Kolkata Suburban Railway
Local train at B.B.D. Bag railway station heading towards Majerhat railway station
OwnerIndian Railways
Area servedKolkata Metropolitan Area, North 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogly, Nadia, Murshidabad, Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Purba Bardhaman, South 24 Parganas
LocaleKolkata, West Bengal, India
Transit typeSuburban and Regional rail
Number of linesEastern line: 14
South Eastern line: 4
Circular line: 1
South lines: 4
Chord link line: 1
Number of stations
Daily ridership3.5 million (2017–18)
Annual ridership1.2 billion
Chief executive
  • Suneet Sharma GM (ER)
  • Sanjay Mohanty GM (SER)
HeadquartersHowrah (For SER & ER) &
Sealdah (For ER)
WebsiteSouth Eastern Railway
Eastern Railway
Began operation15 August 1854
Rolling stockJessop, BHEL, MEDHA, Bombardier
Number of vehicles200+
Train length9 or 12 coaches
System length1,501 km (933 mi)
Track gauge1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead catenary
Average speed45 km/h (28 mph)
Top speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Railway map of Kolkata

The Kolkata Suburban Railway (colloquially called Kolkata local trains or simply locals locally) is a set of suburban and regional rail services serving the Kolkata metropolitan area and its surroundings in India. It is the largest suburban railway network in the country by number of stations and track length, and also one of the largest in the world. There are five main lines and nineteen branch lines. It operates more than 1,500 services, carrying 3.5 million people daily and 1.2 billion people every year. It runs from 03:00 am until 02:00 am and fares range from Rs.5 to Rs.25. The system uses 25 kV 50 Hz AC power supply and runs on 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge track. It has interchange stations with the Kolkata Metro at various locations.

The Kolkata Suburban Railway is part of the second passenger railway constructed in British India during the mid 19th century. The first train ran between Howrah and Hooghly stations. A hundred years after the initial run, Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) services began. It has 458 stations and a track length of 1,501 km (933 mi).

The system is operated by two zones of Indian Railways; Eastern Railway zone and South Eastern Railway zone. These zones are further divided into the Howrah and Sealdah divisions for the Eastern Railway and the Kharagpur division for the South Eastern Railway. Howrah, Sealdah and Kolkata railway stations are the three major terminals serving the network in the city. Shalimar and Santragachi are also the termini stations for mail/express trains as well as passenger/fast passenger trains.


See also: East Indian Railway Company, Bengal Nagpur Railway, and Eastern Bengal Railway

The first train of the East Indian Railway, 1854

The Kolkata Suburban Railway is an offshoot of the second passenger railway to be built by the British in India.[1] The first train ran between Howrah and Hooghly stations on 15 August 1854 and was operated by the East Indian Railway (EIR). Regular services on the 38.6 km (24.0 mi) line were introduced on the same day, with stops at Bally, Serampore and Chandannagore stations.[2] The broad gauge Sheoraphuli–Tarakeswar branch line was opened by the Tarkessur Railway Company on 1 January 1885.

In 1951, all the railway companies, zone and divisions were integrated and recategorized. This led to the formation of the Eastern Railway (ER) and South Eastern Railway (SER) zones. These zones of Indian Railways currently operate the Kolkata Suburban Railway.[3]

Eastern Railway zone

Main article: Eastern Railway zone

The Eastern Railway zone was formed on 14 April, 1952, by the amalgamation of the East Indian Railway Company and the entire Bengal – Nagpur Railway (later it formed the SER). It has four divisions; Howrah and Sealdah divisions operate the system. The Sealdah division was part of the Eastern Bengal Railway before the recategorisation.[4][5] Howrah division is the oldest in the ER zone.[6]

On 1 February, 1957, the EMU services were introduced on the Howrah – Bandel section of the Howrah division. In 1963, services were gradually extended to Barddhaman and on the Sealdah Division of Eastern Railway were introduced on the Sealdah – Ranaghat route.[7][8] In 1968, the Howrah – Barddhaman main and chord line was totally converted to 25 kV 50 Hz AC power supply from a 3000 V DC power supply.[9][10] Howrah–Sheoraphuli–Tarakeswar line was electrified in 1957–58.

