Cossipore, Gun and Shell Factory Railway

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Cossipore, Gun and Shell Factory Railway


In 1801 a Gun Carriage Agency at Cossipore, later known as the 'Gun & Shell Factory' was established and production started from 18th March, 1802 for the production of field gun carriages. This is the first Industrial establishment of an 'Ordnance Factory' which has continued in existence until the present time. This work moved to Allahabad and by 1829 the function of the Cossipore factory changed to the production of guns. Brass and iron facilities were installed and by 1830 it was renamed the 'Gun Foundry Factory'. By 1857 the factory could produce 30 field guns a month. However from 1855 the Army had been taking delivery of breach loaded rifled barrelled guns. The 'Gun Foundry Factory' did not have the facilities to produce these and it was suggested the factory would close. The ammunition production had been transferred to Dum Dum, Calcutta prior to this date [1].

However the rifles being imported from England required elongated shells so it was decided that Cossipore should produce these. As there was no longer any gun production at Cossipore the name changed again to the 'Foundry and Shell Factory' in 1872. Production was further expanded to fuses and cartidges in 1887 and 1890. In 1892 the first steel was produced in India with a rolling mill added in 1896. These facilities were moved to Ishapore in 1903 due to lack of space at Cossipore. In 1890 a facility was opened for the repair of breech loading guns and in 1905 the manufacture of quick firing guns was undertaken with the name being changed yet again to the 4Gun and Shell Factory'. (The name it retains today, still in production making it one of the oldest industrial concerns in south Asia) [1].

Cossipore Factory Tramways and Railways

The records show the following uses of railways at this factory[1]:-

  • 1872 'Gun Foundry Factory'. A tramway of unknown use and gauge was in use (as reported in July 1873 when it was modified)
  • 1876 'Foundry and Shell Factory'. Rails and turntables were supplied - use and gauge unknown [1].
  • 1896 a 2ft/610mm narrow gauge(NG) locomotive supplied - use unknown
  • 1916 another 2ft/610mm NG locomotive delivered - use unknown


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 “Industrial Railways and Locomotives of India and South Asia” compiled by Simon Darvill. Published by ‘The Industrial Railway Society’ 2013. ISBN 978 1 901556 82-7. Available at Reference: Entry IA19 page ....