Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway

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Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway
Churchgate Terminus & Offices, BBCIR, Bombay
Line of route
Bombay to Viramgam
Gauge / mileage
Broad gauge 504 miles (1905)
1855 Formed as Guaranteed company
1905 Line acquired by State
Key locations
Presidency Bombay
Stations Ahmedabad, Baroda, Broach, Surat
System agency
1906 Worked by reformed BBCIR
How to interpret this infobox
Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway
Bombay Baroda Central India Railway logo.jpg
Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway device
System timeline
1906 BBCIR contracted to work State line
1942 Working of system taken over by State
Constituent companies / lines
Ahmedabad-Dholka Railway
Ahmedabad-Parantij Railway
Gaekwar's Dabhoi Railway
Gaekwar's Mehsana Railway
Godhra-Rutlam-Nagda Railway
Nagda-Ujjain Railway
Palanpur-Deesa Railway
Petlad-Cambay Railway
Rajpipla Railway
Rajputana-Malwa Railway
Tapti Valley Railway
Vijapur-Kalol-Kadi Railway
Key locations
Headquarters Bombay (BG), Ajmer (MG)
Workshops Parel (BG), Ajmer (MG)
Major Stations Agra, Ajmer, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Cawnpore, Delhi, Indore, Jaipur, Rutlam, Surat
Successor system / organisation
1951 Western Railway (IR zone)
System mileage
Broad gauge 868 miles (1905)
1233 miles (1943)
Metre gauge 2022 miles (1905)
1985 miles (1943)
2'6" NG 132 miles (1905)
152 miles (1943)
Associated auxiliary force
Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Regiment
How to interpret this infobox
Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Map 1909 – north/east section
Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Map 1909 – south/west section

The Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company (BB&CIR) was incorporated in 1855 for "the construction and working of a line from Bombay, via Surat and Baroda, to Ahmedabad - total about 320 miles. Capital 2,300,000l. Rate of Interest Guaranteed - 5 per cent on 2,000,000l. capital and 4½ per cent . on 300,000l. debentures." [1]


In 1852 John Pitt Kennedy was introduced in London to Lieutenant-Colonel French, who had been Acting Resident at the Court of the Guicowar of Baroda. Colonel French wanted to get up a company to construct a line of railway from Baroda to Tankaria Bunda, in the gulf of Cambay, a distance of about 45 miles. Colonel Kennedy joined him, but instead of the original line proposed, they projected what became the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India railway [2].

Their object was to open the most effectual line from Bombay, through the central and north-western districts, to meet the railway in progress of construction from Calcutta to Delhi, together with all the branches that such a line could require. In 1853 the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company(BB&CIR) was formed with Colonel John Pitt Kennedy appointed as consulting engineer and managing director. A staff of engineers was sent to Bombay, and during the cold season of 1853, comparative surveys, sufficient to lay a well-considered scheme before the Government, were made [2].

On the 3rd of November, 1854, the Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, sanctioned the construction of the sections Broach, and Baroda, to Ahmedabad, leaving the remainder of the scheme for future decision, and the work to be commenced at Bombay. The Home Government, however, decided that the work should be commenced at Surat [2]. Although on flat country, this. line had to traverse some of the mightiest rivers and water channels in the country including the Narmada River near Baruch.

Construction commenced in 1855 and began work on track from Baroda to Surat. By 1865, the Bombay-Surat-Baroda-Ahmedabad route was complete; in 1867, the Virar -Bombay Backbay suburban service commenced with one train in each direction each day. In 1871, trackage was 300 miles (480km).

William Sinclair Smith Bisset, Railway Branch - PWD, was Agent 1885-94

On 31 December 1905, ownership of the BB&CIR passed to the Government of India GoI and a new company formed to manage the BB&CIR under a contract agreed in 1907 and revised in 1913. [3] [4]

Management of the BB&CIR passed to the GoI on 1 January 1942.

In 1951, the BB&CIR (less the Delhi-Rewari-Fazilka and Kanpur-Achnera sections) merged with the Saurashtra, Jaipur State, Jodhpur (Marwar-Phulad section), Rajasthan and Cutch State railways to become the Western Railway, a zone of Indian Railways.

BB&CIR Main line, Branches and Extensions

The BB&CIR owned and operated an extensive network of railways of mixed gauge

  • Broad gauge(BG) - 868 miles/1397km (1905); 997 miles/1604km (1918); 1233 miles/1984km (1943)
  • Metre gauge(MG) - 2022 miles/3254km (1905); 1822 miles/2931km (1918); 1985/3195km miles (1943)
  • Narrow gauge 2ft 6in(NG) - 132 miles/212km (1905); 326 miles/523km (1918); 152 miles/245km (1943)

In 1918 the total length of line being worked as the BB&CIR system (both owned lines and managed/worked lines) was 3823 miles(6150km) opened plus a further 254 miles(407km) under construction or sanctioned for construction [5] .

See separate page Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway Network - Lines owned and worked for details.

Lines worked by BB&CIR

The BB&CIR also managed, worked and maintained a number of mixed gauge lines on behalf of other parties.

  • Broad gauge(BG) - 1918 Total 202 miles(325km) [5].
  • Metre gauge(MG) - 1918 Total 456 miles(733km) [5].
  • Narrow gauge 2ft 6in(NG) - 1918 Total 326 miles(523km) [5].

See separate page Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway Network - Lines owned and worked for details.


Refer to FIBIS Fact File #4: “Research sources for Indian Railways, 1845-1947” - available from the Fibis shop. This Fact File contains invaluable advice on 'Researching ancestors in the UK records of Indian Railways' with particular reference to the India Office Records (IOR) held at the British Library

An on-line search of the IOR records relating to this railway [6] gives a large number of references. The most important being:-

  • L /AG/46/6 “Records of the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company; 1856-1947”

Personnel Records

Unfortunately, there are no BB&CIR staff records held in the India Office Records at the British Library.

The only records that have been found :-

  • E Sydney Luard was the Chief Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Superintendent for BB&CIR, Bombay Control of Locomotive and Carriage Department, BB○ redesigned and rebuilt those workshops; redesigned the rolling stock [7]. In 1892 represented BB&CIR at the Indian Railway Conference Association, Lahore. 'Locomotive Superintendents Conference' [8].
  • James Robert Tickell was posted from State Railways to BB&CIR , from 1885 on loan as Assistant Engineer; Executive Engineer, 1893 and still in post 1905 [9].
  • Frederick James Page,1909, BB&CIR, Assistant Locomotive Superintendent. He held various responsible positions with BB&CIR for nearly twenty-five years, and was concerned with the electrification of the Bombay suburban lines [10].
  • William Ernest Napper, Executive Engineer BB&CIR 1920-38 see biography



  • Grant Road
  • Marine Lines
  • Church Gate
  • Kolaba

Historical books online

Bombay Baroda Central India Railway Company 1921 Pdf download, Digital Library of India, version.