South Eastern Railway zone

Main article: South Eastern Railway zone

The Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) Company was incorporated in 1887 to take over from the Nagpur Chhattisgarh Railway (NCR) and to convert the line to broad gauge. The work was completed in 1888. The extension of the main line from Nagpur to Asansol was completed by 1891. Later, it formed the Eastern Railway zone. On 1 August, 1955, the former Bengal Nagpur Railway portion was separated and a new zone, the South Eastern Railway (SER), came into existence.[11] The SER comprises four divisions, and Kharagpur is the only division to operate the suburban railway.[3]

In the SER zone, EMU service made its maiden run on 1 May, 1968 between Howrah – Mecheda of the Kharagpur division, and on 1 February, 1969, EMU services were extended to Kharagpur. Gradually the services were extended to eight other lines by 2003.[8][12] The system under this zone was completely electrified by 1968.[9][10]


Main article: List of Kolkata Suburban Railway stations

Kolkata is the smallest of India's six A-1 cities in terms of area.[13] However, the Kolkata Suburban Railway is the largest suburban railway network in India by track length and number of stations.[14] The overall track length is 1,501 km (933 mi) and has 458 stations.[15] The system is operated by two zonal divisions (under Indian Railways), Eastern Railways (ER) and South Eastern Railways (SER). The fast commuter rail corridors on Eastern Railway as well as South Eastern Railway are shared with long-distance and freight trains, while inner suburban services operate on exclusive parallel tracks. SER operates the South Eastern Line and ER operates the Eastern Line, Circular Line, Chord link Line as well as the Sealdah South lines.[16][17][18][19][20][21]

Junction stations are marked in bold

Zone Major terminal Line First run Stations
(with interchange)
Length Corridors Terminals
South Eastern Railway Howrah South Eastern line 19 April 1900 87 (5) 341 km Main line Howrah Midnapore
West branch line Shalimar Amta
Southeast branch line Panskura Haldia
South branch line Tamluk Digha
Eastern Railway Eastern line 15 August 1854 266 (23) 906 km Main line Howrah Barddhaman
Chord line Howrah Barddhaman
West Elevated branch line Seoraphuli Tarakeswar
Far West Elevated branch line Tarakeswar Bishnupur
North branch line Bandel Katwa
North East branch line Barddhaman Katwa
Belur Math branch line Howrah Belur Math
Sealdah Main line Sealdah Gede
Northern branch line 1 Ranaghat Krishnanagar
Northern branch line 2 Kalinarayanpur Shantipur
Mid East branch line Ranaghat Bangaon
Mid North East branch line Dum Dum Bangaon
East branch line Barasat Hasnabad
Hooghly branch line Naihati Bandel
Kalyani branch line Kalyani Kalyani Simanta
Far North branch line Krishnanagar Lalgola
Sealdah South lines 2 January 1862 70 (9) 190 km Main line Sealdah Namkhana
Budge Budge branch line Ballygunge Budge Budge
Canning branch line Sonarpur Canning
Diamond Harbour branch line Baruipur Diamond Harbour
Chord link line 1865 15 (8) 22 km Main line Sealdah Dankuni
Branch line Dankuni Andul
Kolkata Kolkata Circular Railway 16 August 1984 20 (8) 42 km Circular Line Dum Dum Majerhat
Total 458 (53) 1,501 km (933 mi)


South Eastern line

Main article: South Eastern line (Kolkata Suburban Railway)

Kharagpur Junction railway station
A Howrah bound BEML made 3000 series EMU train

