Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,169 pages of information and 210,845 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
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1845 May. Announcement of the formation of the East Indian Railway Company. See 1845 Company Announcement
1845 July 20th. 'The Provisional Committee deem it right, with reference to the several advertisements put forth on the subject of railroads in India, to notify to their Shareholders and the Public, that Mr. R. Macdonald Stephenson, their managing director, left England for Calcutta on the 20th July last (the same mail by which Mr. Simms, the Government engineer, proceeded), accompanied by three engineers, for the purpose of entering into negotiations with the Bengal Government, to whom the question was referred by the Honourable Court of Directors, on the representations of this Company, for carrying out such lines of railroad in India as appear desirable to the said Government. The Provisional Committee further notify that it is, and always has been, the intention of the East Indian Railway Company, as soon as they shall have brought to a successful termination their pending negotiations with the Government of India regarding the proposed great trunk line, by whatever route may be thought best, from Calcutta to Mirzapore, to propose extension of the same trunk to Delhi, with branches from Mirzapore to Jubalbpore, and other important points. The committee hope to hear by an early mail that these negotiations have been so far advanced as to enable the committee now formed at Calcutta to take early measures for carrying out the object for which this company was established — namely, for the formation of a direct line of railroad from Calcutta to Mirzapore, and thence by extensions to the north-west provinces, a measure of incalculable benefit in every point of view — social, political, and commercial - to India and Great Britain. D. I. NOAD, Secretary. 8, Broad-street-buildings, Oct. 9, 1815.'
1845 October 22nd. Board meeting where additional shares were issued.
1846 April. Survey completed and report made to London. They assessed that the maximum cost of a twin-track line would not exceed £15,000 per mile if the land was available without charge.
1846 December. One of the surveyors John Bourne opposed the plans and unsettled some of the directors of the company by advocating that a single track line laid upon the Grand Trunk road was all that was required and that the 150 miles from Calcutta could never be profitable.   
1847 September 20th. Macdonald Stephenson with Mr. Adams and Mr. Beeston set off for India having been appointed to act on behalf of the Board of Directors in London, with a staff of engineers selected by the consulting engineer James Meadows Rendel. 'We understand that Mr. Macdonald Stephenson will leave England for India on Saturday next, via France, for the purpose of viewing some of the continental railways, on his route to Malta, where he will meet the steamer which leaves England on the 20th, and which will also convey Messrs. Beeston and Adams, who are to act as a commission with Mr. Stephenson, and two other gentlemen in conducting the line, and the following gentlemen, who are to officiate as engineers and surveyors on the line, all of them having had great experience in this country, Messrs. Slater, Ure, Bourne, G. Jackson, Brummell, Jenkinson, Brees, and Edwards. We understand that arrangements have been made with the Government in India for the company to be put in possession of the necessary land immediately on the arrival of Mr. Stephenson and his assistants in India.'
1848 February 7th. Bill for the Great Western of Bengal Dissolution and Transfer of Capital to the East Indian Railway Company.
1848 March 15th. See East Indian Railway: 1848/03/15 List of Directors
1848 May 3rd. East Indian Railway Incorporation Bill.
1848 July 18th. Special meeting held to discuss problems with share calls. Some concern that the scheme would proceed as doubts had been expressed by some.
1849 January 31st. Indian Railway Company Bill in Parliament.
1849 February 1st. Special resolutions passed by the Board to handle a dispute arising by a number of members.
1849 April 10th. A special company meeting held concerning the terms being agreed with the East India Co. Proposal well received.
1849 August 17th. A contract was signed between the East India Company and the East Indian Railway Company entitling the latter to construct and operate an "experimental" line between Calcutta and Rajmahal, one hundred miles long at an estimated cost of £1,000,000, which would be later extended to Delhi via Mirzapur.
1850 May 7th. Stephenson, Turnbull and the engineer Slater made an initial survey from Howrah (across the River Hooghly from Calcutta) to Burdwan on the route to the Raniganj coalfields.
1850 June. There was an impasse as the government would not allow Turnbull and his engineers to mark a route on the ground. Specifications for works were however advertised on 1 July and tenders received on 31 July for six contracts. Bamboo towers 80-feet tall were then built above the palm trees at Serampore and Balli Khal to set out the line.
1850 August 20th. Three additional engineers sent to India at the request of George Turnbull.
1851 January. The company took possession of its first land. Turnbull and other British engineers began detailed surveys of the line. They chose the critical crossing point on the 5,000-foot wide Son River (the largest Ganges tributary) on 17 February. The best route to Raniganj was determined in the heat of May and June by riding and in palkees. The plans for Howrah station were submitted on 16 June.
