ICF and Jessop made EMU rakes of Kolkata Suburban Railway
|Locale||Kolkata Metropolitan Area, West Bengal, India|
|Transit type||Suburban Rail|
|Number of lines||Eastern line: 12 |
South Eastern line: 3
Circular line: 1
South lines: 4
Chord link line: 1
|Number of stations|
|Daily ridership||3.5 million (2017–18)|
|Annual ridership||1.2 billion|
|Headquarters||Howrah (SER) & (ER)|
|Website||South Eastern Railway|
|Began operation||15 August 1854|
|Host railroads||Indian Railways|
|Number of vehicles||200+|
|Train length||9 or 12 coaches|
|System length||1,322 km (821 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
|Electrification||25,000 V AC overhead catenary|
|Average speed||45 km/h (28 mph)|
|Top speed||100 km/h (62 mph)|
The Kolkata Suburban Railway is a suburban rail system serving the Kolkata metropolitan area and its surroundings. There are six main lines and nineteen further branch lines. The suburban railway operates more than 1500 services carrying 3,500,000 people daily. It runs from 03:00 until 02:00 and the fares range from ₹5 (7.0¢ US) to ₹20 (28¢ US). It also has interchange stations with Kolkata Metro at various locations.
Kolkata Suburban Railway is a part of the passenger railway started in British India next to Mumbai in the mid-19th century. The first train chugged between Howrah and Hooghly. After hundred years of the initial run, Electric Multiple Unit services started. It is the largest suburban railway network in India by track length and number of stations. It has 398 stations with a track length of 1,332 km (828 mi).
The system is operated by two zones of Indian Railways; Eastern Railway zone and South Eastern Railway zone. The zones are further divided into Howrah and Sealdah divisions, for Eastern Railway and Kharagpur division for South Eastern Railway. Howrah, Sealdah and Kolkata railway station are three major terminals catering the network in the city.
The Kolkata Suburban Railway is an offshoot of the second passenger railway to be built by the British in India and is also the second oldest railway system in Asia. The first train ran between Howrah and Hooghly on 15 August 1854, and was operated by the East Indian Railway. Regular services on the 38.6 km (24.0 mi) were introduced from the same day, with stoppage at Bally, Serampore and Chandannagore.
After Indian independence in 1947, all the railway companies, zone and divisions were integrated and recategorised. This led to the formation of Eastern (ER) and South Eastern Railway (SER) zone. These two zones of Indian Railways currently operate the Kolkata Suburban Railway.
Formed on 14 April 1952, by the amalgamation of East Indian Railway Company and the entire Bengal – Nagpur Railway (later it formed the SER). It has four divisions, out of which Howrah and Sealdah division operate the system. Previously, the Sealdah division was a part of Eastern Bengal Railway before the recategorisation. Howrah division is the oldest in ER zone.
On 1 February 1957, The Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) services were introduced on Howrah – Bandel section of Howrah division. In 1963, the services were gradually extended to Barddhaman and also on Sealdah Division of Eastern Railway introduced on Sealdah Division on Sealdah – Ranaghat route. In 1968, the Howrah – Barddhaman main and chord line was totally converted into 25 kV 50 Hz AC AC power supply from 3000 V DC power supply.
The Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) Company was incorporated in 1887 to take over from the Nagpur Chhattisgarh Railway and to convert the line to broad gauge. The work was completed in 1888. The extension of the main line from Nagpur to Asansol was completed by 1891. Later it formed the Eastern Railway zone. On 1 August 1955, the erstwhile Bengal Nagpur Railway portion was separated and a new zone, the South Eastern Railway, came into existence. SER comprises four divisions, and Kharagpur is the only division to operate the suburban railway.
In the SER zone, EMU services made its maiden run on 1 May 1968 between Howrah – Mecheda of Kharagpur division and after that on 1 February 1969, EMU services were extended up to Kharagpur. Gradually the services were extended to eight other lines by 2003. The system under this zone was completely electrified by 1968.
The Kolkata Suburban Railway system is operated by two zonal divisions (under Indian Railways) Eastern Railways (ER) and South Eastern Railways (SER). The fast commuter rail corridors on Eastern Railway as well as South Eastern Railway are shared with long-distance and freight trains, while inner suburban services operate on exclusive parallel tracks. SER operates the South Eastern Line and ER operates the Eastern Line, Circular Line, Chord link Line as well as the Sealdah South lines.