The South Eastern line in Kolkata consists of three major corridors, which divide into two branches as they run into the suburban satellite towns. Two corridors—one local and the other through—follow the South Eastern Railway and run from Howrah Junction to Midnapore, a distance of 128 km (80 mi). The mainline bifurcates (splits) into two branch lines—the Panskura–Haldia line at Panskura Junction 69 km (43 mi) to the south-east—and the Santragachi–Amta line at Santragachi Junction 45 km (28 mi) to the north. These corridors constitute the 'main' South Eastern line. The South Eastern line also includes two branch lines, 5 km (3.1 mi) and 94 km (58 mi), connecting Santragachi with Shalimar and Tamluk to Digha, respectively.[20]

The South Eastern line has one interchange station with the Eastern Line at Howrah Junction. Rolling stock consists of a fleet of AC as well as dual-powered AC/DC EMUs. The major car sheds on this line are at Tikiapara and Panskura.[22][23]

On 6 September 2009, then Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee announced the introduction of Ladies Special local trains, namely Matribhumi (i.e. motherland), in the Kolkata suburban section. The first local Matribhumi Special local ran from Howrah to Kharagpur.[24][25]

Eastern line

Main article: Eastern line (Kolkata Suburban Railway)

Sealdah railway station (main)

The Eastern line in Kolkata, the largest network of the Kolkata Suburban Railway, consists of two divisions—Howrah and Sealdah divisions (named after their respective terminals)—which serve both sides of the Hooghly River.

In the Howrah division of the Eastern line, there are five corridors, which also bifurcates and runs into the northwestern suburbs. The first two corridors are the 107 km (66 mi) Howrah–Bardhaman main line and the 94 km (58 mi) chord line. On these two corridors, the Howrah–Tarakeswar branch line bifurcates at Seoraphuli Junction and terminates at Tarakeswar with a length of 39 km (24 mi) crossing over the chord line at Kamarkundu. Kamarkundu now this line has been extended to Goghat from Tarakeswar as Tarakeswar - Bishnupur branch, under Tarakeswar - Bishnupur rail project. The Bandel–Katwa line bifurcates at Bandel Jn with a length of 105 km (65 mi); the Bardhaman–Katwa branch line bifurcates at Bardhaman Jn with a length of 53 km (33 mi).[19]

Howrah railway station (Terminal 2)

On the other side of the river, the Sealdah division of the Eastern line has seven corridors, splitting into branch lines to serve the northeastern suburbs. The Sealdah–Gede line, considered to be mainline, terminates in Gede, a small town on the India–Bangladesh Border with a length of 116 km (72 mi). On this corridor, the first branch line bifurcates from Dum Dum Junction terminating at Bangaon Junction with a length of 70 km (43 mi). The second branch line bifurcates at Ranaghat Junction terminating at Bangaon Junction with a length of 33 km (21 mi). The third branch line bifurcates at Ranaghat Junction terminating at Krishnanagar City Junction passing through Kalinarayanpur Junction and Shantipur with a length of 35 km (22 mi) or by bypassing Shantipur, passing only through Kalinarayanpur with a length of 26 km (16 mi). And also there is an extension of the third branch line which starts from Krishnanagar City Junction to Lalgola with a line length of 127 km (79 mi). The fourth branch line bifurcates at Kalyani Junction terminating at Kalyani Simanta with a line length of 5 km (3.1 mi). The fifth branch line bifurcates at Barasat Junction terminating at Hasnabad with a line length of 53 km (33 mi). The Eastern line also includes a connection from Bandel Junction to Naihati Junction with a length of 8 km (5.0 mi) which is an important link between the Howrah and Sealdah divisions.[18]

The major car sheds (depots) on this line are at Howrah Jn and Bandel on the Howrah division and at Narkeldanga, Barasat and Ranaghat in the Sealdah division.[26]

Sealdah division's first Matribhumi local started in October 2018; it was the first all-women passenger train in Indian Railway history. It had female motormen, guards, and security personnel.[27][28] On 24 August 2015, train services were halted between the Barasat and Bangaon line after a protest by a group of passengers obstructed movement of the trains. They demanded that male passengers be allowed to travel on the Matribhumi ladies special trains. This occurred when Eastern Railway withdrew the decision to allow male passengers to travel on Matribhumi local.[29]

