Oude Railway Company

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The Oude Railway Company was formed initially in 1856 as a joint stock company but was superseded by a company incorporated statutorily by the Oude Railway Act 1858. The Act wound-up the original company and reformed it as a body corporate whose purpose was to construct and work railways and telegraphs in the Oude territory. Preliminary negotiations with the East India Company centred on the proposal to build a main railway link between Cawnpore (today Kanpur) and Lucknow, with ancillary branch lines. [1]

The Oude Railway Company fell victim to parliamentary concern, voiced in 1861- 62, about railway companies relying on governmental assistance rather than seeking private investment. A move was made to prevent further guarantees being awarded and to halt existing guarantee arrangements. The Oude Railway Company was ordered to postpone its construction works and to repay, with interest, all outstanding loan moneys. The proposed line was later built by the Indian Branch Railway Company [1]


An on-line search of the India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this railway [2] gives several entries, the most relevant as follows: -

  • Z/E/4/29/O168 and R166; “Oude: Railway: Projects of two companies for introduction of, in”; 1857
  • Z/E/4/33/O91 and R138; “Railways, Question respecting introduction of, into Oude, communications respecting to Oude Railway Company's Directors
  • Z/E/4/33/R129; “ Railways, Cude Railway Company, communication to Directors, respecting introduction of Railways into Oude” 1858