Junction stations are marked in bold
|Zone||Major terminal||Line||First Run||Stations||Length||Corridors||Terminals||Track Gauge||Power|
|South Eastern Railway||Howrah||South Eastern line||19 April 1900||81||247||Main line||Howrah||Midnapore||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)||25 kV 50 Hz AC OHE|
|West branch line||Shalimar||Amta|
|Southeast branch line||Panskura||Haldia|
|South branch line||Tamluk||Digha|
|Eastern Railway||Eastern line||15 August 1854||215||834||Main line||Howrah||Barddhaman||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)||25 kV 50 Hz AC OHE|
|West Elevated branch line||Seoraphuli||Bishnupur|
|North branch line||Bandel||Katwa|
|North East branch line||Barddhaman||Katwa|
|Belur Math branch line||Howrah||Belur Math|
|Sealdah||Main line||Sealdah||Gede||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)||25 kV 50 Hz AC OHE|
|Northern branch line 1||Ranaghat||Krishnanagar|
|Northern branch line 2||Kalinarayanpur||Krishnanagar|
|Mid East branch line||Ranaghat||Bangaon|
|Mid North East branch line||Dum Dum||Bangaon|
|East branch line||Barasat||Hasnabad|
|Hooghly branch line||Naihati||Bandel|
|Kalyani branch line||Kalyani||Kalyani Simanta|
|Sealdah South lines||1862||68||190||Main line||Sealdah||Namkhana||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)||25 kV 50 Hz AC OHE|
|Budge Budge branch line||Ballygunge||Budge Budge|
|Canning branch line||Sonarpur||Canning|
|Diamond Harbour branch line||Baruipur||Diamond Harbour|
|Chord link line||1865||14||22||Main line||Sealdah||Dankuni||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)||25 kV 50 Hz AC OHE|
|Kolkata||Circular Railway||1984||20||39||Dum Dum||Majerhat||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)||25 kV 50 Hz AC OHE|
|Total||398||1,332 km (828 mi)|
The South Eastern line in Kolkata consists of 3 major corridors, which bifurcate as they run into the suburban satellite towns. Two corridors (one local and other through) follow the South Eastern Railway run from Howrah Junction to Midnapore 128 km (80 mi). The mainline bifurcates into two branch lines – the Panskura–Haldia line at Panskura Junction 69 km (43 mi) in the south-east and the Santragachi–Amta line at Santragachi Junction 45 km (28 mi) in the north. These two corridors constitute the 'main' South Eastern line. The South Eastern line also includes two branch lines connecting Santragachi to Shalimar line with a length of 5 km (3.1 mi) and Tamluk to Digha with the length of 94 km (58 mi).
The South Eastern line has one interchange station with the Eastern Line at Howrah Junction. Rolling stock consists of a fleet of AC as well as dual-powered AC/DC Electric multiple units (EMU). The major car sheds on this line are at Tikiapara and Panskura.
On 6 September 2009, then Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee announced the introduction of Ladies Special local trains namely Matribhumi (i.e. motherland) in the Kolkata suburban section. First Matribhumi Special local started from Howrah to Kharagpur.
The Eastern line in Kolkata is the biggest network in Kolkata Suburban Railway consists of two divisions, Howrah division & Sealdah division (named after their respective terminals) which serves both sides of River Hooghly.
On Howrah division of Eastern line, there are 5 corridors, which also bifurcates and runs into northwestern suburbs. First two corridors are Howrah–Bardhaman main line with a length of 107 km (66 mi) and the chord line with the length of 94 km (58 mi). On these two corridors, the Howrah–Tarakeswar branch line bifurcates at Seoraphuli Junction and terminating at Goghat with a length of 69 km (43 mi) elevating over the chord line at Kamarkundu. The Bandel–Katwa branch line bifurcates at Bandel Jn with a length of 105 km (65 mi) and Bardhaman–Katwa branch line bifurcates at Bardhaman Jn with a length of 53 km (33 mi).