Circular Railway

BBD Bag railway station
Bagbazar railway station and Mayer Ghat on the banks of Hooghly river

Main article: Kolkata Circular Railway

The Circular Railway corridor encircles the inner city neighbourhoods of Kolkata. At a length of 42 km (26 mi) with 20 stations, this line is under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway's Sealdah Division. From Dum Dum Junction to Tala, the line is double-tracked, while from Tala to Majerhat, the line is single-tracked. Running by the side of the Hooghly River from Tala to Majerhat, it joins and runs parallel to the Sealdah South tracks after Majerhat and elevates at Park Circus in order to bypass Sealdah (which is a terminal station). After bypassing Sealdah, it rejoins the mainline at Bidhannagar Road and again terminating at Dum Dum Jn. The line is also known as Chakra Rail.[18]

The circular line is a point of interest for tourists. As it runs under Howrah Bridge, Vidyasagar Setu and runs parallel to the Hooghly River, connecting multiple tourist places and ghats it provides access to a scenic view for daily commuters and visitors.[30][31]

Sealdah South lines

Main article: Sealdah South lines

Ballygunge junction, where the Sealdah South lines diverge

The Sealdah South line is an important link to Sundarbans in West Bengal from Kolkata. It is also part of the Eastern Railway. This line has four corridors, and bifurcates as branch lines linking the southern suburbs to Kolkata. The main line starts at Sealdah terminating at Namkhana railway station with a length of 110 km (68 mi). The main line is double-tracked until Lakshmikantapur railway station and single-tracked from Lakshmikantapur to Namkhana. The first branch line of this corridor starts at Ballygunge Junction terminating at Budge Budge railway station with a length of 19 km (12 mi). A second branch line starts at Sonarpur Junction terminating at Canning with a length of 29 km (18 mi). The third branch line starts at Baruipur Junction railway station terminating at Diamond Harbour railway station with the length of 35 km (22 mi). This line has a sole depot at Sonarpur.[18][26]

Jadavpur railway station of Sealdah South line

This line has three interchange stations, at Majerhat and Park Circus with Circular Railway and at Sealdah for Eastern line.

Chord link line

Main article: Chord link line (Kolkata Suburban Railway)

Bally Bridge over River Hooghly, Chord link line

The Chord link line connects Sealdah to Dankuni Junction on the Howrah–Barddhaman Chord. This line plays an important role in connecting the Sealdah Division's mainline with the Howrah–Bardhaman chord, which is primarily used by freight and passenger trains heading towards North India(The Howrah–Bardhaman chord is part of the Howrah–Delhi mainline and the Grand Chord). The Chord link crosses the Hooghly River on the Vivekananda Setu road-rail bridge.[18]

This corridor has a famous tourist spot, the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, where Ramakrishna Paramhansa served as a priest. It also includes the road-cum-rail bridge, Vivekananda Setu, also known as the Bally Bridge.[32][33]

It has three interchange stations. Interchange is possible at Dum Dum Junction for the Eastern line (Sealdah–Gede mainline), at Dankuni Junction for the Eastern line (Howrah–Barddhaman Chord) and at Bally Halt (lying above Bally station) for the Eastern Line (Howrah–Barddhaman mainline). The extension of the Kolkata Metro Line 1 runs parallel to this line, and will have interchange facilities at Dum Dum, Baranagar and Dakshineswhar stations.[18][34]


A new line is under construction between Amta and Bagnan with a length of 16 km (9.9 mi) under the jurisdiction of the South Eastern Railway sanctioned in 2010–11. Another new line is in progress between the Dakshinbari and Tarakeswar with joint work by the ER and SER.[35]

