Howrah Junction railway station
|Regional rail, Commuter rail & Inter-city rail station|
Howrah Station, view from Hooghly River
|Location||Lower Foreshore Rd, Howrah - 711101 West Bengal|
|Elevation||12 metres (39 ft)|
|Owned by||Indian Railways|
|Operated by||Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway|
|Line(s)||Howrah-Delhi main line|
Howrah-Chennai main line
Howrah-New Jalpaiguri line
|Connections|| Howrah Bus Depot|
Howrah metro station
Howrah Ferry Ghat
|Structure type||At grade|
|Division(s)||Howrah (ER) and Kharagpur (SER)|
|Closed||All trains are cancelled till 3rd May due to COVID-19|
|Previous names||East Indian Railway Company|
|Passengers||1 million/day (as of 2019)|
Howrah Junction, more popularly known as Howrah Station, is the oldest and largest railway complex in India, serving the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata. About 600 passenger trains pass through the station each day requiring its 23 platforms (the largest number of platforms in Indian railways) and serving more than one million passengers per day. Howrah Junction is one of five intercity railway stations serving the city of Kolkata, the others being Sealdah, Santragachi, Shalimar and Kolkata railway station. Howrah Junction is also one of the busiest stations in India as per passenger footfall. The station is located in Howrah on the west bank of the Hooghly River. 1373 stations across India are directly connected to Howrah Railway Station.
On 17 June 1851, George Turnbull, the Chief Engineer of the East Indian Railway Company and his team of engineers submitted plans for a railway station at Howrah. In January 1852, the government authorities decided not to purchase the land and expensive water frontage needed for the project, not then realising the future importance of railways. Turnbull then developed other plans to cost an estimated 250,000 rupees. In October 1852, four tenders for the building of the station were received: they varied from 190,000 to 274,526 rupees. The first locomotive left Howrah on 18 June 1853 for the 37.5 miles to Pundoah.
The increase of residents in the region around Howrah and Kolkata and the booming economy lead to an increasing demand for rail travel. Also, the rail network kept on growing continuously, e.g. was the Bridge over the Rupnarayan River at Kolaghat completed on 19 April 1900 and connected Howrah with Kharagpur.  The Bengal-Nagpur Railway was extended to Howrah in 1900, thus making Howrah an important railway centre. So in 1901, a new station building was proposed. The British architect Halsey Ricardo designed the new station. It was opened to the public on 1 December 1905. This is the current Howrah station building including 15 platform tracks.
In the 1980s, the station was expanded to include 8 new platforms on the south side of the station. At the same time, a new Yatri Niwas (transit passenger facility) was built south of the original station frontage.
Until 1992, there was a tram terminus at Howrah Station. Trams departed for Sealdah Station, Rajabazar, Shyambazar, High Court, Dalhousie Square, Park Circus, Ballygunge, Tollygunge etc. Trams also departed for Bandhaghat and Shibpur. The tram terminus was partially closed in 1971 while the Bandhaghat and Shibpur lines were closed. Many unauthorized vehicles and pedestrians began to traverse the tram tracks and so the routes were not continued. The terminus station was converted to underpasses and a bus terminus. The part of the tram terminus for other routes continued to function until 1992, when the Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) was declared unfit to carry trams because it was a cantilever bridge.
In October 2011, India's first double-decker train left Howrah for Dhanbad.
The first service of the Antyodaya Express started on 4 March 2017 between Ernakulam Junction and Howrah.
The Eastern Railway runs local trains to Belur Math, Tarakeswar, Arambagh, Goghat, Katwa, Bandel, Sheoraphuli, Bardhaman, Serampore and numerous intermediate stations (see Main Line, Chord and Tarakeswar branch line). There are also mail and express trains to Central, North and North-East India. A narrow gauge line formerly used to connect Bardhaman and Katwa, served by DMU trains; but now this line is also converted to broad gauge and used by EMU trains like all the other lines.
The South Eastern Railway, operates local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura, Haldia, Tamluk, Medinipur and Kharagpur and mail and express trains to Central, West and South India. South Eastern Railway, connects with the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) route to Mumbai and Chennai.
The Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway sections are connected by two links. One is the Lilua–Tikiapara link and the other is the Rajchandrapur–Dankuni-Mourigram link. They are used by goods trains and the Sealdah-Puri Duronto Express avoiding Howrah.
