Iconic Punjab Mail celebrates 111 years of service on Mumbai-Firozpur route

Iconic Punjab Mail celebrates 111 years of service on Mumbai-Firozpur route

Over the years, the historic train witnessed numerous upgrades and changes to its route and amenities

Kamal MishraUpdated: Wednesday, May 31, 2023, 11:04 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Punjab Mail, one of India's oldest running trains, reached a milestone today as it completed 111 years of service. Originating from Bombay's Ballard Pier Mole station on June 1, 1912, the Punjab Mail has maintained its significance as an enduring symbol of the country's rich railway heritage.

“Initially known as the Punjab Ltd, the train embarked on its maiden journey as a vital link connecting Bombay (now Mumbai) to Peshawar via the Great Indian Peninsula Railway route. Serving as a lifeline for British officials and their families arriving in Colonial India, the Punjab Ltd boasted three passenger cars and three cars dedicated to postal goods and mail, accommodating up to 96 passengers,” said a CR official.

Fastest train in British India

Throughout the pre-partition era, the Punjab Ltd held the esteemed title of being the fastest train in British India, traversing through prominent cities such as Itarsi, Agra, Delhi and Lahore before reaching its final destination at Peshawar Cantonment. From 1914 onwards, the train started originating and terminating at Bombay VT, presently known as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and gradually earned the name Punjab Mail, transforming into a daily service.

Over the years, the historic train witnessed numerous upgrades and changes to its route and amenities. By the mid-1930s, general coaches were introduced, while in 1945, an air-conditioned car was added. According to the CR, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the train underwent significant advancements with the introduction of diesel engines, allowing it to travel from Bombay to Jhansi, New Delhi, and eventually Firozpur. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Punjab Mail became one of the first trains to operate on electric traction.

A vital link between Mumbai & Firozpur

Currently, the Punjab Mail continues its legacy as a vital link between Mumbai and Firozpur Cantonment, covering a distance of 1,930 km with 52 intermediate stops. The journey now takes approximately 32 hours and 35 minutes. “As the Punjab Mail completes 111 years of dedicated service, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of India's railways,” said CR chief spokesperson Dr Shivraj Manaspure.

After being temporarily suspended from March 22, 2020, during Covid, the train resumed its journey from November 15, 2021.

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