On the southern part of the Eastern Railways side, there is an expansion of the line between Canning and Jharkhali with a length of 42 km (26 mi). The second expansion is at Kakdwip railway station and Budhakhali with a length of 5 km (3.1 mi). It extends to Sagar Island on the Hooghly River delta.[36] The island can only be reached by boat; expansion of this line is a boon for the people of island providing better connectivity. The third expansion is at Namkhana and Bakkhali with a length of 31 km (19 mi), and a fourth expansion between Kulpi railway station and Bahrarat with a length of 38 km (24 mi).[37]


The following is a list of the basic demographic data for the Kolkata urban district (Kolkata) and the Kolkata sub-urban districts (Uttar 24 Parganas, Dakshin 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah) of West Bengal of India

Rank District Population (1941) Religion (Community) (1941) Population (2011) Language (Identity) (2011) Religion (Community) (2011)
1 Uttar 24 Parganas (Salt Lake City, New Town, Dumdum, Barrackpore and Naihati) 1,624,437 Hinduism 57%, Islam 39% 10,009,781 Bengali 88% Hinduism 73%, Islam 25%
2 Dakshin 24 Parganas 1,709,296 Hinduism 70%, Islam 28% 8,161,961 Bengali 97% Hinduism 63%, Islam 35%
3 Hooghly (Bandel and Dankuni) 1,177,729 Hinduism 62%, Islam 35% 5,519,145 Bengali 87% Hinduism 82%, Islam 15%
4 Howrah (Howrah, Santragachi and Andul) 1,490,304 Hinduism 79%, Islam 19% 4,850,029 Bengali 84%, Hindi 10% Hinduism 72%, Islam 26%
5 Kolkata (Sealdah and Kolkata) 2,108,891 Hinduism 73%, Islam 23% 4,496,694 Bengali 61%, Hindi 22%, Urdu 13% Hinduism 76%, Islam 20%
Kolkata Region 8,110,657 Hinduism 69%, Islam 25% 33,037,610 Bengali 86% Hinduism 72%, Islam 25%

During the Partition of India and Partition of Bengal in 1947, a large number of Bengali Hindu refugees (mainly non-Dalits, modern day Hindu-URs/OBCs), and during the Bangladesh (East Bengal or East Pakistan) Liberation War (Civil War in Pakistan) in 1971 between West Pakistan and East Pakistan (East Pakistan Provincial Assembly was against the imposition of Urdu language as the national language of Pakistan and claimed separate Bangladesh i.e. Bengalination as the home country for the Bengali Muslims), a very large number of Bengali Hindu refugees (mainly Dalits i.e. Hindu-SCs), from East Bengal (in 1971, it became Bangladesh i.e. Bengalination) of Pakistan, came to Kolkata Region, particularly the Kolkata sub-urban districts of Uttar 24 Parganas and Hooghly, making these districts overwhelmingly Hindu majority. During the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, a small number of Bengali Muslim refugees from East Bengal (East Pakistan) of Pakistan also came to Kolkata Region, particularly the Kolkata sub-urban districts of Uttar 24 Parganas and Dakshin 24 Parganas.

Services and security

Three types of local train services are operated. They are normal locals, trains which stop at every station; galloping locals, these trains have limited stops and skip the smaller stations;[38] and women-only trains known as Matribhoomi local.[27]

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) are responsible for the security of Kolkata Suburban Railway.[39] The major stations in Kolkata also have closed-circuit cameras.[40]

Travel classes

There are three travel classes:

  1. Vendor on train
    Class II: These are regular compartments, where anyone can travel. The last rows on both ends of the compartment are reserved for physically challenged and senior citizens.[41]
  2. Class L: These compartments are exclusively reserved for women. Men are not allowed in them. The second compartment from both ends is for ladies.[12]
  3. Vendor: These are for vendors to transport heavy goods and luggage. The compartments have seats along the walls and are made to haul goods. The third compartment from both ends is for vendors.[42]
  4. Divyangjan: These compartments are the first compartments on both sides, where some seats are reserved for senior citizens, physically disabled people and the patients.


