IR History: Part - VI (1995 - present)

Chronology of railways in India, Part 5 (1995 - present)

  • 1995
  • January 16: First regularly scheduled services on trains hauled by locos using the 2*25kV 'dual' system of traction (Bina-Katni on CR).
  • January: First prototype of the CONCERT passenger reservation system developed at Secunderabad.
  • Gauge conversion of Purna-Nanded / Manmad-Mudkhed MG section breaks the MG network's north-south connection. (Mudkhed-Secunderabad is left as an isolated MG line.)
  • Khodiyar-Mehsana MG section converted to BG.
  • DLW and GM sign contract for technology transfer for GM's GT46MAC and 710 series locos, and the purchase of 31 GT46MAC/GT46PAC locos.
  • April: The first WDP-1 loco is commissioned.
  • April 2: New Madras Beach - Tambaram BG line.
  • July 18: The first WDG-2 loco is commissioned.
  • December 6: Last official BG steam service (Jalandhar-Ferozepur).
  • Hassan-Mangalore MG line dismantled in parts for gauge conversion.
  • Miraj-Bangalore line converted to BG.
  • Gauge conversion of Hissar-Rewari, Rewari-Jaipur, Phulera-Marwar, Jodhpur-Jaisalmer, Chikjajur-Hubli, Hubli-Londa, Londa-Miraj, Hospet-Hubli, Donakonda-Giddalur, Muzaffarpur-Raxaul, Birpur-Shimoga, Parbhani-Purna, Arjuni-Wadsa, Purulia-Kotshila (planned completion dates -- some may have taken longer).
  • Sep. 27: End-to-end through service on the Calcutta Metro begins (Tollygunge to Dum Dum) with 16 of the planned 17 stations.
  • Delhi-Panipat MEMU service begins.
  • Eleven WAP-5 locos imported from ABB (AdTranz), the first locos with 3-phase AC technology in India.
  • IR begins a big push to convert passenger coaches from 24V electricals to 110V systems.
  • Dec. : DLW exports 2 WDM-2 locos to Sri Lanka.
  • Pune division of CR created.
  • Mumbai's Harbour line is extended to Khandeshwar.
  • Diva - Veer DMU services inaugurated.
  • IR launches 'Exhibition-on-Wheels', a special train with various IR-related material forming a travelling exhibition.
  • IR signs agreement with Linke Hoffman Busch (LHB, now part of Alstom) for supply of, and technology transfer for, passenger coaches.
  • [Disaster] May 14: 52 killed as Madras-Kanyakumari Exp. collides with goods train near Salem.
  • [Disaster] June 1: 73 killed in two separate accidents (West Bengal, Orissa).
  • [Disaster] Aug. 20: 302 killed as Delhi-bound Purushottam Express rams into the stationary Kalindi Express at Firozabad, UP. Some sources claim the death toll was 400+. This is India's second worst railway disaster going by the death toll (the 1981 accident in which a train fell into a river in Bihar being the worst).
  • 1996
  • Six WAG-9 locos and 16 more in kit form imported from ABB (AdTranz), the second batch of 3-phase AC locos for IR. First one is commissioned on Dec. 27.
  • Feb. 11: The last of the 17 stations of the first phase of the Calcutta Metro (Mahatma Gandhi Road) is commissioned.
  • March 4: Victoria Terminus is renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
  • April: DLW exports 10 YDM-4 locos to Bangladesh.
  • July: Six new railway zones proposed and approved in principle.
  • Sep.: The Union Cabinet approves the first phase of the Delhi Metro.
  • September: CONCERT system of computerized reservations fully deployed at New Delhi.
  • Telecom cubicle provided on the Mumbai Rajdhani for on-board telephone and fax service.
  • [Disaster] April 18: 60 killed as Gorakhpur-Gonda passenger train rams into stationary goods train at Domingarh near Gorakhpur, UP.
  • [Disaster] May 14: 35 in a bus killed as Ernakulam-Kayamkulam Express collides with the bus at an unmanned level crossing near Alappuzha, Kerala.
  • [Disaster] May 25: 25 killed when Allahabad-bound passenger train rams into a tractor-trailer at an unmanned level crossing near Varanasi.
