When railways measured the weight of your luggage as you do in airports today…

Yogesh Kabirdoss of ToI has a nice piece from history. He points how weighing scale mattered much in rail journeys earlier:

In the pre-independence period, it was an essential part of rail travel, but decades later its importance, use and history have to be ferreted out of archives and dusty journals on railways. Displayed in full public view at the Saidapet railway station, the weighing scale of yore, which made people choose between a suitcase full of clothes and a bag of utensils, is now just a slab of iron attached to a curious looking pole.

While the weighing scale lies forgotten almost becoming part of the platform like its multiple pillars and benches, serving as a resting place for tired feet, only a discerning eye can probably find the engraving `H Pooley & Son, Liverpool & London’.

The firm introduced railway weighbridges in 1835. History enthusiast K R A Narasiah says weighing machines were manufactured by the UK firm for South Indian Railway.  “Every suburban station in Chennai had a weighing machine pro cured from Liverpool and London during the British regime. It was meant to weigh goods, and passengers carrying excess luggage were made to pay up,” he said. 

The machines acted as a deterrent for carrying heavy goods by train. “With trains being the quickest mode of transport in those days, people from villages around Chennai had the tendency to take maximum belongings. Weighing machines helped to keep a check,” he said. It is not known when the scale on the Chennai BeachTambaram section was installed.

 However, weighing machines started losing relevance over the years. “In the past, rice and grains used to be transported by (suburban) trains, but this practice has gradually reduced, minimising the necessity of weighing machines,” Narasiah said.
Hmm…Nice bit..

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