah Station at 8:30 a.m. and reached Hooghly in 91 minutes.

Later, On 1 February 1957, The EMU services were introduced on Howrah – Bandel section of Howrah Division of Eastern Railway. The services were gradually extended to Barddhaman in the year 1963 and also on Sealdah Division of Eastern Railway introduced on Sealdah Division also on Sealdah – Ranaghat route.[3]

On South Eastern Railway side The EMU's was launched on 1 May 1968 on Howrah - Mecheda Section of Kharagpur Division and after that on 1 February 1969, the EMU Services was extended up to Kharagpur And on 1 May 1976 The EMU Services was also started on Panskura - Haldia section.[4][5]


Passengers on a EMU local train

The Kolkata Suburban Railway system is operated by Indian Railways two zonal divisions Eastern Railways (ER) and South Eastern Railways (SER). The fast commuter rail corridors on Eastern Railway as well as South Eastern Railway are shared with long distance and freight trains, while inner suburban services operate on exclusive parallel tracks. SER operates the South Eastern Line and ER operates the Eastern Line, Circular Line, Chord link Line as well as the South lines.[6]

South Eastern lineEdit

The South Eastern line in Kolkata consists of 3 major corridors, which bifurcate as they run into the suburban satellite towns. Two corridors (one local and other through) follow the South Eastern Railway run from Howrah Junction (HWH) to Midnapore (128 km), at in the mainline it there is a bifurcation into two branch lines – one from Panskura to Haldia (69 km) in the south-east and the other from Santragachi to Amta (45 km) in the north. These two corridors constitute the 'main' South Eastern line.

The South Eastern line has one interchange station with the Eastern Line at Howrah Junction. Rolling stock consists of a fleet of AC as well as dual-powered DC-AC EMUs. The major car sheds on this line are at Tikiapara and Panskura.

The South Eastern line also includes two lines connecting Santragachi to Shalimar line with a length of 5 km and Tamluk to Digha with the length of 94 km.

Eastern lineEdit

The Eastern line in Kolkata is the biggest network in Kolkata Suburban Railway consists of two sections, Howrah section & Sealdah section which it serves on both sides of Bank of River Hooghly which its part of an Eastern Railway zone.

On Howrah section of Eastern line, there are 5 corridors, which it also bifurcates and runs into north & west side suburban satellite towns. First Two corridors are Howrah Junction To Barddhaman Junction main line with the length of 107 km and the chord line with the length of 94 km. On this two corridor, the First bifurcation at Seoraphuli Junction and goes to Goghat with the length of 69 km with an Elevation on chord line at Kamarkundu. Second bifurcation at Bandel Junction to Katwa Junction with a length of 105 km and the third bifurcation at Barddhaman Junction to Katwa Junction with a length of 53 km.

And another side Sealdah section of Eastern line, there are 7 corridors, also it bifurcates and runs as branch lines to north and east side suburban satellite towns. The main corridor is Sealdah to a small town Gede which it situates on India-Bangladesh Border with the length of 116 km. On this corridor first branch line at Dum Dum Junction To Bangaon Junction with a length of 70 km. Second Branch line at Ranaghat Junction to Bangaon Junction with the length of 33 km. the third branch line is at Ranaghat Junction to Krishnanagar City Junction by passing Kalinarayanpur Jn and Shantipur with a length of 35 km and Passing only Kalinarayanpur with a length of 26 km. fourth branch line at Kalyani to Kalyani Simanta with the length of 5 km. fifth branch line at Barasat Junction to Hasnabad with the length of 53 km.

The major car sheds on this line are at Howrah and Bandel on Howrah Sub-section & Narkeldanga, Barasat & Ranaghat on Sealdah sub-section.[7]

The Eastern line also includes a corridor from Bandel Junction to Naihati Junction with a length of 8 km which is an important link between Howrah and Sealdah section.

Circular RailwayEdit

This corridor encircles the entire city of Kolkata with the length of 36 km with 19 stations, this line runs under the Jursidiction of Eastern Railway Sealdah Division. From Dum Dum Junction to Tala line is Doubled and passes under the Sealdah Section of Eastern line after Tala line is single up to Majerhat after that it goes doubled again and runs with parallel corridor of Sealdah south lines up to Park Circus. After crossing park circus its elevates on South lines and joins at Bidhannagar Road and finally terminates at Dum Dum Junction.

