To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
We called this book ‘Our Indian Railway’ as a deliberate echo of a term used in 1847 by R.M. Stephenson, the famous railway builder and entrepreneur when reviewing a series of reports arguing for the development of railways in India. His use of the possessive pronoun, used almost as an endearment, might seem odd but not unusual for something as prosaic as a structure made of mortar and steel, since it is true that railways have often evoked strong emotions of possession and affection. At the time that Stephenson wrote of ‘Our Indian Railway’ the project to unite what would be the largest territory of the empire with a railway system was certainly a notion dear to his heart, both as a creative engineer and businessman, but also as a man who shared imperial ambitions about India. In 1847, the Indian railway system was still only an idea, at a time when the idea of ‘India’ as an integrated political unit also remained very much an imaginary notion. But when India did eventually take shape as a definable political unit under the British Crown and then in 1947 as an independent republic, it was really the railway that bound the country together. Railways made India a working and recognizable structure and political and economic entity, at a time when many other forces militated against unity. Through their own internal logic, their transformation of speed and the new dynamic of the economic changes they made possible, the railways definitively altered the Indian way of life, irrespective of the plans of politicians or the ambitions of entrepreneurs.
1. We propose great changes in the constitution, status and functions of the Railway Board. We recommend that at the head of the Railway Department there shall be a Member of Council in constant touch with railway affairs; and we suggest that with this object there shall be created a new Department of Communications responsible for railways, ports and inland navigation, road transport (so far as the Central Government deals with this subject) and posts and telegraphs. We think the Member in charge of Communications must be an experienced administrator and able to represent his Department both in the legislature and with the public. We do not think he need be expected to be a technical expert.
2. We recommend that, on the one hand, the reconstituted Railway Department should delegate considerably increased power of day-to-day management to the local railway administrations, and on the other hand should be relieved from control by the India Office and by the Government of India except on large questions of finance and general policy.
3. We recommend that the Finance Department should cease to control the internal finance of the railways; that the railways should have a separate budget of their own, be responsible for earning and expending their own income, and for providing such net revenue as is required to meet the interest on the debt incurred or to be presented to the 42 Our Indian Railway Legislative Assembly, not by the Finance Member of Council, but by the Member in charge of Railways.
This book commemorates 150 years of railways in India. Introduced under colonial rule in the second half of the nineteenth century, the railways soon embraced the length and breadth of India bringing with it rapid political, economic, ecological and cultural changes. The articles in this book explore the impact of this technological phenomenon from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives. From early railway thinking in renaissance Bengal, to railway policing in Uttar Pradesh and issues of management to railway themes in literature, the writers in this volume reveal the world of the railways in all its exciting facets. The photo essay invokes the nostalgic world of steam with a series of evocative images. In the twenty-first century, the ever expanding horizon of the railways continues to draw in people and goods in the third largest railway network in the world.