  • [Disaster] Dec. 30: 33 killed in bomb blast on Brahmaputra Mail between Kokrajhar and Fakiragram in lower Assam.
  • 1997
  • Freight services begin on Konkan Railway.
  • Third Godavari bridge built, to replace the first one built in 1897, near Rajahmundry.
  • RCF begins manufacture of MEMU coaches.
  • Mehsana-Palanpur MG section converted to BG.
  • Ahmedabad-Ajmer MG section converted to BG.
  • Radio communication between driver and guard introduced on the Delhi - Mughalsarai route.
  • An experimental system interconnecting Vyasarapadi, Korukkupet, and Washermanpet stations' signalling systems to Basin Bridge Jn. (Chennai) using fibre-optic links is in place.
  • October 18: Fairy Queen back in regular revenue service.
  • Madras MRTS begins running with service between Beach and Luz.
  • Oct. 19: Beach - Thirumayilai (Mylapore) construction completed.
  • DMU services begin on KR (Karwar-Pernem).
  • Jan. 11: Salem - Bangalore BG conversion.
  • DLW exports one WDS-6 shunter to Puttlam Cement Co. in Sri Lanka, and 6 WDM-2 locos to Sri Lanka Railways.
  • CONCOR buys 1300 BFKI flat wagons from IR in an effort to increase its container transport capacity.
  • April 30: The infamous 'Platinum Pass' is instituted, which allowed all current and past Railway Board members to free travel on IR by Air-conditioned First Class. This perquisite was later withdrawn on court order following a successful public interest lawsuit.
  • WDM-2 #16859 of Ernakulam shed becomes the first Indian loco to get air-conditioning as a permanent feature (excluding locos specially provided with such equipment just for the 'beauty contests').
  • Erstwhile Moradabad steam shed is dismantled to make way for a Concor depot.
  • [Disaster] July 8: 33 killed in bomb blast on passenger train at Lehra Khanna station in Bhatinda district, Punjab.
  • [Disaster] July 28: 12 killed in collision between Karnataka Exp. and Himsagar Exp. near Faridabad, Haryana.
  • [Disaster] Sep. 14: At least 81 killed as five coaches of Ahmedabad-Howrah Express derail and fall into a river at Bilaspur, MP. Some sources claim a death toll of 120.
  • 1998
  • Konkan Railway construction is completed, and the first passenger train is flagged off on Jan. 26.
  • IR begins upgrading communication links along high traffic routes to optic fibre.
  • November 14: CLW begins production of indigenous versions of WAG-9 (first one is "Navyug").
  • April 29: CLW also manufactures its 2500th electric loco (a WAG-7, "Swarna Abha").
  • June 14: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Kolkata.
  • 10 YDM-4's sent to Tanzania under a 10-year full-service lease by RITES.
  • Diva-Panvel doubling inaugrated; EMU services begin from Panvel.
  • Coupon Validating Machines (CVMs) introduced at Mumbai CST.
  • Aug. 22: Tambaram-Tiruchirappalli BG conversion.
  • Thanjavur- Tiruchirappalli BG conversion.
  • Oct. : The first WDP-2 (#15501) is commissioned.
  • 'Buddha Parikrama', a tourist train for Buddhist sites, launched.
  • A seventh new railway zone (in addition to the six proposed in 1996) is proposed.
  • [Disaster] April 4: 11 killed as Howrah-Danapur Express derails between between Fatuha and Bankaghat stations.
  • [Disaster] April 24: 24 killed, 32 injured as a goods train with 15 wagons collides with the Manmad-Kacheguda Exp. at Parli Vaijanath (Beed) station, MP.
  • [Disaster] Aug. 13: 19 killed, 37 injured as the Chennai-Madurai Exp. collides with a bus at an unmanned level crossing on the New Karur - Salem bypass.
  • [Disaster] Sep. 24: 20 killed (14 children) and 33 injured as a locomotive collides with a bus at an unmanned level crossing near Bottalapalem, AP.
  • [Disaster] Nov. 26: At least 212 killed Jammu Tawi - Sealdah Express rams into three derailed carriages of the Amritsar-bound Golden Temple mail at Khanna, near Ludhiana, Punjab.
  • 1999
  • WDG-4 locos imported and homed at Hubli.