Four major rail routes end at Howrah Junction. They are the Howrah-Delhi, Howrah-Mumbai, Howrah-Chennai and Howrah-Guwahati routes.
The station is the divisional headquarters for the Eastern Railway.
The station has 23 platforms. Platforms 1 to 16 are located in the old complex, referred to as "Terminal 1". It serves the local and long-distance trains of Eastern Railway and local trains of South Eastern Railway. Platforms 17 to 23 are in the new complex, referred to as "Terminal 2". It serves the long-distance trains of South Eastern Railway.
There is a large covered waiting area between the main complex and the platforms and other areas for passengers awaiting connecting trains. Google provides RailWire Free high-speed WiFi. In addition, there is a transit passenger facility with dormitory, single-room and double-room accommodation. First-class passengers wait in an air-conditioned area with balcony views of the Kolkata Skyline and the Howrah Bridge.
The station platforms have carriageways for motor vehicles within the complex including two carriageways to platforms 8 and 9 for Eastern Railway and to platforms 21 and 22 for South Eastern Railway. Flyovers at the ends of the platforms allow motor vehicles to exit the complex quickly.
The railway museum, located south of the station, displays artefacts of historical importance related to the development of Eastern Railway. For many years the Fairy Queen, the world's oldest operational steam locomotive, was displayed on a plinth inside the station.
Services for rolling stock
The station has a diesel-locomotive shed with room for 84 locomotives. The electric-locomotive shed has room for 96 locomotives. There is also an electric-trip shed with the capacity to hold up to 20 locomotives. The sheds accommodate 150+ WAP-4 , WAP 5 , and WAP 7 locomotives. The EMU car shed has over 15 parking slots. The station has a coach maintenance complex.
Howrah Station will also get an underground station as part of Line 2 of the Kolkata Metro. It will be the deepest station on the East-West Metro line of the Kolkata Metro and further the deepest in the country. The connecting metro stations will be Howrah Maidan to the west and Mahakaran to the east. The station is expected to open in 2020.
- Kolkata Metro
- Kolkata railway station
- Kolkata suburban railway
- List of Kolkata Metro stations
- Santragachi Railway station
- Sealdah railway station
- Shalimar railway station
- Trams in Kolkata
- "[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: Electric Traction - I". Irfca.org. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- "Passengers run riot in Howrah". The Telegraph India. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
- Pritchard, Tim (4 April 2019). "The daily commute at Howrah Station is on a biblical scale as half a million passengers pour off trains". The Mirror. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- Diaries of George Turnbull (Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway Company) held at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, England
- George Turnbull, C. E . pages 110, 121, 122, 125 and 127 of the 437-page memoirs published privately 1893, scanned copy held in the British Library, London on compact disk since 2007
- "Howrah Station". er.indianrailways.gov.in. Eastern Railway. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- "A bridge over Roopnarayan". telegraphindia.com. The Telegraph India. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
- December 19, Swagata Sen; December 19, 2005 ISSUE DATE:; April 30, 2005UPDATED:; Ist, 2012 12:14. "Howrah station centenary celebrations: A tribute to the history it has witnessed". India Today. Retrieved 25 May 2020.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Sen, Swagata (19 December 2005). "Howrah station centenary celebrations: A tribute to the history it has witnessed". India Today. India Today. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Howrah Station is veritably the heartbeat of Kolkata". thehindubusinessline.com. The Hindu. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- "Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express Service completes glorious 50 yrs in passenger service". United News of India. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "Baro rail Katwae, jamlo bhidr (Big railway in Katwa, crowd gathers)". Bengali. Ananda Bazar Patrika, 13 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
- Gupta, Jayanta (4 August 2018). "Kolkata: Another station comes up below Howrah station - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
- "New visiting time for Howrah Rail Museum – RailNews Media India Ltd". www.railnews.in. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- "IRFCA - The Indian Railways Fan Club Photo Gallery - Howrah Railway Museum". www.irfca.org. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
- Ahrons, E.L. (1966). The British Steam Railway Locomotive. I, to 1925. Ian Allan. p. 142.
- "India's deepest Metro station comes up 30m below Howrah railway station".
- "Metro prepares completion calendar for city projects". Times of India. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
- "Kolkata Metro's Howrah station by Indian Railways is India's deepest subway station! Check first look". The Financial Express. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Howrah station.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kolkata Metro.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Howrah.|