1851 The Board approved 'the construction of a line of railroad from Howrah, opposite Calcutta, to Pundooah with a branch to the Runeegunge Collieries. The total length will be from 120 to 130 miles; and will in the first instance be laid with a single line of rails'
1851 October 31st. Tenders for 11 contracts arrived. In December Turnbull continued his survey: he took levels and defined the line from Burdwan to Rajmahal.
1852 August. Half-year report. '... the works between Howrah and the Ranegunge collieries continue to progress satisfactorily....The surveys between Pundoah and Rajmahal, alluded to in the last report, have been carried to such an extent as to enable Mr. Turnbull, the resident engineer, to report upon the general features of the line, which are highly favourable to the construction of a railway.'
1852 November 2nd. Special general meeting held concerning proposal to extension of line 'between Permdooah and Rajmahal". This was to cater for the large amount of traffic that leaves the River Ganges at that point.
Decision made to use a gauge of 5 feet 6 inches by Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General
1853 August 16th. Sixth half-yearly general meeting. Concerns the extension of the line from Rajmahal to Allahabad and Delhi.
All permanent way, rolling-stock and other stores were transported from England in sailing ships via the Cape of Good Hope (the Suez Canal did not then exist). By 1859, there were 77 engines, 228 coaches and 848 freight wagons.
1854 April 15th. Progress Report on the 120 miles of line from Calcutta to Ranegunge. Section to Hoogley complete but engines and carriages will not arrive before the end of July. The Burdwan Viaduct of 300 arches being built with great activity and Bankah Bridge progressing. 
1854 August 15th. The line from Howrah to Hooghly for passenger traffic. More than 3,000 applications were received from the people wanting a ride in the first train. The first train ran to full capacity. The train left Howrah station at 8:30 a.m. and reached Hooghly in 91 minutes. It consisted three first-class and two second class coaches. It also had three trucks for third-class passengers and a brake-van for the guard. All of these were built in India. During the first 16 weeks, the company carried 109,634 passengers: 83,118 third class, 21,005 second class and 5511 first class.
Two weeks later the section to Pundooah was opened
1855 The line to Raneegunge was opened early in the year
1855 During the eleven months the line was open some 617,281 passengers were carried
1857 See the Cawnpore Memorial
1857 October 29th. Mention made of the heroic actions of Richard Vicars Boyle and Kelly in the defence at Arrah
1858 Section between Allahabad and Cawnpore completed
1859 William Evans, Chief Engineer of the Allahabad-Jubbelpore survey party, and Mr. Limnell, (a Swedish engineer), his assistant were murdered by rebels at Entobak, in Rewah. His other assistant Colin W. Campbell escaped. Runmust Singh, the leader of the rebels, was later caught and executed for the crime.
1859 By the close of the year the 24-mile section between the river Adjai and Sainthea station, the remaining section in the Beerbhoom district, was opened. The section to Rajmahal was almost complete.
1859 See a description of the journey from Calcutta to Cawnpore here
1859 By the end of the year there were 19 passenger and 30 goods engines running on the line, with a further 8 passenger and 20 good engines under repair or being constructed. There were 228 coaches and 848 wagons.
1860 July 4th. The first train ran from Calcutta to Rajmahal and on the 15th October it was opened to the public.
1860 September. Description of the opening run - 1860 Opening Run
1860 The 87-mile section from Cawnpore to Etawah was opened
1862 By the beginning of the year the company had 243.75 miles of track in the North West Provinces and 359.5 miles in Bengal with the dividing line being the big rivers
1863 February 7th. 'The distance from Calcutta to Benares is 541 miles. Work was begun in 1851. The line to Burdwan was opened in February 1855; to Adjai in October 1858; to Rajmehal in October 1859; to Bhagalpur in 1861; to Monghyr in February 1862 and opposite Benares in December 1862. In ten years therefore, have been opened (including branches) a continuous length of 601 miles being at the rate of 60 miles per year. This is exclusive of the portion of the line already finished between Allahabad and Agra in the North West Provinces and of the section from Agra to Aligarh which it is expected will be ready in a few weeks. Including this length, the progress of the East Indian Railway has not been short of 90 miles a year.'
1864 August 1st. The line was opened through to the River Jumna at Delhi
1881 List of Employees
1907 The Grand Chord was opened
1925 January 1st. The British Indian Government took over the management of the East Indian Railway and divided it into six divisions: Howrah, Asansol, Danapur, Allahabad, Lucknow and Moradabad.
1952 April 14th. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated two new zones of the first six zones of the Indian Railways. One of them, the Northern Railways had the three "up-stream" divisions of East Indian Railway: Allahabad, Lucknow and Moradabad, while the other, the Eastern Railways had the three "down-stream" divisions: Howrah, Asansol and Danapur and the complete Bengal Nagpur Railway
PERSONNEL of the EAST INDIAN RAILWAY