  • Briganza Ghat opened to traffic [10/99] with Vasco - Madgaon - Londa services.
  • NDM-6 locos procured for the Matheran and Darjeeling Himalayan railways.
  • WDP-2 locos in service on Konkan Railway.
  • Jan. 11: CLW begins manufacture of 3-phase AC traction motors 6FRA 6068 for WAG-9 locos.
  • Jan. 11: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Mumbai.
  • The seventh new zone (South East Central) is approved in principle.
  • Apr. 12: CONCERT system of computerized reservations deployed at Chennai. The complete networked nationwide system became operational on April 18.
  • July 2: MRVC incorporated to execute suburban rail projects in the Mumbai area.
  • Sep 19: HGS 26761 hauls a train from Howrah to Tribeni and back.
  • Nov 10: ICF's first stainless steel coach prototype.
  • Dec 2: Darjeeling Himalayan Railway becomes the second railway site in the world to be designated a World Heritage site.
  • New diesel locos introduced on New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling section of the DHR.
  • Jan. 6: Tiruchirappalli-Dindigul BG conversion.
  • DLW turns out its 4000th locomotive.
  • Credit cards accepted for booking tickets and reservations in some stations (including Mumbai CST).
  • Konkan Railway begins roll-on roll-off (RORO) freight services on the Kolad-Verna section.
  • [Disaster] July 16: 17 killed and 200 injured as Delhi-bound Grand Trunk Express collides with derailed wagons of a goods train near Mathura.
  • [Disaster] Aug. 2: The Gaisal disaster, a head-on collision between the Guwahati-bound Awadh Assam Express and the Delhi-bound Brahmaputra Mail at Gaisal in North Dinajpur district, West Bengal, kills 288 persons and injures 360. One of India's worst rail accident ever, it was caused by a signalling and routing error that put the two trains on the same track. Only the Purushottam Exp. tragedy (1995) and the 1981 disaster of a train falling into a river were worse.
  • 2000
  • February: Indian Railways' web site deployed.
  • Feb: 10 YDM-4's are reconditioned at Golden Rock and sent to Myanmar.
  • Feb. 24: CLW begins manufacturing ABB's 6FXA 7059 3-phase traction motors.
  • Feb: New lightweight passenger coaches supplied by Alsthom LHB.
  • May 10: First WAP-7 locomotive, 'Navkiran', from CLW.
  • May 17: First indigenous WAP-5 (named 'Navodit') from CLW.
  • May: Diesel-hauling of DHR train inaugurated.
  • Bankura-Midnapore section electrified and MEMU services begin (June 30). MEMU services also begin on Arakkonam-Jolarpettai section (May 22).
  • June 30: First WAG-9H loco, 'Navshakti', #31030, from CLW.
  • Steam: Ooty 'X' class loco rebuilt and successfully steamed and run on trials (February). WP 7161 steamed for filming a motion picture, at Bombay; WP 7015 steamed, takes short train around New Delhi before returning to NRM (February). Steam-hauled train from Dehradun to Harrawala to commemorate the centenary of the Doon Railway (May).
  • CONCOR starts dedicated container services: Shalimar - Chennai, Shalimar - Hyderabad, Cossipore - New Delhi.
  • All-women 'Tejaswini' squads of ticket-checkers and police officers introduced for Mumbai suburban services.
  • July 23: Trichur-Ernakulam section electrified.
  • Oct. 30: Villupuram-Trichy linked by optical fibre telecom link.
  • Nov. 22: New BG line between Penukonda and Puttaparthi.
  • Successful trials with high-speed (100km/h) running of BOXN wagon rakes on the Gomoh-Mughalsarai section.
  • New bridge over Ganga at Balawali (Saharanpur-Moradabad section).
  • [Disaster] July 1: Howrah-Amritsar Express rams into an empty rake of the Saharanpur-Ambala Passenger between Ambala Cantt. and Ambala City after the latter stopped following a power failure. Two persons were killed. Signal and interlocking problems were cited as the reasons.
  • [Disaster] Dec. 2: Howrah-Amritsar Mail collides with a derailed goods train near Sarai Banjara / Sadhugarh in Punjab. 46 are killed.
