Howrah railway station

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Howrah Junction
Indian Railways Suburban Railway Logo.svg Indian Railways and Kolkata Suburban Railway station
Howrah Station.jpg
Howrah Station, view from Hooghly River
General information
LocationLower Foreshore Rd, Howrah, West Bengal – 711101
Coordinates22°34′58″N 88°20′34″E / 22.5829°N 88.3428°E / 22.5829; 88.3428Coordinates: 22°34′58″N 88°20′34″E / 22.5829°N 88.3428°E / 22.5829; 88.3428
Elevation12 metres (39 ft)
Owned byIndian Railways
Operated byEastern Railway and South Eastern Railway
Line(s)Howrah–Delhi main line
Howrah–Nagpur–Mumbai line
Howrah–Chennai main line
Howrah–Allahabad–Mumbai line
Howrah–New Jalpaiguri line
Howrah–Gaya–Delhi line
Howrah–Bardhaman Main Line
Howrah–Bardhaman chord
Grand Chord
ConnectionsKolkata bus.png Howrah Bus Depot
Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Logo.svg Howrah metro station
ferry/water interchangeHowrah Ferry Ghat
Other information
Station codeHWH
Zone(s) Eastern Railway (ER)
Division(s) Howrah (ER)
Opened1854; 168 years ago (1854)
Electrified1954; 68 years ago (1954)[1]
Previous namesEast Indian Railway Company
1 million/day (as of 2019)[2]
Preceding station Kolkata Suburban Railway Following station
Terminus Eastern Line Liluah
Tikiapara South Eastern Line Terminus
Station is located in Kolkata
Location in Kolkata
Station is located in West Bengal
Location in West Bengal
Station is located in India
Station (India)
Interactive map

Howrah railway station, also known as Howrah Junction, is a railway station located in the city of Howrah, West Bengal, India.[7] It is the oldest and largest existing railway complex in India.[8][9] It is one of the busiest train stations in the world.[10]

About 600 passenger trains pass through the station each day, utilising its 24 platforms, and serving more than one million passengers per day.[2][11][12] About 450 are suburban local trains,[2][11] while 107 are coaching trains out of which 9 are trains with more than 24 coaches.[13] Out of the 24 platforms, 10 are long enough to cater to trains with more than 24 coaches.[13] Goods and parcel trains also originate and terminate here.[13] The Howrah–Barddhaman main line is the busiest line that connects this station.[14]

Howrah is one of five intercity train stations serving the Kolkata metropolitan area (including Howrah and its twin city of Kolkata), the others being Sealdah, Santragachi, Shalimar and Kolkata railway station.

The book Vibrant Edifice: The Saga of Howrah Station by Eastern Railways was released in 2005.[15]


In 1849, a contract was signed between the East Indian Railway Company and East India Company and an initial amount allocated for the first section between Howrah and Raneegunge via Pandooah and Burdwan.[16] Frederick Walter Simms, the consulting engineer to Government of India, initially envisaged a station on the right side of Hoogly in 1846. However following the amount of money sanctioned, Howrah was chosen as the location of the terminus for the new line.[17] A bridge across the Hooghly River, a span of 1,700 feet (520 m) at the concerned stretch, was unfeasible at that time.[18] In the coming years the question of connecting the rail line to Calcutta was discussed frequently.[18]

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.[19][20] There were two directions in which construction of the station was discussed, one that Howrah should be a big station, and the other that Howrah should be a smaller station and other station should be developed at the same time.[21] Eventually land was bought.[21]

The first experimental locomotive left Howrah on 18 June 1853[citation needed] for the 37.5 miles to Pundoah.[19][20] There was a gap between laying the line and opening it up since the ship carrying the carriages sank while the locomotive ended up in Australia. Eventually the carriages were built locally and the locomotive was directed to Calcutta.[22] The first public departure from Howrah for the 23.5 miles to Hooghly was on 15 August 1854.[23] During this period, the station was located at what is now the office of the divisional railway manager of Howrah.[24] It consisted of one line and platform, a ticket window and a supporting building.[12] Two weeks later the line to Pundoah was opened.[23] In the first 4 months, over 109,000 passengers used the service.[23] The locomotive was of the same type as the Fairy Queen.[25]

Indians on their way to European colonies in the early 1800s came through Howrah Station.[26]

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.[27] The Bengal-Nagpur Railway was extended to Howrah in 1900, thus making Howrah an important railway centre.[28] So in 1901, a new station building was proposed. The British architect Halsey Ricardo designed the new station.[28] It was opened to the public on 1 December 1905,[28][29] and completed by 1911.[24]

In the 1980s, the station was expanded to 15 platforms.[30] At the same time, a new Yatri Niwas (transit passenger facility) was built south of the original station frontage.

