he Indian railways are generally seen as one of the greatest legacies of the Raj. "If the rivers were the old lifelines of India, the railways were the new.... Before the Indian train journey all other forms of travel paled into insignificance," writes Charles Allen in his nostalgic Plain Tales from the Raj (54-55), recalling his awe at the sheer distances covered, and commenting on not simply the expanse but the variety of the terrain traversed. Travellers, he says, might find themselves crossing rocky or desert landscapes, "fields of blue linseed and yellow mustard ... backed by acres of sugar cane," or facing "tropical jungles, in marshy alluvial plains, in snow-capped mountain ranges" (58). The romance of train travel in India is legendary. — Jacqueline Banerjee


Locomotives and Rolling Stock

Stations, Lines etc.

Select Bibliography

Allen. Plain Tales from the Raj: Images of British India in the Twentieth Century. New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 1993.

"The Bhore Ghaut Incline — The construction." The Times. 14 May 1863: 9. Times Digital Archive. Web. 10 March 2014.

Connell, Arthur Knatchbull. "Indian Railways and Indian Wheat." Journal of the Statistical Society of London. Vol. 48, No. 2 (June 1885): 236-276. Accessed via JSTOR.

Iqbal, Iftekhar. "The Railway in Colonial India: Between Ideas and Impact." In Our Indian Railway: Themes in India's Railway History. Ed. Roopa Srinivasi, Manish Trivari and Sandeep Silas. New Delhi: Foundation Books, 2006. 173-185. (the excellent and comprehensive website of the Indian Railways Fan Club). Web. 10 March 2014.

Kerr, Ian J. Engines of Change: The Railroads that Made India. Westport, CT.: Greenwood, 2007.

_____. Building the Railways of the Raj: 1850-1900. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Meeks, Carol L. V. The Victorian Railroad Station: An Architectural History. New Haven: Yale UP, 1956.

Sanyal, Nalinaksha. The Development of Indian Railways. Calcutta: University of Calcutta, 1930. Internet Archive. Web. 9 March 2014.

Thorner, Daniel. "The Pattern of Railway Development in India." Railways in Modern India: Themes in Indian History. Ed. Ian J. Kerr. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Tiwari, Chandrika Prasada. Indian Railways: Their Historical, Economical and Administrative Aspects. Ajmer: Scottish Mission Industries Company Limited, 1921. Internet Archive. Web. 10 March 2014.

Vaidyanathan, K. R. 150 Glorious Years of Indian Railways. Mumbai: English Edition Publishers, 2003.

Victorian Technology

Last modified 27 February 2018