During 2010–11, there was an average of 1,275 trains per day. The average passenger capacity per rake was 6,207. In 2014–15, the average number of trains was 1,511 with an average passenger capacity per rake of 4,141. In the last five years, there was an increase of three percent in the average number of trains per day and reduction of eight percent in the average number of passengers per rake. The number of passengers carried in 2013–14 was 1,150,000,000 and in 2014–15 was 1,120,000,000—a reduction of three percent in total trips. The daily ridership as of 2017–18 is 3,500,000.[16][43][44]

Fares and ticketing

In the 2013 Railway Budget, the Railway Board increased the Kolkata suburban ticket fare by eight paise per kilometre, although the railway ministry has hiked it by two paise per kilometre. The number of slabs has also been reduced to four—5 (6.0¢ US), 10 (12¢ US), 15 (18¢ US) and 20 (24¢ US)—from the eight slabs earlier. Also, ticket denominations have been rounded off to multiples of 5 (6.0¢ US). As per the revised slab, a person travelling up to 20 km (12 mi) will have to pay 5 (6.0¢ US), between 21 km (13 mi) and 45 km (28 mi) 10 (12¢ US), between 46 km (29 mi) and 70 km (43 mi) 15 (18¢ US), and between 71 km (44 mi) and 100 km (62 mi) 20 (24¢ US). One can buy a monthly, quarterly or season ticket if commuting regularly on a particular route. This allows unlimited rides on that route. Season tickets are the most cost-effective and time-efficient option for regular commuters.[41][45]

Kolkata Suburban Railway uses a proof-of-payment fare collection system. Tickets can be bought for a single journey (one way) or a return journey. Travelling without a valid ticket is an offence and if caught can result in a penalty. As per the Indian Railway Report, in 2016–17, the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway generated 539.8 million (US$6.5 million) through penalties imposed on ticketless and irregular travelers, an increase from 2013 to 2014 with 112 million (US$1.3 million).[46]

Offline tickets can be bought from the unreserved ticket counters present at every station and Cash/Smart Card operated Ticket Vending Machines (CoTVM) and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) installed in most of the stations.[47] One can issue online tickets using the UTSOnMobile app.[48][49]

Non-suburban routes

Some routes do not have any regular EMU services and therefore bypass the Kolkata Suburban Railway Network. To connect people on these routes, passenger trains run to help transport people from small towns and villages to the Kolkata Metropolitan Area and vice versa. There are two routes that bypass the Kolkata Suburban Railway and are not connected to any other network. The first route is from Tamluk to Digha, which is under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railway with a length of 94 km (58 mi). The second route is from Krishnanagar City Junction to Lalgola, which is under the jurisdiction of Eastern Railway with a length of 128 km (80 mi).[50][51]


Rolling stock

The Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) for the Kolkata suburban services were built domestically at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Perambur; the first EMU rolled out in September 1962.[9][26]

The Howrah division of Eastern Railways has a rolling stock of 12-coach EMUs made by Jessop, ICF and Titagarh Wagons. BEML EMU's have been purchased and are in use. A few Unique BEML stainless steel EMUs are also in service.[52] A small fleet of 12-coach Siemens EMUs are also in service. MEMU Rakes from the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala (RCF) and Diesel multiple units (DEMUs)) from the ICF are in service. Howrah division has 61 12-car rakes. The Sealdah division has rolling stock including nine and 12-coach EMUs, also made by Jessop, ICF and Titagarh Wagons. A small fleet of Siemens 12-coach EMUs is also in service. BEML EMU's have been purchased and are in use and a small number of unique BEML stainless steel EMUs are also in service.[52] DEMU trains made by ICF and MEMU from Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala (RCF) are in service. The number of 9-car and 12-car EMU rakes Sealdah division are 49 and 66 respectively.[53][54][55][56] There are 2 Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) rakes also.[57][26]

