Western Railway will celebrate its rich history & glorious heritage with full fervour and festivities to commemorate its 70th Foundation Day on 5th November, 2020.
According to a press release issued by WR CPRO Sumit Thakur, WR has achieved many milestones, since its humble beginning. 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 BB&CI Railway was inaugurated in 1855, starting with the construction of a 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 has 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. 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 beginnings of the Western line.
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.
The Mumbai Suburban System of Western Railway exists from Churchgate to Dahanu Road. The present jurisdiction of Western Railway is in 6 divisions i.e., Mumbai Central, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Ratlam.
Thakur stated that to highlight the glorious past & 70th foundation day of WR, a special social media campaign through which short videos on topics like Western Railway’s Golden Heritage and Important Places over WR will be shared. A series of webcards are also being shared on its social media platforms on the various important historical & religious places across the Western Railway zone. Besides this, several stations, Headquarter and Division buildings and Heritage Locomotives will be decorated with beautiful lights. The Railway will also carry out planting of saplings at HQ & Divisional offices as a noble gesture.
Face masks commemorating the Foundation Day will be distributed among housekeeping and cleaning staff across Western Railway. A Slogan Writing Competition for staff & officers has also been organized whose winners will be announced & prizes will be distributed in the virtual programme. Display banners commemorating the 70th Foundation Day will be displayed on all important stations. In an interesting way to celebrate the day, a caller tune “Dhadak Dhadak” has been made for all WR employees having official mobile numbers.
To continue with the 70th Foundation Day celebrations a programme will be hosted through a virtual platform. The programme will be presided over by Alok Kansal – General Manager of Western Railway in the gracious presence of Tanuja Kansal – President of Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation. A short film based on the remarkable achievements & growth of WR will be shown on this occasion, followed by a short film on the evolution and heritage assets of Western Rly. WR GM will then virtually inaugurate the various infrastructure developments done to benefit the WR staff across all Divisions & Headquarter.