The web of railway tracks crisscrossing the nation has rightly earned the description of being a ‘lifeline.’ Everyday, over 11,000 trains chug their way to nerve-centre cities and the remotest villages in the country. The fascinating history of Indian Railways has been encapsulated at an ongoing exhibition at the Central Railway Station at Thampanoor, commemorating 160 years of the organisation. Additional Divisional Rail Manager T. Kuppan inaugurated the exhibition on Tuesday morning.

Old photographs and snippets on landmark achievements of the national rail network has been arranged on the walls of the VIP lounge on platform one. Railways are now said to host 22 million passengers every day, which is more than the total population of Norway, Sweden and Denmark combined.

There is a reference to the ‘Golden Square,’ a network that connects New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata — a distance that is merely 16 per cent of the total network but carries nearly half the total number of passengers. Other impressive statistics include the 1.4 million strong workforce of the Indian Railway and the longest route, travelled by the Vivek Express which extends from Kanyakumari, right at the southern-most tip of the nation, to Dibrugarh in Arunachal Pradesh. This journey now takes 82 hours and 4,200 km between the two stations.

Stunning landscapes

The exhibition also shows the stunning landscapes through which the trains pass. The sheer range of scenes visible right outside the window is shown, including the mist-shrouded mountains plied by the Kalka-Shimla, Darjeeling-Himalaya railways, which have been declared as UNESCO heritage sites. Information on resources and production centres of rail components are also displayed.

Historical facts figure prominently among the 25 boards. There is a photograph of the first train journey in the country in April 16, 1853, from Bori Bandar (now, Mumbai) to Thane – that comprised 14 coaches and covered 34 km. However, all the display boards are in Malayalam and for the many tourists passing the train station, the information is lost.

The exhibition will continue till March 28.