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Pix: Have you seen India's first rail coach?

By A Ganesh Nadar
May 24, 2018 09:25 IST
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Missed India's first international rail exhibition?
Worry not, here are some glimpses.

On April 13, 1853, India's first mechanical passenger train made its first journey... a distance of 34 kilometres between Bombay and Thane.

The 14-carriage train, ferrying 400 passengers, was hauled by three steam locomotives: Sahib, Sindh and Sultan.

But that wasn't India's first train or the first rail journey in the country.

In the early days, railway coaches were hauled by bulls on the railway track. That's how the railways got its name.

And India's first-ever railway coaches were made out of wood.

See, you didn't know that, did you?

To increase awareness about the journey of the largest rail network in Asia, the Integral Coach Factory organised a first-of-its kind three-day international exhibition under the aegis of the railways ministry, in coordination with the Confederation of Indian Industry and RITES Ltd, a PSU under the railways ministry.

The expo, held May 17-19 at the ICH RPF Parade Grounds in Chennai, featured archival photographs of railways, installations about innovative rail coaches, train sets and future coach models.

A Ganesh Nadar brings you some fascinating facts and photographs from the exhibition.


The steam engine

IMAGE: The first-ever train coach was made from wood and driven by livestock. Photograph: Kind courtesy ICF


The steam engine began to be used to haul coaches in the 1930s. Photograph: Kind courtesy ICF



A model of the latest Tejas, India's first semi-high speed, fully air-conditioned train. All photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/


The paintless coaches

The Antyodaya Express, launched in 2017, came with paintless coaches.
The stainless steel coaches manufactured by ICF were meant to ferry unreserved and general category passengers.
'The advantage of a paintless exterior coach is that it saves the cost of paint and that of refurbishing it when it is time for a upgrade,' an ICF official told the Financial Express ahead of its launch.


This is a version of the private saloon coach, featuring a dining place, a bed and an attached toilet.
The saloon coach has been used multiple times by former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi.
It can accommodate up to two families and comes with two bedrooms, a lounge, pantry, toilet and kitchen.


Rail exhibition

This swanky new rail washroom looks like it belongs to an aircraft.


Three seater arrangement

An upgrade from the double decker model, this is what a triple decker coach will look like.


Five level seating arrangement

A five-deck seating model is on the anvil as well.


The latest pantry car model

The railways had promised airline-quality food from its modern kitchens. This is what the latest pantry car will look like.


Army coach

The army deserves a specially designed coach too.

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A Ganesh Nadar /