Photospeak | Chugging on with time

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As the Indian Railways turns 163 years old today, we look back at its phenomenal milestones and rare moments from The Hindu's photo vault

A passenger train travelling from Bombay to Tannah, 1855.

On April 16, 1853, the Indian Railways began as a private enterprise — or rather, a set of splintered enterprises at different ends of the country — to serve the commerical interests of the British Empire, either for transporting their troops for war or cotton for trade.

Prior to 1850, there was not even a single railway network in the subcontinent. Fast forward to 2016, and the Indian Railways boasts of being the fourth largest network in the world (115,000-plus kms), catering to more than 13 million people per day and has nearly 1.5 million employees (making it the seventh largest employer across the world, according to Forbes).

Here's a neat animation created by a Twitter user that shows the track expansion till 1956:





And this is it's story in brief:

(Timeline compiled by Sidhartha Roy)

And before you leave, check out some very rare photos from The Hindu's archives that showcase the tales every railway station in India bore witness to:



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