On the other side (Sealdah division of Eastern line), there are 7 corridors, bifurcating into branch lines to serve northeastern suburbs. The Sealdah–Gede line is considered to be mainline, terminating in Gede, a small town on the India–Bangladesh Border with a length of 116 km (72 mi). On this corridor, the first branch line birfurcates from Dum Dum Junction terminating at Bangaon Junction with a length of 70 km (43 mi). The second branch line bifurcates at Ranaghat Junction terminating at Bangaon Junction with a length of 33 km (21 mi). The third branch line bifurcates at Ranaghat Junction terminating at Krishnanagar City Junction passing through Kalinarayanpur Jn and Shantipur with a length of 35 km (22 mi) or by bypassing Shantipur, passing only through Kalinarayanpur with a length of 26 km (16 mi). Fourth branch line bifurcates at Kalyani Jn terminating at Kalyani Simanta with a line length of 5 km (3.1 mi). Fifth branch line bifurcates at Barasat Junction terminating at Hasnabad with a line length of 53 km (33 mi). The Eastern line also includes a connection from Bandel Junction to Naihati Junction with a length of 8 km (5.0 mi) which is an important link between Howrah and Sealdah division.
Sealdah division's first Matribhumi local started in October 2018, and it was the first all-women train in Indian Railway's history. It had female loco-pilot, assistant, guard, security, passengers etc. On 24 August 2015, Train Services was hit between Barasat and Bangaon line after a protest of a group of passengers obstructed movement of trains demanding that male passengers be allowed to travel in Matribhumi ladies special trains. this occurred when Eastern Railway has withdrawn the decision to allow male passengers to travel in Matribhumi Special local.
This corridor encircles the inner city neighbourhoods of Kolkata with a length of 36 km (22 mi) with 19 stations, this line runs under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway's Sealdah Division. From Dum Dum Junction to Tala, the line is double-track, while from Tala to Majerhat, the line is single-tracked. Running by the side of River Hooghly from Tala to Majerhat, it joins and runs parallel to the Sealdah South tracks after Majerhat and elevates at Park Circus in order to bypass Sealdah (which is a terminal station). After bypassing Sealdah, it rejoins the mainline at Bidhannagar Road and again terminating at Dum Dum Jn. The line is also known as chakra rail (in English means cycle).
This line is an Important link to Sundarbans of West Bengal from Kolkata. It is also a part of the Eastern Railway. This line has four corridors and it bifurcates as branch lines linking southern suburbs to Kolkata. The main line starts from Sealdah terminating at Namkhana with a length of 108 km (67 mi). Mainline is double-tracked till Lakshmikantapur and single-tracked from Lakshmikantapur to Namkhana. The first branch line at this corridor starts from Ballygunge Junction terminating at Budge Budge with a length of 19 km (12 mi), second branch line starts from Sonarpur Junction terminating at Canning with a length of 28 km (17 mi) and third branch line starts from Baruipur Junction terminating at Diamond Harbour with the length of 35 km (22 mi). This line has a sole depot at Sonarpur.
Chord link line connects Sealdah to Dankuni Junction on Howrah–Barddhaman Chord. This line plays an important role in connecting the Sealdah DIvision's mainline with the Howrah–Bardhaman chord, which is primarily used by freight and passenger trains heading towards North India (Howrah–Bardhaman chord is part of the Howrah–Delhi mainline and the Grand Chord). Chord link crosses the River Hooghly on the Vivekananda Setu road-rail bridge.
It has three Interchange stations. Interchange is possible at Dum Dum Junction for Eastern line (Sealdah–Gede mainline), Dankuni Junction for Eastern line (Howrah–Barddhaman Chord) & Bally Halt (lying above Bally station) for Eastern Line (Howrah–Barddhaman mainline). The extension of Kolkata Metro Line 1 is also being parallel to this line, and will have interchange facilities at Dum Dum, Baranagar and Dakshineswhar.
A new line is in construction between Amta and Bagnan with the length of 16 km (9.9 mi) under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railway which is Sanctioned in 2010–11, Another New line is in progress between the Dakshinbari and Tarakeswar with joint Work of ER and SER.
On the southern part of Eastern Railways side, there is an expansion of line between Canning and Jharkhali with the length of 42 km (26 mi), Second Expansion is at Kakdwip and Budhakhali with the length of 5 km (3.1 mi) and extends to the Sagar Island which it situates between the Delta of the River Hooghly there is only boat transport and expansion of this line is a boom for the people of Island with better connectivity, Third expansion is at Namkhana and Bakkhali with the length of 31 km (19 mi), fourth expansion is Between Kulpi and Bahrarat with the length of 38 km (24 mi).