  • 2001
  • Jan 21: Freight services between India and Bangladesh officially resumed after a gap of 25 years, on the Petrapole-Benapole BG link.
  • Following successful trials of the new Alstom LHB coaches at 160km/h, IR announces they will be used on the Delhi-Lucknow route (Swarna Shatabdi) (max. speed restricted to 140km/h).
  • Feb. 12: Second WAP-7 loco, 'Navbharati', #30202, commissioned.
  • April: DLW delivers 10 BG locomotives (WDM-2 variants) to Bangladesh, and (later) 2 WDM-2 (? reported as 2300hp locos by IR) units to Sri Lanka.
  • May 17: In trials, a single WAG-9 hauls a 4700t rake of 58 BOXN-HA wagons at speeds up to 100km/h on the Sonenagar-Mughalsarai section.
  • MAWD 1798 steamed after restoration; first run is Guwahati-Pandu.
  • Converted AC-DC EMU rake with Alstom electricals used in trials on Borivli-Dahanu section, and then [June 12] AC-DC EMU service is officially inaugurated on the Churchgate-Dahanu section.
  • Four GM GT46PAC locos, classed WDP-4, arrive at Hubli.
  • DLW begins indigenous production of WDG-4 locos.
  • IRCON bags a contract for track doubling and electrification of the Ipoh - Padang Besar line in Malaysia.
  • July 12: The Maitry Express begins passenger service between Bangladesh and India.
  • August: The Rakesh Mohan Committee submits its report, recommending splitting IR into an operations body and a regulatory body, rationalization of fares, closure of unprofitable lines, a corporate approach to finances, manpower reductions, and an aim of privatization after 15 years.
  • December: All rail traffic between India and Pakistan is suspended following rising tensions between the countries (the Samjhauta Express is also cancelled as part of this).
  • A 2300hp Cape gauge diesel locomotive is manufactured by DLW for KTM Malaysian Railways.
  • Pendekallu-Gooty branch line opened.
  • IVRS ('Interactive Voice Response System') for telephonic enquiries about trains introduced in some stations.
  • [Disaster] June 22: Several coaches of the Mangalore-Chennai Mail fall into the Kadalundi river when the bridge at Parappanangadi near Kozhikode, at the time over a hundred years old, collapses. 64 persons die.
  • 2002
  • Feb. 27: At least 59 persons are killed when a mainly Muslim mob sets fire to a coach carrying mostly Hindu activists in the Sabarmati Express at Godhra.
  • March 15: Indian Rail Archives inaugurated at the NRM.
  • March: South-Western Railway zone 'inaugurated' (but official notification of the new zone occurs in July, see below).
  • Jan Shatabdi trains come into service.
  • March 14: IR revamps classification codes for diesel locos.
  • April 9: First locally built WDG-4 locomotive (GM EMD GT46MAC) commissioned.
  • April 10: WR's air-conditioned EMU coaches have trial run between Churchgate and Dadar.
  • April 16: Various celebrations on the occasion of IR's 150th year, including steam runs with WP's at Mumbai.
  • May 15: Rewari steam shed re-commissioned.
  • July 21: Upgraded WAP-7 trial successful.
  • June 4: At least 30 persons travelling in a bus are killed as it is rammed by the Kanpur-Kasganj Exp. after the bus driver forces the bus through the closed safety gate of a level crossing.
  • June 14: Orders passed for creation of two new railway zones: East Central and North Western.
  • July 6: Orders passed for creation of five new railway zones East Coast, South Western, South East Central, North Central, and West Central.
  • July 26: The first rake for the Delhi Metro is manufactured by Rotem, South Korea.
  • Aug. 3: IR begins online train reservations and ticketing over the Internet.
  • Sep. 17: First trial run of the Delhi Metro.
  • Sep. 20: Six coaches of the Kolkata-bound Teesta-Torsha Exp. derail near Mahipal station but fortunately no-one is killed or seriously injured.
  • Dec. 1: Internet ticket booking extended to more cities.
  • Dec. 14: Narrow gauge railway museum inaugurated at Nagpur.
  • Dec. 25: Delhi Metro opens for commercial operation.