Sealdah South linesEdit

This line is an Importank link to Southern parts of West Bengal from Kolkata. It is also a part of the Eastern Railway. This line has four corridors and it bifurcates as branch lines and links to southern satellite towns. The first corridor starts from Sealdah To Namkhana with the length of 108 km. In this corridor up to Lakshmikantapur is doubled railway line after Lakshmikantapur it is a single railway line up to Namkhana. The first branch line at this corridor is from Ballygunge Junction to Budge Budge with the length of 19 km, second branch line is from Sonarpur Junction To Canning with the length of 28 km and third branch line is from Baruipur Junction to Diamond Harbour with the length of 35 km.

The Major Carshed in this line is at Sonarpur Junction.

This line has three interchange stations. First interchange is at Majerhat for Circular Railway, second interchange is at Sealdah for Eastern line and third interchange is at Park Circus for Circular Railway.

Chord link lineEdit

This Corridor connects Sealdah to Dankuni Junction which it lies on Howrah-Barddhaman Chord line plays an important connectivity to South Eastern line from Eastern line with a length of 22 km and this corridor is totally elevated on River Hooghly bypassing Dakshineswar & Bally Ghat.

In this corridor, There are some tourist spots such as Dakshineswar has the famous Kali Temple where Ramakrishna Paramhansa was a priest & Vivekananda Setu locally known as Bally Bridge over the Hooghly River connects Bally Ghat and Dakshineswar.

In this corridor, It has three Interchange at Dum Dum Junction for Eastern line (Sealdah-Ranaghat corridor), Dankuni Junction for Eastern line (Howrah-Barddhaman Chord corridor) & Bally Halt with Bally station for Eastern Line (Howrah - Barddhaman mainline corridor).

Services and trafficEdit

Rakes of Kolkata EMU at Agarpara Station

As per the report on Kolkata Suburban Railway services have statistics on passenger services[8]

In the period of 2010–11, the average train services per day were 1275 and average passengers capacity per rake were 6207 and In 2014–15, the average train services were 1511 and average passenger capacity per rake was 4141. which it concludes from last five years, there was an increase of 3% in average services per day and deduction of 8% in average passenger capacity per rake.

And the no. of passengers transportation in period 2013–14 was 115 crores and in the period of 2014–15 was 112 crores which are a reduction of 3 per cent in passenger transportation.

EMU passenger serviceEdit

Some of the routes are not connected to any other lines and bypassing through the Kolkata Suburban Railway Network, For that purpose, the EMU passenger runs on that routes for help in transportation of people to small towns and villages from Kolkata Metropolitan Area. There are two routes which bypass the Suburban Rail network and not connected to any other network, First route is from Tamluk to Digha which comes under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railway with the length of 94 km and second route is from Krishnanagar City Junction to Lalgola which comes under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway with the length of 128 km.[9][10]

Fares and ticketingEdit

Per the 2013 Railway Budget, the railway increased the Kolkata suburban ticket fare by eight paise per kilometre, although the railway ministry has hiked it by two paise per kilometre. The number of slabs has also been reduced to four—5 (7.2¢ US), 10 (14¢ US), 15 (22¢ US) and 20 (29¢ US)—from the eight slabs earlier. Also, ticket denominations have been rounded off to multiples of 5 (7.2¢ US). As per the revised slab, a person traveling up to 20 km will have to pay 5 (7.2¢ US), between 21 and 45 km 10 (14¢ US), between 46 and 70 km 15 (22¢ US) and between 71 and 100 km 20 (29¢ US).[11]

As per the Indian Railway Report, On 2016-17, The Eastern Railway & South Eastern Railway Generated 539.8 million (US$7.8 million) through penalties imposed on ticketless and irregular travellers, which is a slight increase from the year of 2013-14 with 112 million (US$1.6 million).[12]

Rolling stockEdit

The Howrah division of Eastern Railways has a rolling stock of 12 coach EMU made by Jessop and ICF. BEML EMU's have also been bought and they are in use. The Sealdah division has a rolling stock of 9, 10, 12 car EMU, also made by Jessop and ICF. 2 BEML EMU trains of 9 coaches are also operational.

