Western Railway celebrates and observes its 72nd Foundation Day on 5th November, 2022. Since its humble beginning, the railway has had several milestones in its 70+ years of journey in service to the nation. Prakash Butani – General Manager (In-charge) of Western Railway congratulated all officers and employees across its six divisions for their dedication towards their work and the bountiful achievements made by Western Railway over all these years. To commemorate the day, Western Railway’s social media platforms ran a special campaign through engaging quiz and infographisc about the railway’s recent accomplishments & glorious past.
According to a press release issued by Sumit Thakur – Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI) was incorporated in 1855, starting with the construction of 29-mile broad gauge track from Ankleshwar to Utran in Gujarat state on the West Coast with Surat as its headquarters then. Later that year on 21st November, 1855 the Company concluded an agreement with the East India Company to construct a railway line from Surat to Baroda and Ahmedabad. Another contract was signed to start a line from Utran (north of Surat) to Bombay to ensure a plentiful supply of cotton grown in Gujarat coming into the western port. The work commenced on the line in the following year & the line from Utran to Grant Road station in Bombay was officially opened on 28th November, 1864 – marking the inception of the present day Western Railway.
Thakur added that the process of the actual founding of the BB&CI local line to and within the city of Bombay and the identification of a terminus, particularly south of Grant Road – the first terminus, was a perplexing issue. Although the inaugural run terminated at Grant Road station, this terminus did not adequately serve the population which lived further south; near the old Fort or the cantonment at Colaba that was now serving a sizeable population. It was decided to extend to the Back Bay, just outside the western side of the old Fort area and alongside the western bay. This station was subsequently called Churchgate as it was in close proximity to the old Church Gate of the fortified town – the gate that afforded entry to St. Thomas Church that later became a Cathedral. Western Railway has grown with the city of Mumbai and Mumbai city has grown with Western Railway and has been the cynosure of the development of the city of Mumbai.
In its present form, Western Railway came into existence on 5th November, 1951 by the merger of its forerunner, the erstwhile Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CI), with other State Railways viz, Saurashtra, Rajputana and Jaipur. The present jurisdiction of Western Railway is in 6 divisions i.e., Mumbai Central, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Ratlam. On 3rd March, 1961 Western Railway introduced the 9-coach suburban trains owing to the increasing demand of travelers to the cityside. In 1972, Western Railway, introduced its prestigious Mumbai – New Delhi Rajdhani Express train, which is one of the most important and busiest line on the Indian Railways network. This year, this esteemed train completed 50 glorious years & celebrated the Golden Jubilee of its maiden run with great fervor & fanfare. Continuing in its journey of creating milestones one after the other, right from the introduction of the World's First Ladies Special train, First 15-car suburban train and the introduction of the First fully air-conditioned suburban train in India, it has earned many firsts in various fields such as Operations, Safety and in adopting state-of-the-art Technology. Western Railway recently introduced the country’s third Vande Bharat Express between Mumbai Central & Gandhinagar Capital. W. Rly has time and again proved its mettle, through its long journey, ever since its birth in the British era in 1850s. Through its historical journey of over 70 years, at present, Western Railway has a wide railway network covering 6175.9 route kms consisting of Broad, Meter and Narrow Gauge sections in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh & Rajasthan.