  • Dec. 29: Konkan Railway conducts a trial run of the Madgaon-Roha Express at 150km/h (briefly touching 165km/h at times) using a WDP-4 loco. Also in December (confirmation needed) NR is said to have run trials with a WDP-4 hauling at train at up to 180km/h on the Ghaziabad-Tundla section.
  • Dec. 31: First trial run of a train run on 5% biodiesel blended fuel (Amritsar Shatabdi).
  • [Disaster] May 12: Thirteen coaches of the Shramjeevi Exp. derail near Jaunpur (between Kheta Sarai and Mehrawan) while traversing a bridge, killing at least 12 passengers.
  • [Disaster] Sep. 9: New Delhi-bound Howrah Rajdhani derails at 130km/h on a bridge near Rafiganj in Bihar. One coach plunges into the Dhavi river, others are left suspended from the bridge. 130 are killed. Sabotage is floated as a theory, but the official inquiry also brings to light engineering problems.
  • [Disaster] Dec. 21: At least 20 persons die after the Kacheguda/Hyderabad-Bangalore Exp. derails at 90km/h near Ramliangayapalli in Kurnool district (AP). 7 coaches overturn in the derailment.
  • 2003
  • Jan. 3: The Secunderabad-Manmad Exp. runs through danger signals and rams into a stationary freight train at Parli (300km west of Hyderabad), killing 14.
  • DLW gets another order for YDM-4 locos from Vietnam (10 units).
  • March: Trials conducted in the Delhi - Sarai Rohilla section for a new MG DEMU manufactured by RCF.
  • April: The 7 new railway zones begin functioning.
  • April 26: First indigenously built WDP-4 (#20011) inaugurated at DLW.
  • August 9: Hyderabad/Secunderabad 'MMTS' train services begin with 13 Lingampally-Hyderabad services and 11 Lingampally-Secunderabad services each day.
  • August 20: The first indigenously manufactured 4-coach rake from BEML for the Delhi Metro is commissioned.
  • [Disaster] Jan 3: Kacheguda-Manmad Express rams into a stationary train near Ghatnandur (Maharashtra), killing 20 persons. The driver of the express and six other officials are suspended following a report citing human error.
  • [Disaster] May 15: At least 38 passengers die when fire breaks out in three coaches of the Amritsar-bound Golden Temple Mail (Frontier Mail) near Ladhowal station (near Ludhiana).
  • The Presidential Saloon is used after a gap of 26 years.
  • [Disaster] June 23: An Ahmedabad/Mumbai-bound special train from Karwar derails after hitting boulders and debris from a landslide on the tracks near Vaibhyavadi, Ratnagiri region. 53 passengers are killed in what is KR's first fatal accident. KR is blamed by some for not having studied the stability of the landforms in the area adequately as well as for not patrolling the area thoroughly in the monsoon season.
  • [Disaster] July 2: 21 passengers of the Hyderabad-bound Golconda Exp. die when the train derails just outside Warangal station, with the locomotive falling off a bridge. Brake failure coupled with overspeeding are cited as the cause.
  • [Disaster] Oct. 23: Seven die as five coaches of the Bangalore-bound Mysore-Bangalore push-pull train derail near Mysore. Faulty wheel discs from the Durgapur steel plant are said to be the cause.
  • Golden Rock's new oil-fired 'B' class loco(s) for the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway built and ready for trials.
  • Nov. 10 : Centenary celebrations of the Kalka-Shimla Railway.
  • Dec. 15 : Mumbai Rajdhani starts running with the new LHB coaches.
  • 2004
  • January: The Railway Board is expanded by the introduction of two new Member posts, for Signalling & Telecom and for Stores.
  • Jan. 15: Samjhauta Express resumes running between India (Attari) and Pakistan (Lahore) twice a week. The rail link agreement of Jan. 2001 is extended through Jan. 2007.
  • Jan. 23: BEML begins manufacture of Delhi Metro coaches.
  • Jan 26: Second phase of Chennai MRTS, connecting Luz and Tiruvanmiyur, begins operations.
  • May: Nine YDM-4 locos (ex-Sabarmati) are sold and sent to Togo Rail SA (Chemins de fer Togolais) (West Africa).
  • June 30: SCR operates last MG train on the Nizamabad-Manoharabad line, bringing to an end MG services started in the 1930s on the Secunderabad-Manmad line of the Nizam's State Railways.
