India observes Railway Week in the second week of April, to commemorate the running of the first train on the country's soil, from Boribunder to Thane on April 16, 1853.

Commemorating the 55{+t}{+h} Railway Week, a philatelic exhibition on wheels chugged into the Ernakulam Junction railway station on Monday.

It was thrown open to members of the public to look back at the efforts of Railway employees to maintain the vast rail network. It was inaugurated by George John, the Ernakulam Area Manager of Southern Railway.

To recognise their efforts, efficiency shields and individual/group awards are given to staff, supervisors and officers during the week.

The week provides them an opportunity to assess their past performance and rededicate themselves to the service of the country.

A special cover was released in connection with the celebrations.

The six-day philatelic tour showcases the history, growth and heritage of the Railways. They portray crucial phases in railway development like the development of railroad, horse-drawn carriages, birth of the steam locomotive, metro trains, monorails, super-speed trains, stations, signals, bridges, tracks, tunnels, mountain highways, railway ferries, mail trains, railway mail service and railway centenaries.

A highlight of the exhibition is a rare and unique collection of stamps and cancellation covers by Mohammed Mujibullah, a philatelist and also heritage assistant with the Eastern Railway. He began collecting stamps right from the age of 12. He has participated in many national and international philately exhibitions. Mr Mujibullah's interest in the Railways prompted him to build a treasure house of stamps on the growth and development of the Indian Railways.

He designed many special covers and also wrote two books – Stamps of Indian Railways Volume I and II.

Having won global recognition, he is a recipient of the gold medal of the American Tropical Association for his exhibits on the Railways.

The three-coach philately train has covered prominent cities in the six divisions of the Southern Railway.

From Kochi, the train will reach Kozhikode on Tuesday and from there proceed to Coimbatore on Wednesday.

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