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British Industrial History

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Jamalpur Works

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of the East Indian Railway

1862 February 8th. Jamalpur Locomotive Workshop were established as the first full-fledged railway workshop facilities in India, set up by the East Indian Railway.

The Railway age in Eastern India started on August 15, 1854, exactly ninety-three years before Independence. A locomotive, carriage and wagon workshop was set up in Howrah to put to commission imported rolling stock of EIR and also to render economic repairs to them but it proved unsuccessful because of problems with procuring supplies and getting skilled labour. Within a short span of eight years it became necessary to shift the site of workshop, as there was hardly any scope for expansion at Howrah.

Jamalpur Workshop has enjoyed the distinction of being the largest and the oldest locomotive repair workshop with the most diversified manufacturing activities on the Indian Railways. At first the Jamalpur shops were merely repairing locomotives and also assembling locomotives from parts salvaged from other or damaged locomotives. By the turn of the century they had progressed to producing their own locomotives.

In 1893, the first railway foundry in India was set up at Jamalpur Workshop. It also had a boiler workshop for repairing and building boilers. A captive power plant of 5MVA was also developed in the Jamalpur Workshop.

In 1870 it was equipped with a rolling mill of its own; unfortunately it is not working at present. In addition to various repairs of wagons, coaches, cranes and tower cars, and locomotives, Jamalpur also undertakes repair and production of permanent-way fixtures. It also manufactures some tower cars such as Mark II, Mark III and break-down cranes of 10, 20, and 140 tons capacities, besides various kinds of heavy-duty lifting jacks.

Finally, it also manufactured wheel sets for coaches and wagons. Jamalpur workshop was a significant supplier of cast-iron sleepers as well. Starting in 1961 it produced several rail cranes. It has also produced electric arc furnaces, ticket printers. The high-capacity synchronized lifting jacks known as Jamalpur Jacks were also produced by this workshop.

The school attached to the Jamalpur workshops eventually became the IR Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.

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