|Locale||Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh|
|Dates of operation||2002–|
|Predecessor||Eastern Railway zone|
|Track gauge||Broad gauge|
|Website||ECR official website|
The East Central Railway (abbreviated ECR) is one of the 18 railway zones in India. It is headquartered at Hajipur and comprises Sonpur, Samastipur, Danapur, Mughalsarai, and Dhanbad divisions.
First set up on 8 September 1996 with headquarters at Hajipur, Bihar, East Central Railway became operational on 1stOctober 2002 by carving out areas from Eastern and North Eastern Railway zones currently consists of the divisions viz. Dhanbad, Danapur, Mughalsarai of Eastern Railway and Sonpur and Samastipur of North Eastern Railway. The last 13 years of its existence has been full of challenges and every obstacle was dealt in a dedicated manner despite constraints of work force and infrastructure. ECR, has a vast network of 5402.693 track kilometers and 3707.988 route kilometers encompassing the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Out of 3707.988 Route km, 1572.202 km have been electrified. ECR has been lifeline for the people in its expanse and is playing a pivotal role in rapid development of the area. The development of infrastructure has been the major thrust area to bring about a rapid growth rate in the region and prosperity to the people. In the field of construction of new lines, doubling, gauge conversion, construction of bridges/road-over bridges, new workshop projects, Other than this qualitative and perceptible improvement in safety, cleanliness, catering, passenger amenities have been achieved to a large extent. ECR is unique in the sense that both Goods loading and Passenger traffic assume great importance in view of the huge coal loading in the coal bearing of Dhanbad division of Jharkhand state and densely populated area of Bihar. The rapid growth in both the sectors has necessitated strengthening of infrastructure of Railways. Further ECR also has uniqueness of acting as a gateway to Nepal with International traffic catering to the movement of export traffic and passengers to Nepal and vice versa.
This Railway has carried 2159.08 lakh passengers in the year up to January 2015. With the running of regular express trains and passenger trains per day, besides special trains during the period April 2014 to January 2015, better traffic facilities has provided to passengers. With the increase of 5.78%, East Central Railway has registered a significant increase under gross earnings by 9774.21 crore as compared to the corresponding month of last year i.e. 9240.17 crore.
Samastipur Workshop was established in the year 1881 for overhauling of Steam locomotives, POH of coaches and wagons. It was remodelled in 1962 for manufacture of MG wagons. In 1993, manufacturing of BOXN wagons started @1 wagon per month, in addition to the existing activity of wagon POH. POH activity of MG wagons was discontinues in June 1996 and since then this workshop is primarily engaged in production of BOXN wagons. The manufacturing of BOXNHS wagons started in June 2002. At present, the workshop is engaged in manufacturing of Stainless Steel BOXNHL wagons.
ECR had no carriage repair workshop and was totally dependent on ER and NER. In order to be self-reliant and improve efficiency, workshop for overhauling of 50 coaches per month has been set up at Harnaut on Bakhtiyarpur-Rajgir section of Danapur division of East Central Railway. The workshop is spread over 75 acres of land and there is scope for future expansion. The workshop was taken over by ECR on 15 June 2012, and since then it has carried out POH of 367 Non-AC ICF coaches. Its present outturn is 25 coaches per month. The workshop is expected to reach its installed capacity in 2015–16 and in future there is plan to repair air-conditioned coaches as well.
At present there a rail link to connect North and South Bihar near Patna. In the entire east to west stretch of about 445 km of river Ganga in Bihar, there is a rail-cum road bridge at Varanasi and then the downstream if we go the nearest Rail link across river Ganga is available at Sonepur-Patliputra Rail cum road bridge, at Mokama (Rajendra Bridge) which is 318 km from Varanasi. The Mokama rail link is already saturated and has become a major bottleneck for increasing the number of trains between North and South Bihar. This has been a great hindrance in the industrialization of North Bihar and Nepal, which have become the important trade centre for consumable goods. Construction of Rail-cum-Road Bridge will remove the bottle-neck and both parts of Bihar will be connected by more number of trains. Trade centers of North Bihar will also be connected with the rest part of Bihar. Power houses at Barauni and Kanti who are under going expansion in North Bihar shall also be benefitted due to lessened congestion. Hence this Rail cum Road bridge shall act as a lifeline for Bihar. The work of Ganga Rail Bridge at Patna was included in 1997–98 when the proposal was only for the Rail bridge but in 2006–07 the scope was increased to Rail cum Road Bridge. It is the longest Rail cum Road bridge. The dilapidated condition of the only road bridge connecting North and South Bihar in Patna (Mahatma Gandhi Setu), warrants for immediate arrangement of alternate road bridge. Understanding the problem, in the year 2005, in September 2006 scope of the project was enlarged and Rail bridge was converted into Rail cum Road bridge. The bridge will be 2nd longest Rail-cum-Road Bridge in India with total length of 4556m. The bridge consists of 38 spans. The proposed Road of the bridge is connecting NH-31 of North Bihar to NH-80 of South Bihar. Gladly, work on all the 38 Spans of this mega structure has been completed by December 2014. The construction of bridge has been completed by 2016 end. And it was inaugurated by the Honourable Prime Minister of India in March 2016.
No road bridge across River Ganges is available between Mokama and Bhagalpur for a distance of about 206 km. The only rail link available across river Ganga in Bihar is Rajendra Bridge at Mokama. Similar is the situation for Road Bridge also. Rail-cum-Road Bridge at Munger has a revised cost of Rs. 2363 crore, in which Rs. 1116 crore share with State Government and Rs. 1247 crore share with Railway. Rail link of the bridge is connecting Jamalpur station of Sahebganj loop (Maldah Division) of Eastern Railway to Sahibpur Kamal station (Barauni-Katihar section) of East Central Railway. The bridge is 3190 m long. All the 31 spans of this bridge have been completed by December 2014. It is hopes that the construction of the complete bridge will be completed by 2015–16.
In the year 1887, a meter gauge rail link between Nirmali and Bhaptiahi (Saraigarh) to Pratapganj up to river Kosi was provided by the Bengal North West Railway. Due to severe Ino-Nepal earthquake in 1934 this rail link along with Raharia railway station washed away in heavy flood owing to meandering nature of river Kosi, no attempt was made to restore this link for a long period. The Kosi Rail Bridge project included in the budget in the year 2003–04 at an estimated cost of Rs. 323 Crore. After the construction of Kosi Rail Bridge, the distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh (Bhaptiahi) will get reduced to 20.5 km from present 299 km. It will provide an alternative BG route of length 610 km between Gorakhpur and Katihar via Darbhanga against the existing route of 505 km via Chapra and Barauni, which at present is a highly saturated corridor. This project gained exceptional significance as Silchar to Porbandar East West Corridor from Muzaffarpur to Purnia (NH 57) of NHAI shares the same location for crossing the river. The bridge is 1780m long with 39 spans.
This bridge was constructed during the year 1898. Due to introduction of clause of MBG-1987 loading, the existing bridge became the major constraint and necessitated the construction of a new alternate bridge. Traffic on this route will increase considerably when the third line between Dehri-On-Sone and Mughalsarai will become operational. The New Sone Bridge between Dehri-on-Sone and Sonenagar which has been successfully commissioned on 16 August 2014, will prove a great help in this regard.
A new second bridge on river Gandak has been opened (5.5 km) between Sonpur and Hajipur for double line traffic for this section.