  • July 1: Chennai area MG EMU services discontinued; last MG EMU runs from Egmore to Tambaram marking the end of 73 years of these stalwart trains. Also the day of the last YAM-1 run.
  • July 12: First goods train from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Nepal using the Raxaul-Birgunj line.
  • July: SCR begins using new aerodynamically designed DEMU rakes from ICF.
  • July: Golden Rock workshops manufacture the second oil-fired steam loco, 'Himanand', for the DHR.
  • July: Trial runs with a diesel loco running on bio-diesel blended fuel (Trichy-Tanjor Passenger).
  • July 25: Two brass handles and four copper pipes were stolen from the Fairy Queen (EIR No. 22), the 149-year-old steam locomotive at the National Railway Museum, New Delhi.
  • August: Thane-Thurbe-Vashi EMU services begin in Mumbai.
  • Sep. 15: First public trial of KR's Skybus project in Madgaon, demonstrating the vehicle moving at 40km/h for a distance of about 1km.
  • Sep. 15: First batch of improved flat wagons for CONCOR.
  • Sep. 25: KR Skybus prototype has an accident where the coach crashes into a pier; one person is killed.
  • Oct. : IR makes prototype standard-gauge bogies for possible export.
  • Nov. 1: BG EMU Services inaugurated between Chennai Egmore and Tambaram on the newly converted BG line.
  • Nov. 27: First successful run of Delhi Metro under ATO (first use of ATO in the country).
  • Dec. 19: First underground section of Delhi Metro inaugurated (Delhi University - Kashmiri Gate).
  • Dec. 26: Indian Ocean tsunami washes away tracks on Nagore-Nagapattinam section.
  • Preliminary approval granted for Mumbai MRTS light rail project.
  • Gauge conversion of Purna-Akola section begins; this is the section that in 1960 first interconnected the MG networks of northern and southern India.
  • December: Konkan Railway being considered for merger with IR.
  • IR makes a move to open up the bookstall and catering business at its stations, ending the long reign ofbooksellers Higginbothams (in the south) and A H Wheeler (elsewhere) at railway stations in India.
  • [Disaster] June 16: Twenty killed as Mangalore-Mumbai Matsyagandha Exp. derails between Karanjadi (Roha?) and Vir (Veer) stations on Konkan Railways, with the locomotive and two coaches falling off a bridge after a collision with boulders on the tracks.
  • [Disaster] Dec. 13: A head-on collision between the Jammu Tawi - Ahmedabad Exp. and a DMU train on the Jallandhar - Pathankot single line between Bhangala and Mirthal stations leaves 38 dead and several injured.
  • 2005
  • Jan.: Boarding Rajdhanis, Shatabdis, and Jan Shatabdis at intermediate points without reservations allowed.
  • Feb.: Chawri Bazar station of the Delhi Metro is built with new technology of pre-cast concrete blocks for the platforms.
  • Apr. 27 : Jammu Tawi - Udhampur line in Jammu & Kashmir inaugurated and the Uttar Sampark Kranti from New Delhi to Udhampur begins running. This line was sanctioned in April, 1980.
  • [Disaster] Feb. 3 : Collision between Nagpur-bound Ramtek local and a tractor-trailer at the Bordan unmanned level crossing near Kanhan kills 55.
  • [Disaster] Apr. 3 : Howrah-bound Udyan Abha Toofan Exp. from Sriganganagar catches fire between Darauli and Dildarnagar stations. Five coaches are completely gutted in the blaze, but there are no casualties. The driver of a passing goods train notices the fire and alerts the driver of the Toofan Exp. who makes an emergency stop, allowing the passengers to escape.
  • [Disaster] Apr. 21 : Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Exp. from Varanasi rams into a stationary goods train at Samlaya, between Vadodara and Godhra, killing 17 passengers. Signal and interlocking failures during maintenance and a failure to follow the appropriate backup procedures are thought to have caused the mishap.

The chronology begins in Part 1 (1832 - 1870). Part 2 covers 1870 - 1899.

Part 3 lists events from 1900 to 1947. Part 4 covers 1947 to 1970
Part 5 covers 1970 to 1995.

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