Great Indian Peninsula Railway

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Great Indian Peninsula Railway
GIPR Bombay-Poona Mail.jpg
The Bombay-Poona Mail in full flight about 1910
Line of route
Bombay to Raichur (SE Division}
Bombay to Jubbulpore (NE Division))
Bhusawal to Delhi
Bhusawal to Nagpur
Gauge / mileage
Broad gauge 1562 miles (1905)
1845 Company formed
1853 First section of line open to traffic
1871 Through trains to Calcutta via Jubbulpore
Dhond-Manmad State Railway absorbed
1900 Line acquired by State
Key locations
Presidency Bombay
Stations Kalyan, Poona, Hotgi, Wadi, Ahmadnagar, Akola, Chanda, Khandwa, Itarsi, Narsinghpur
System agency
Worked by Great Indian Peninsula Railway
How to interpret this infobox
Great Indian Peninsula Railway
Great Indian Peninsula Railway.jpg
Great Indian Peninsula Railway device
System timeline
1900 Company re-formed to work State line
1925 Government takes over working of system
Constituent companies / lines
Great Indian Peninsula Railway
Agra-Delhi Chord Railway
Bhopal-Itarsi Railway
Bhopal-Ujjain Railway
Bina-Goona-Baran Railway
Gwalior Light Railway
1900 Indian Midland Railway
Key locations
Headquarters Bombay
Workshops Parel
Major Stations Agra, Ahmadnagar, Akola, Amraoti, Banda, Bhopal, Bhusawal, Cawnpore, Chanda, Delhi, Dholpur, Gwalior, Hotgi, Itarsi, Jhansi, Jubbulpore, Khandwa, Muttra, Nagpur, Narsinghpue, Poona, Raichur, Saugor, Wadi
Successor system / organisation
1951 Central Railway (IR zone)
System mileage
Broad gauge 2988 miles (1905)
3363 miles (1943)
2' 0" NG 183 miles (1905)
202 miles (1943)
Associated auxiliary force
Great Indian Peninsula Railway Regiment
How to interpret this infobox

Like most of the early railways in India, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) was a British company, registered in London, privately owned and financed, operating under licence and guarantee from the (British) Board of Control in India and the East India Company (EIC).


Formed in 1845, it was not until 1849 (at the urging of the then Governor, Lord Dalhousie) that the EIC sanctioned the GIPR to construct an experimental line, built to the broad gauge of 5' 6", eastward from Bombay. The first sod was turned on 31 October 1850 and the first locomotive was used in construction on 22 December 1851, but the first passenger train in India did not run until 16 April 1853, when a train, with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests, left Bombay bound for Thane, hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The 21 mile journey took an hour and fifteen minutes over the first section of the GIPR to be opened.

By 1859, GIPR was tasked with "the construction and working of the following lines, all of which terminate at Bombay, - viz. from Bombay, via Callian, to Jubbulpore, to meet the East Indian Railway Company's line from Allahabad, with branches to Mahim and Nagpore - 870 miles; and from Callian, via Poonah and Sholapore, to the opposite side of the river Kristna, to meet the line, via Bellary, from Madras - 366 miles - total, 1,236 miles. Capital 10,000,000ll. Rate of Interest Guaranteed - 5 per cent. on 8,000,000l. capital, and 4½ per cent. on 333,000l. debentures, the balance to be raised upon arrangements to be hereafter made."[1]

Map of GIPR in 1870

When, in 1871, the GIPR eventually reached Jubbulpore and linked to the East Indian Railway (EIR), it completed Dalhousie’s dream of a Bombay-Calcutta route.

On 30 June 1900, the assets of the GIPR were purchased by the GoI and merged with those of the Indian Midland Railway into a "new" GIPR, managed by the old company.

On 1 July 1925, the GoI took over direct control of the GIPR and transferred the Allahabad to Jubbulpore branch of the EIR to the GIPR.

In 1951, the GIPR combined with the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway, the Dholpur State Railway and the Scindia State Railway to become Central Railway, a zone of Indian Railways.

The principal economic benefit of the GIPR was the opening up of the interior to external trade. The two lines up the Western Ghats were fully open by 1865 in time for cotton from the Deccan to be exported from Bombay to Manchester thus filling the trade gap created by the American Civil War.


The Western Ghats

The narrow coastal plain of India's west side is separated from the Deccan plateau by a mountain range which rises 1200m (3,900 ft) and which has always restricted internal communication with the Arabian Sea.

Bhore Ghat Incline - between Kalyan and Poona

The GIPR south-eastern route towards Madras.

Incline length: 15 miles, tunnels: 26 (totalling 2.25 miles in length),and 8 viaducts of masonry construction.

Civil Engineers included:

GIPR Chief Engineer 1849 - 1862: James James Berkley (surveyor and route designer).

Consultant engineer 1847 - 1867: Arthur Anderson West (surveyor of the Bhore Gate Incline).[2]

GIPR Engineers: Messrs Adamson and Clowser, replaced by Messrs West and Tate in November 1859.

Construction Contractors

The contract was awarded (autumn 1855) to William Frederick Faviell and work begun at Bhore Ghat on 24 January 1856. In March 1859, Faviell gave up his contract; for a short time, two GIPR engineers, Swainson Adamson and George Louis Clowser, carried on the work.

The GIPR construction contract was relet in November 1859 to Solomon Tredwell who died within fifteen days of landing in India. His wife, Alice Tredwell, assumed the contract and appointed Messrs Adamson and Clowser to manage the contract for her in her absence, as Mrs Tredwell returned to England. This arrangement was to last seven years.

“These gentlemen (Adamson and Clowser) carried on the work with the greatest zeal and ability.” Labour management could limit construction progress, but “by their good and liberal management (Adamson and Clowser) collected and kept on the work a force of 25,000 men during two seasons, and in 1861 of more than 42,000 men.”[3]

Thul Ghat incline - between Kalyan and Nasik

The GIPR north-eastern route towards the Gangetic plain.


Bombay's Victoria Terminus was both the principal station and GIPR's HQ; designed by architect Frederick William Stevens, it opened on Queen Victoria's 1887 Golden Jubilee.


The following are held in the India Office Records at the British Library.

  • L/AG/46/12/86 : GIPR Lists of appointments (officers 1849-1885; workmen 1852-1880)
  • L/AG/46/12/88 : GIPR Contracts of employment (officers 1886-1925; workmen 1881-1925)
  • Z/L/AG/46 : Index to UK Appointments to Indian Railways (1849-1925)
  • Mss Eur D1184/14 : Letters to Arthur A West from G L Clowser Nov 1860-Nov 1861 British Library, Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections


  1. "Money Market and City Intelligence", The Times, Wednesday, 15 June 1859, #23333, 7a.
  2. "Obituary of Arthur Anderson West MICE" p 363
  3. Railways Thana District Gazetteer

External Links

Railwaymappic.jpg See our interactive map of
the North East Division
locations and routes on Google Maps