West Central Rail:: History

Railways were established in India for various reasons. In some areas they started as famine works, in others as commercial enterprises and in some as ventures of enlightened rulers. A substantial growth in the network was via private companies incorporated in England. East Indian Railway (EIR) and Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIP) were two of them.

Though the credit for the first train in India goes to GIP (April 16, 1853), it was the EIR, which started the work of laying lines earlier, and grew faster in the Initial years.

Earlier Times: Major Highways in India had, for centuries radiated from the inland centres like Delhi, Lahore, Agra, Mirzapur etc. towards the established port towns. The process was reversed in regards to the railways. Bombay and Calcutta, places of no importance prior to the advent of the East India Company, became the points from where the railway network spread into mainland India. GIP started from Bombay and EIR from Calcutta, into the interior of the country.

Jabalpur is, in a way, the heart of India. About 50 kms from Jabalpur is the village Manohargaon in Katni district, which is the Geographical Centre point of India. Jabalpur was ruled by various Gond rulers and lastly by the Bhonsles of Nagpur, till it was annexed by the British in 1817. The traditional trade route from Nagpur to Mirzapur passed through Jabalpur. It was thus natural that the city figured in the plans of both GIP and EIR. EIR comes to Jabalpur: The distance from Jabalpur to Calcutta was 733 miles.
Railway had already reached Allahabad. Work on the Naini Jabalpur section was started in 1863-64 and completed in 1867. The line opened for general traffic on August 1, 1867- a distance of 222 miles. Its route closely followed the Mirzapur road.
The stations between Naini and Jabalpur were built by the EIR. Some structures with distinctive architectural features of EIR still remain. Jabalpur station building was constructed by EIR. It had a stone edifice with a beautiful fare of arches and a portico.

Much later, the station was expanded with a new ?frontage? that eclipsed the earlier features. It has been ?improved? and ?beautified? further with additions of the ubiquitous Kota stone, granite and modern signages. However, distinctive architectural features of the old structure do still manage to show through especially on Platform No 1. Read More

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