East India Company - Early Proposals for Railways, 1845

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East India Company - Early Proposals for Railways, 1845

In May 1845 the East India Company(EIC) authorised the experiment of two sections of railway. Part of this agreement set up an engineering committee to oversee this, it consisted of Mr W. A Simms, Mr Millett and Mr Cameron [1]. Their initial remit was to determine the best lines so that a decision could be made.

They came to the conclusion on commercial grounds that best line would be from Calcutta to Mirzapore(Mirzapur) and then into the North-Western Provinces [2]. It was felt by the board that the line should go from “Calcutta to the seat of Supreme Government.” They estimated the cost as £5,000,000. The EIC Board wanted it to continue to Delhi [3].

The EIC Board had received various proposals from a number of companies that included:-

  • East Indian Railway Company, formed in 1845, “with the view of undertaking a Railway from Calcutta to Mizapore and Delhi with branches to Rajmakab, Patna, and other stations.”
  • Great Western Bengal Railway Company formed in 1845, “which contemplated a line from Calcutta to Rajmahal, and various other projects for the construction of railways within the Bengal Territories. Recently the East Indian and Great Western had amalgamated and were awarded the contract for the experimental lines” [4].

Therefore the final line would run from Calcutta to Delhi via Mirzapore(Mirzapur). Two sections were to be started and operated initially, being in total 150 miles at a cost of £3,000,000[5].

The committee was given oversite of the project and requested to work with the Railway company engineers to conclude a successful experiment [6].


  1. British Library IOR E/4/794 dispatch No26 13th October 1847 Page 49 paragraph 3
  2. ibid: Page 50 paragraph 4
  3. ibid: Page 51 paragraph 5
  4. ibid: Page 55 paragraph 12
  5. ibid: Page 57 paragraph 13
  6. ibid: Page 68 paragraph 17