The South Eastern Railways (SER) uses both 9 and 12 coaches EMUs, also made by Jessop and ICF.


In 1968, The Howrah-Barddhaman main and chord line was totally converted into 25 kV 50 Hz AC AC power supply from 3000 V DC power supply from that time the conversion of DC to AC was gone ahead and currently the two divisions of Eastern Railway and Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway is totally electrified.[13]

On 6 September 2009, the union minister for railways, Ms Mamata Banerjee announced the introduction of Ladies Special local trains namely Matribhumi (i.e. motherland) in the Kolkata suburban section. First Matribhumi Special local started from Howrah to Kharagpur Jn.[14]

On 5 January 2015, The Kalinarayanpur - Krishnagar City Junction route via Shantipur was totally converted into Electrified Broad Gauge from Meter Gauge with three phases, Phase-I is from Krishnanagar City Junction - Shantipur Junction which was commissioned on 7 February 2012, Phase II is from Shantipur Junction - Phulia which was commissioned on 30 January 2014, and the last Phase III Phulia - Kalinarayanpur was commissioned and later EMU services started.

On 12 January 2018, Barddhaman - Katwa line was totally converted to Electrified Broad Gauge from Narrow Gauge with two phases, Phase-I Barddhaman to Balgona and Phase-II Balgona To Katwa was started Conversion from 30 May 2012.[15]

On February 2018, South Eastern Railway Launched Medha ICF Rakes on Howrah-Kharagpur route[16] after some time on 15 April 2018 Eastern Railway also started on Howrah-Bandel Route.[17]


On 7 January 2012, UP Sealdah-Shantipur local and DN Sealdah-Shantipur local both Electric multiple unit trains came on the same track at Phulia railway station causing an accident by which one was killed and several were injured, Three coaches of both trains were derailed from the railway tracks. [18]

On 12 December 2013, Accident was averted as two trains came on the same line in Sealdah Station, the driver of Sealdah-Lalgola passenger was left from platform 7 was overshot the starter signal and entered the down main line but stopped because of a Bangaon-Sealdah Local was coming from the opposite direction after some mins reported to the control room and the passenger train was hauled back to platform 7 of Sealdah Station.[19]

On 1 February 2014, Six coaches of Naihati-Sealdah local was derailed near Dum Dum Junction, this incident happened on the morning after the local left the station.[20]

On 12 May 2015, 14 passengers were injured when an explosion took place inside a compartment of Sealdah - Krishnanagar local train early on the morning, The blast took place just after a person boarded the train at Titagarh station which is just 21 km away from Sealdah. Train services along the Sealdah Section were normal. However, two trains were cancelled as train movement was hit following the incident.[21]

On 24 August 2015, Train Services was hit between Barasat and Bangaon line after a protest of a group of passengers obstructed movement of trains demanding that male passengers be allowed to travel in Matribhumi ladies special trains. this occurred when Eastern Railway has withdrawn the decision to allow male passengers to travel in Matribhumi Special local.[22]

On 17 November 2015, A 40-year-old man, who boarded the Howrah-Bandel Matribhumi special local, fell off the train and died between the Uttarpara and Hind Motor stations. this incident occurred when the man boarded the train thereafter some women commuters came and surrounded him and starts abusing on him and refused to get him off the stations. When the man realized the station is coming, he ran to grab the handle but unfortunately, missed it and fell from the train.[23]

On 19 July 2017, A local train was coming from Sonarpur Jn in the southern suburb of Kolkata and arriving at Sealdah (South) Station on that time local train broke the buffer and hit the guard wall of platform number 13 in Sealdah (South) Station, this incident has happened in the morning around 10:25 am.[24]

On 4 September 2018, A portion of the arterial Majerhat bridge which it elevates on the Majerhat Station was collapsed, trapped several people and crushed many vehicles. This incident took place at around 4.45 pm in the evening.[25]

