50 years of Rajdhani Express

The first journey was between Howrah and Delhi on 3 March 1969. After the Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani, several other Rajdhanis were started connecting the capital to several other cities. It has been 50 years since and Rajdhani continues to capture our imagination.

There are some interesting tributes to this landmark anniversary:

From HT which has fair bit of history:

In 1960, the Railway Board in India decided to undertake a study to achieve increased speed for its trains, says an Eastern Railway spokesperson. For the past 100 years the maximum speed on broad gauge in Indian Railways had been restricted to 96 km/hour. A target of 160 km/h for passenger traffic and 100 km/h for goods traffic with an intermediate stage of 120 km/h for passenger traffic was laid. Work started from 1962. And then, as a Hindustan Times report in 1969 states, “tests began in 1967… The diesel locomotives and coaches were tested under all conditions including heavy rains.”

Finally, on March 1, 1969, the Rajdhani Express, the country’s fastest train at the time with a speed of 120km/hr, was flagged off from New Delhi to reach Howrah the next morning. The first journey from Howrah was on March 3. “It was called the Rajdhani because it would connect the country to the capital, Delhi,” recalls senior Supreme Court lawyer Anoop Bose, whose late brother, Adhip, was among the passengers on the first train. Bose had gone to see off his brother, and remembers seeing then railways minister Ram Subhag Singh garlanding the train, before flagging it off. The Rajdhani covered the distance between Delhi and Howrah in approximately 17 hours, where earlier trains had taken at least 24 hours for the same.



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