The new terminal complex was finished in 1992, creating a total of 19 platforms.[30] This was extended by a further four platforms in 2009.[30]

On 3 March 1969, the first Rajdhani Express left Howrah for New Delhi.[31][30] In October 2011, India's first double-decker train, Howrah–Dhanbad Double Decker Express, left Howrah for Dhanbad.[32] The first service of the Antyodaya Express, the Howrah–Ernakulam Antyodaya Express, was inaugurated in February 2017.[33]

Tram terminus, Howrah[edit]

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.

Heritage museum[edit]

The nearby Rail Museum, Howrah was opened in 2006, and contains a section dedicated to the heritage and history of Howrah railway station.[34] The railway museum, located south of the station, displays artefacts of historical importance related to the development of Eastern Railway. From 1909 to 1943 the Fairy Queen, the world's oldest operational steam locomotive, was displayed on a plinth inside the station.[35][25]

Rail services[edit]

The Eastern Railway runs local trains to Belur Math, Tarakeswar, Arambagh, Goghat, Katwa, Bandel, Sheoraphuli, Bardhaman, Serampore and numerous intermediate stations (see Howrah–Bardhaman main line, Howrah–Bardhaman 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.[36]

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. They are the Howrah–Delhi, Howrah–Mumbai, Howrah–Chennai and Howrah–Guwahati routes.

After completion Kolkata Metro Line 2 will pass through Howrah Station.[37]

Station facilities[edit]

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. Free wifi is present at the station.[38][39] 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.

Sampath Rail Yatri Niwas and Regional Rail Museum are a part of "Terminal 2" Howrah station complex.[40][41]

Services for rolling stock[edit]

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 175+ WAP-4, WAP-5, and WAP-7 locomotives. The EMU car shed has over 15 parking slots. The station has a coach maintenance complex.


Metro station[edit]

Howrah Station will also get an underground station as part of Line 2 of the Kolkata Metro.[42] It will be the deepest station on the East-West Metro line of the Kolkata Metro[37][43] and further the deepest in the country.[44] The connecting metro stations will be Howrah Maidan to the west and Mahakaran to the east.[citation needed]