On 28 September 2018, One woman was killed while another woman sustained serious injuries after a slab of a foot-over-bridge (FOB) at Baruipur railway station in South 24 Parganas fell on them with a height of 30 feet, this incident has happened on the night. According to locals and daily passengers, the foot overbridge was in a bad condition due to lack of maintenance.[26]

On 23 October 2018, There was a stampede on a foot overbridge at Santragachi railway station in West Bengal. Two people died and twelve others were injured, including two children and two women. This incident was occurred due to the arrival of two trains at the same time. People rushed to board the trains and that created a stampede-like situation on the bridge.[27]


A New line is in construction between Amta and Bagnan with the length of 16 km under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railway which is Sanctioned in 2010-11, Another New line is in progress between the Dakshinbari and Tarakeswar with joint Work of ER and SER.[28]

On the Eastern Railway side, the Circular Railway part is going to double between the Princepghat and Majerhat which has a distance of 5 km. The New line is to be constructed between the Budge Budge and Uluberia with a length of 22 km which is direct connectivity of Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway.

On the southern part of Eastern Railways side, there is an expansion of line between Canning and Jharkhali with the length of 42 km, Second Expansion is at Kakdwip and Budhakhali with the length of 5 km and extends to the Sagar Island[29] which it situates between the Delta of the River Hooghly there is only boat transport and expansion of this line is a boom for the people of Island with better connectivity, Third expansion is at Namkhana and Bakkhali with the length of 31 km, fourth expansion is Between Kulpi and Bahrarat with the length of 38 km.[30]

There is also a plan to build two more stations between Park Circus and Sir Gurudas Banerjee Halt named Tangra and Beliaghata Main Road respectively.

Indian Railways also announced that the AC local trains will start soon in the year 2019–20 on The Kolkata Suburban Railway which it becomes the image changer of the Suburban Rail Network.[31]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Budget Bypasses Kolkata Suburban network,, 2 February 2018
  2. ^ Survey on Kolkata Suburban Railway,, 1 January 2013
  3. ^ Multiple Units (EMU/DMU) and other self-propelled vehicles,,28 November 2018
  4. ^ History of EMU on Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway, South Eastern Railway, 27 November 2018
  5. ^ SER Completes 50th anniversary on successful operations of EMU services.
  6. ^ Suburban Railway Maps,, 5 June 2005
  7. ^ TRS Organisation of Sealdah Division, Eastern Railways, 28 November 2018
  8. ^ CAG report on Suburban Rail Performance,, 30 November 2018
  9. ^ Introduction of New Services, South Eastern Railways, 29 September 2015
  10. ^ New trains Introduction, Eastern Railways, 29 September 2015
  11. ^ Explanatory Note and Faretable,, 1 January 2013
  12. ^ Report of Indian Railway, Indian Railways, 6 April 2017
  13. ^ History of Electrification,, 29 November 2018
  14. ^ New services from Eastern Railways,, 6 September 2009
  15. ^ First Train to Barddhaman From Katwa Jn,, 12 January 2018
  16. ^ SER to launch Medha EMU rakes,, 13 February 2018
  17. ^ Mumbai like EMU Chugs out of Howrah Station,, 16 April 2018
  18. ^
  19. ^ Trains Came on the same line,,12 December 2013
  20. ^ EMU local details Suburban train services hit,, 1 February 2014
  21. ^ Blast in the Kolkata local train, 18 injured,, 13 May 2015
  22. ^ Train Services hit in Bangaon Barasat section,, 24 August 2015
  23. ^ Man pushed to death from women special train,, 18 November 2015
  24. ^ Two rail officials suspended after local train mishap at Sealdah Station,, 19 July 2017
  25. ^ Majerhat Bridge Collapsed, One Dead,, 5 September 2018
  26. ^ Railway FOB slab falls on the women,, 29 September 2018
  27. ^ 2 dead, 17 injured in stampede at railway station in Bengal,, 24 October 2018
  28. ^ New Projects, South Eastern Railway, 29 November 2018
  29. ^ Land reclaim for Sagar port soon, Times of India, 23 June 2011
  30. ^ New Projects, Eastern Railway, 29 November 2018
  31. ^ Not just in Mumbai, but AC local trains in Kolkata, Chennai, other cities,, 23 December 2017

External linksEdit