During 2010–11, the average train services per day were 1275 and average passengers capacity per rake were 6207 and In 2014–15, the average train services were 1511 and average passenger capacity per rake was 4141, which it concludes from the last five years, there was an increase of 3% in average services per day and deduction of 8% in average passenger capacity per rake. And the number of passengers moved 2013–14 was 1,150,000,000 and 2014–15 was 1,120,000,000 which mean a reduction of 3 per cent in total trips. The daily ridership as of 2017-18 is 3,500,000.
Per the 2013 Railway Budget, the Railway Board increased the Kolkata suburban ticket fare by eight paise per kilometre, although the railway ministry has hiked it by two paise per kilometre. The number of slabs has also been reduced to four—₹5 (7.0¢ US), ₹10 (14¢ US), ₹15 (21¢ US) and ₹20 (28¢ US)—from the eight slabs earlier. Also, ticket denominations have been rounded off to multiples of ₹5 (7.0¢ US). As per the revised slab, a person travelling up to 20 km (12 mi) will have to pay ₹5 (7.0¢ US), between 21 km (13 mi) and 45 km (28 mi) ₹10 (14¢ US), between 46 km (29 mi) and 70 km (43 mi) ₹15 (21¢ US) and between 71 km (44 mi) and 100 km (62 mi) ₹20 (28¢ US). One can buy a monthly, quarterly or season ticket if commuting regularly in a particular route. With this, one can avail unlimited rides in that route. Season Tickets are the most cost-effective and time-efficient option for regular commuters.
Kolkata Suburban Railway uses a proof-of-payment fare collection system. Tickets can be bought for a single journey (one way) or a return journey. Travelling without a valid ticket is an offence and if caught can result in a penalty. As per the Indian Railway Report, On 2016–17, The Eastern Railway & South Eastern Railway Generated ₹539.8 million (US$7.6 million) through penalties imposed on ticket-less and irregular travelers, which is a slight increase from the year of 2013–14 with ₹112 million (US$1.6 million).
Some of the routes do not have any regular EMU services and therefore bypass the Kolkata Suburban Railway Network. To connect people on these routes, passenger trains run on these routes helping in transportation of people in small towns and villages to Kolkata Metropolitan Area and vice versa. There are two routes that bypass the Kolkata Suburban Railway and are not connected to any other network. The first route is from Tamluk to Digha which comes under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railway with a length of 94 km (58 mi) and the second route is from Krishnanagar City Junction to Lalgola which comes under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway with the length of 128 km (80 mi).
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) are responsible for the security of Kolkata Suburban Railway. The major stations in Kolkata also have closed-circuit cameras.
Almost all the stations, except halt stations in the network have WiFi facility. One can access it free for 30 minutes. The facility had been provided in collaboration with RailTel Corporation.
The Howrah division of Eastern Railways has a rolling stock of 12 coach EMU made by Jessop, ICF and Titagarh Wagons. BEML EMU's have been bought and they are in use and a small amount of Unique BEML stainless steel EMU are also in service. A small fleet of 12 coaches Siemens EMU is also in service MEMU Rakes of RCF and DEMU of ICF are in service. The Sealdah division has a rolling stock of 9 and 12 coach EMUs, also made by Jessop, ICF and Titagarh Wagons. A small fleet of 12 coaches Siemens EMU is also in service. BEML EMU's have been bought and they are in use and a small amount of unique BEML stainless steel EMU are also in service. DEMU trains made by ICF and MEMU of Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala are in service.
The South Eastern Railways (SER) uses 12 coaches EMUs, also made by Jessop, Siemens, Titagarh Wagons and ICF. BEML EMU's have been bought and they are in use and a small amount of unique BEML stainless steel EMU are also in service. It was the first Division in West Bengal to use the ICF Medha 3-phase rakes. DEMU rakes of ICF and MEMU of RCF are in service. In February 2018, South Eastern Railway launched Medha ICF Rakes on Howrah–Kharagpur route after some time on 15 April 2018 Eastern Railway also started on Howrah–Bandel Route.