Howrah station night view

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: Electric Traction – I". IRFCA. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Passengers run riot in Howrah". The Telegraph India. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  3. ^ Google Maps
  4. ^ Kharagpur-Howrah Local 38606 Indiarailinfo
  5. ^ Howrah-Haldia Local 68689 ⇒ 38089 Indiarailinfo
  6. ^ Santragachi-Digha EMU 78001 ⇒ 68687 Indiarailinfo
  7. ^ "Howrah JN (HWH) railway station". NDTV Rail Beeps. Retrieved 4 August 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ অযান্ত্রিক (18 November 2015). "Howrah Railway Junction Station, Howrah, 1854 –". puronokolkata. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  9. ^ Karthikeyan, K. (24 June 2012). "Third oldest railway station in country set to turn 156". Deccan Chronicle. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b Thakur, Joydeep (12 May 2020). "Buzz back at India's busiest station after nearly 2 months". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  12. ^ a b "Howrah Division. Historical Perspective - The First Journey. Brief Details". Indian Railways Portal. Indian Railways. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  13. ^ a b c Report of the Comptroller and Auditor Generalof India on Augmentation of Station Line Capacity on selected stations in Indian Railways for the year ended March 2017 (PDF), Union Government (Railways), 2018, pp. 50–52
  14. ^ Mondal, Bhaswati; Samanta, Gopa (2021). Mobilities in India: The Experience of Suburban Rail Commuting. Springer Nature. p. 22. ISBN 978-3-030-78350-1.
  15. ^ Mandal, Sanjay (21 November 2005). "Station blueprints restored - Documents to find place in museum". The Telegraph India. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  16. ^ Andrew, Sir William Patrick (1884). Indian Railways as Connected with British Empire in the East. W.H. Allen & Company. p. 229.
  17. ^ Davidson, Edward (1868). The Railways of India: With an Account of Their Rise, Progress, and Construction. E. & F. N. Spon. pp. 135, 136.
  18. ^ a b Khosla 1988, p. 47.
  19. ^ a b Diaries of George Turnbull (Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway Company) held at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, England
  20. ^ a b 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
  21. ^ a b Khosla 1988, p. 48.
  22. ^ Khosla 1988, p. 86.
  23. ^ a b c Huddleston, George (1906). History of the East Indian Railway. Thacker, Spink and Company. p. 14.
  24. ^ a b Mitra, Debraj (7 August 2022). "East-West Metro work unearths '19th-century' track near upcoming Howrah station". My Kolkata. The Telegraph India Online. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  25. ^ a b Khosla 1988, p. 111.
  26. ^ Hill, Arthur H. (September 1919). "Emigration from India". Timehri: The Journal of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial Society of British Guiana. 6: 50–51 – via Internet Archive.
  27. ^ Ghosh, Amrita (8 March 2013). "A bridge over Roopnarayan". The Telegraph India. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  28. ^ a b c Sen, Swagata (19 December 2005). "Howrah station centenary celebrations: A tribute to the history it has witnessed". India Today. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Howrah Station is veritably the heartbeat of Kolkata". Business Line. The Hindu. 2 December 2005. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  30. ^ a b c d "Howrah Station". Eastern Railway. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  31. ^ "Howrah–New Delhi Rajdhani Express Service completes glorious 50 yrs in passenger service". United News of India. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  32. ^ "First AC double-decker superfast train flagged off". The Times of India. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Antyodaya Express begins its journey from Ernakulam to Howrah". The Times of India. 28 February 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  34. ^ Gangopadhyay, Uttara (24 November 2018). "Go Railfanning at This Little Known Museum in Howrah". Outlook India. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  35. ^ Ahrons, E. L. (1966). The British Steam Railway Locomotive. Vol. I, to 1925. Ian Allan. p. 142.
  36. ^ "Baro rail Katwae, jamlo bhidr (Big railway in Katwa, crowd gathers)" ['Big Rail' in Katwa, huge crowd]. Ananda Bazar Patrika (in Bengali). 13 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  37. ^ a b Gupta, Jayanta (4 August 2018). "Kolkata: Another station comes up below Howrah station". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  38. ^ Nag, Devanjana (26 June 2019). "Indian Railways free high-speed WiFi at stations a hit! Over 2 crore users log in to the internet service". Financial Express. The Indian Express. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  39. ^ Sarkar, Debashis (18 February 2020). "After Google quits, RailTel to continue with free Wi-Fi at Indian Railway stations". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  40. ^ "New visiting time for Howrah Rail Museum". RailNews. 8 January 2016. Archived from the original on 14 May 2018. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  41. ^ "The IRFCA Photo Gallery. Howrah Railway Museum". IRFCA – The Indian Railways Fan Club. 2004. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  42. ^ Chakraborty, Ajanta (13 August 2019). "India's deepest Metro station comes up 30m below Howrah railway station". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  43. ^ Gupta, Jayanta (6 July 2017). "Metro prepares completion calendar for city projects". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  44. ^ Sinha, Debjit (19 August 2019). "Kolkata Metro's Howrah station by Indian Railways is India's deepest subway station! Check first look". The Financial Express. The Indian Express. Retrieved 8 December 2019.

Works cited[edit]

  • Khosla, GS (1988). A History of the Indian Railways. New Delhi: Ministry of Railways (Railways Board) and Y. P. Chopra of A H Wheeler & Co. – via Internet Archive.

Further reading[edit]

  • Vibrant Edifice: The Saga of Howrah Station. Eastern Railway. 2005.