Railway expo displays rare photographs

How many of us knew train wagons were pushed by elephants or bullocks-driven trains were tried in Indian Railways once upon a time?

Seeing is believing. Collection of over 200 rare photographs depicting the Indian Railway’s journey from scratch to becoming the world’s largest railway network are on the display at Railway Stadium here.

Bullock train was operational in the first narrow gauge railway from Dabhoi to Miyagam in Gujarat in 1860. Similarly, Patiala Monorail powered by oxen and army mules on Sirhind — Morinda section was opened in 1907. Even Indian Railways had occasionally used elephants for pushing odd wagons in small goods sheds. All these unique events have found place in the exhibition.

In absence of modern technologies, impressive railway structures were erected by the Indian Railways across the country in pre and post independence era. The historic photograph of the first passenger train which was run from Boribunder to Thane covering a distance of 34 kms carrying 400 passengers is catching attention of visitors.

The photograph, the lone photograph that captured the historic moment, was taken by Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy about 160 years ago on April 16, 1853.

The photo exhibition showcasing the evolution and rare moments of the railway journey was inaugurated by Indra Ghosh, General Manager, East Coast Railway at Railway Stadium, Mancheswar on Tuesday. To commemorate 160 years of Indian Railways, the photo exhibition is put up across the country. The exhibition would move to Kolkata in its next halt.

“This is also a rare opportunity for people of Odisha to peek into the journey of Indian Railways which has been brilliantly showcased in the exhibition,” said East Coast Railway Chief Public Relation Officer J.P. Mishra. Schoolchildren are thronging the Railway Stadium for the show.

The exhibition has also showcased Odisha’s share of history in the Indian Railways. Photographs of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru being received at Bhadrak station and rare picture of Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, at Jharsuguda railway station are also displayed.

Some of the often flashed photographs such as overloaded trains during time of partition and train journey of Mahatma Gandhi and other great leaders during freedom struggle were also attracting the attention of visitors. Besides, lesser known activities such as persons (panipades) assigned to supply drinking water to passengers of different religions and separate tea stalls meant for Hindu and Muslim passengers also figured in the photographs hung in Railway Stadium.

Bullock train was operational in the first narrow gauge track from Dabhoi to Miyagam in Gujarat in 1860.



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