First Chord EIR Line

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First Chord EIR Line when completed in 1871 connecting Raniganj with Luckeesarai, was designated as the mainline from Calcutta to Delhi cutting nearly 100 miles of the distance. The original line became the Sahibganj Loop [1].

The EIR section from Khana Junction to Sitarampur, opened in stages from 1855-63; reaching Luckeesarai 1871, a line of 183 miles(294km) [2] . .

Initially called the Chord Line, but as traffic increased then it was re-designated as part the Howrah-Delhi EIR Main Line with the Khana Junction-Bhagalpur-Jamalpur-Luckeeserai section became secondary and became designated as the Sahibganj Loop EIR Line [3].


The growth of traffic in the early years of the East Indian Railway (EIR)far exceeded expectations. By 1866 the railway was carrying 4 million passengers and 8000,000 tons of freight [1].

At this period the construction of a Chord Line was already under consideration, several alternative routes had been surveyed and Government was being pressed to sanction the adoption of one of them. The great advantage of a Chord Line was that it would shorten the distance for carrying " through traffic" by nearly 100 miles and save the expense of the doubling the existing route circuitous route [4].

The Chord Line would have the effect of bringing the coalfields 200 miles nearer the centre of the Company's system, thus benefiting not only the Company but the public, and it would greatly shorten the distance between Calcutta and the North- West Provinces, the more material point being that it would place Allahabad, where the traffic of the North- West Provinces would diverge to the east or west, in a position that would go far to counterbalance the advantage which Bombay has been assumed to possess over Calcutta as a shipping port [5].


  • 1863; William St. John Galwey was appointed to take charge of a portion of the survey of the proposed Chord Line which was to shorten the distance between Calcutta and the North West Provinces.
  • 1865; Mr Galwey whilst in England was employed under Mr. Power, in preparing plans and estimates for the above mentioned First Chord Line, 228 miles in length. On these plans and estimates the contract was let to the Brassey, Wythes and Perry Partnership, and the work was commenced in 1866.
  • Construction on the line was slow and it was opened in 1871[1].

Further Information

See East Indian Railway page

and East Indian Railway - Lines owned and worked page, which includes details of the branches and extensions to this Main Line.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 “Symphony of Progress - The Saga of the Eastern Railway 1854-2003”; published by Eastern Railway, 2003; page 16-17
  2. “Administration Report on Railways 1918” page 53 (pdf62); Retrieved 9 Nov 2016
  3. “Symphony of Progress - The Saga of the Eastern Railway 1854-2003”; published by Eastern Railway, 2003; page 15
  4. "History of the East Indian Railway ..." by George Huddlestone, page 32-33, pdf page 53-54; Retrieved 12 Jun 2016
  5. "History of the East Indian Railway ..." by George Huddlestone, page 40, pdf page 63; Retrieved 12 Jun 2016