On April 16th 1853, India’s very first passenger train made its first journey from Bombay to Thane, covering a 30 km journey with 400 people. In the past 165 years of the railway journey, the railway network has grown and has become the world’s largest network. It covers 1,51,000 km of tracks and carries around 24 million people every day.
However, these days Indian Railways is more in news for its lack of hygiene and terrible incidents. But the system is itself connected to the story of India.
An online project on Google Arts & Culture is celebrating the Indian Railways rich history and heritage with 100 more exhibitions. This project will feature scenic routes and historic events. The project designed with the Indian Ministry of railways will also tell us the lesser known stories of the people who keep the train running. These people are trackmen, keymen, pioneering women who are signals engineers and the rail managers.
The goal of this project is to make rail heritage more accessible to the Indians. This exhibition will be taken to 22 stations across India. These stations include New Delhi, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Guwahati and Coimbatore.
Some of the Quartz favourite exhibitions online are:
Veterans of the railways- The exhibition will exhibit three railway employees of different eras in the history of the rail network. Ganey Khawas, born in 1916 and is the oldest ex-worker of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Balbahadur Majhi, a 76-year-old locomotive pilot will remember the hazards of the job during the natural disaster, and Deepak Das, a former section engineer will talk about some of India’s historic locomotives and working on Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Women in Indian Railways- Women account to just 7% of Indian Railway’s workforce. One of the exhibitions will highlight the untold stories of M Kalavathy who was the first signal engineers from the 1981 batch and Mona Srivastava was the first women to join Indian railways service of engineers.
There are several other favourites of this exhibition like everyday heroes, railway timetables of the past and railway impact on arts and culture.