All the divisions of Kolkata Suburban Railway are rapidly changing its old Jessop and ICF EMU with the latest Medha 3-phase EMU rakes made by ICF with Bombardier Transportation. Almost all the EMU Units in Kolkata Suburban Railway is equipped with "GPS based passenger information system". Some of the EMUs which were previously in service with the Western Line of Mumbai Suburban Railway, were later shifted to Kolkata for service.
Initially, in the Howrah–Bardhaman section of Eastern Railway 3000 V DC electrification was used. Later 25 kV AC traction was found more economical and by 1968, the mainlines of both zones got electrified with 25 kV AC traction. Branch lines and other lines were gradually electrified later. On 5 January 2015, the Kalinarayanpur–Krishnagar City Junction route via Shantipur was totally converted into Electrified Broad Gauge from Meter Gauge with three phases, Phase-I is from Krishnanagar City Junction - Shantipur Junction which was commissioned on 7 February 2012, Phase II is from Shantipur Junction - Phulia which was commissioned on 30 January 2014, and the last Phase III Phulia–Kalinarayanpur was commissioned and later EMU services started. On 12 January 2018, Barddhaman - Katwa line was totally converted to Electrified Broad Gauge from Narrow Gauge with two phases, Phase-I Barddhaman to Balgona and Phase-II Balgona To Katwa was started Conversion from 30 May 2012. Currently, the network has 25 kV overhead catenary electrification system, with broad gauge tracks.
Electronic Interlocking signalling system is most widely used, replacing the old Lever Frames/Panel Interlockings. To increase sectional capacity and efficiency, Automatic Signalling is being used which are controlled by AC/DC track circuits, axle counters etc. Axle counter system is used to detect the presence of a train in Absolute Block Section, Point Zone area of a station and level crossings.
Optical fibre communication system is the backbone of telecommunication network. The telecommunication facility is an omnibus circuit between stations and central control hub at Sealdah and Howrah. As of April , Eastern Railway has 2479 Reisskilometer of optical fibre network. For ground based mobile communication, Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) is used.
On 7 January 2012, two UP Sealdah–Shantipur local and DN Shantipur–Sealdah Electric multiple unit trains came on the same track at Phulia railway station causing an accident by which one was killed and several were injured. Three coaches of both trains were derailed from the railway tracks.
On 12 December 2013, Accident was averted as two trains came on the same line in Sealdah Station, the driver of Sealdah–Lalgola passenger which left from platform 7 had overshot the starter signal and entered the down main line but stopped because of a Bangaon–Sealdah Local, which was coming from the opposite direction, which was reported to the control room and the passenger train was hauled back to platform 7 of Sealdah Station.
On 12 May 2015, 14 passengers were injured when an explosion took place inside a compartment of Sealdah–Krishnanagar local train early on the morning, The blast took place just after a person boarded the train at Titagarh station which is just 21 km (13 mi) away from Sealdah. Train services along the Sealdah Section were normal. However, two trains were cancelled as train movement was hit following the incident.
On 17 November 2015, A 40 year-old man, who boarded the Howrah–Bandel Matribhumi special local, fell off the train and died between the Uttarpara and Hind Motor stations. This incident occurred when the man boarded the train, thereafter some female commuters surrounded and abused him. He was eventually forced to get off the stations. When the man realized the station was coming, he ran to grab the handle but unfortunately, missed it and fell from the train.
On 19 July 2017, a train from Sonarpur Jn to Sealdah (South) Station, broke the buffer and hit the wall of platform number 13 in Sealdah (South) Station. This incident happened in the morning around 10:25 am.
On 28 September 2018, one woman was killed while another woman sustained serious injuries after a slab of a foot over-bridge (FOB) at Baruipur railway station in South 24 Parganas fell on them with a height of 30 feet, this incident has happened on the night. According to locals and daily passengers, the foot over-bridge was in a bad condition due to lack of maintenance.
On 23 October 2018, there was a stampede on a foot over-bridge at Santragachi railway station in West Bengal. Two people died and twelve others were injured, including two children and two women. This incident was occurred due to the arrival of two trains at the same time. People rushed to board the trains and that created a stampede-like situation on the bridge.
The circular line is a point of interest for the tourists. As it runs under Howrah Bridge, Vidyasagar Setu and runs parallel to the Hooghly River, connecting multiple tourist places and ghats, giving a scenic view. It acts as a joyride for the daily commuters & visitors.
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