The South Eastern Railways uses 12-coach EMUs made by Jessop, Siemens, Titagarh Wagons and ICF. BEML EMUs have been purchased and are in use.[55] A few unique BEML stainless steel EMUs are also in service. SER was the first Division in West Bengal to use the ICF Medha 3-phase rakes.[54] DEMU rakes from ICF and MEMU from RCF are in service. In February 2018, SER launched Medha ICF Rakes on the Howrah–Kharagpur route and on 15 April 2018, Eastern Railway also started using them on the Howrah–Bandel Route.[53][58][56] SER has 30 12-car EMU rakes.[12][59]

Every division of the Kolkata Suburban Railway are rapidly replacing their old Jessop and ICF EMUs with the latest Medha 3-phase EMU rakes made by ICF with Bombardier Transportation. Almost all the EMU Units used by the Kolkata Suburban Railway are equipped with a GPS-based passenger information system. Some EMUs, which were previously in service with the Western Line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway, were later shifted to Kolkata for service.[60][61][58]

Number of rakes in ER[26][57]
Division EMU MEMU
9-car 12-car
Howrah  – 61  –
Sealdah 49 66 2
(As of 2020)
Number of rakes in SER[12][59]
Division EMU MEMU
9-car 12-car
Kharagpur  – 30  –
(As of 2019)

Electrification and gauge

Electrification and overhead catenary in Titagarh railway station

The Howrah to Bardhaman section of Eastern Railway, got equipped with 3000 V DC electrification by 1958. Following the research and trials by SNCF in Europe, Indian Railways decided to adopt 25 kV AC system as a standard in 1957, as it was found more economical, and by 1968 the mainlines of both zones were electrified with 25 kV AC traction.[62] Branch lines and other lines were gradually electrified later.[9] On 5 January 2015, the Kalinarayanpur to Krishnagar City Junction route via Shantipur was totally converted into electrified broad gauge from meter gauge with three phases, Phase-I was from Krishnanagar City Junction to Shantipur Junction which was commissioned on 7 February 2012; Phase II was from Shantipur Junction to Phulia which was commissioned on 30 January 2014; and the last, Phase III, for Phulia to Kalinarayanpur was commissioned and later EMU services begun.[63] On 12 January 2018, the Barddhaman to Katwa line was totally converted to electrified broad gauge from narrow gauge with two phases—Phase-I Barddhaman to Balgona and Phase-II Balgona To Katwa began to be converted beginning on 30 May 2012.[64][65][66] Currently, the network has a 25 kV overhead catenary electrification system, with 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) Indian broad gauge tracks.[67]

Signalling and telecommunication

Signalling at Ranaghat Junction railway station

An Electronic Interlocking signalling system is most widely used, replacing the old lever frames/panel interlockings system. To increase sectional capacity and efficiency, automatic signalling is being used. This is controlled by AC/DC track circuits, axle counters etc. The axle counter system is used to detect the presence of a train in an absolute block section, point zone area of a station and level crossings.[40][68]

An optical fibre communication system is the backbone of the telecommunications network. The telecommunications facility is an omnibus circuit between stations and the central control hub at Sealdah and Howrah. For ground based mobile communication, Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) is used.[40][69]


In the early 1980s, down Kalyani Simanta local overshot the down starter signal at Kalyani rail station and rammed into up Krishnagar City local which was coming into pf. 1 from the opposite direction. Eye-witnesses say the 'head' of the down local hit the 'belly' of the up local. Several coaches derailed, and passengers sustained injuries as both trains were going slow (10kmph). Services on the mainline were suspended for a few days and the derailed rakes kept laying in Kalyani outers for several months.

Two local trains (Sealdah–Shantipur EMU local and Shantipur–Sealdah EMU local) collided on the same track at Phulia railway station on 7 January 2012. One person was killed and several were injured. Three coaches of both trains derailed.[70]

On 12 December 2013, an accident was averted as two trains arrived on the same line at Sealdah Station. The driver of the Sealdah–Lalgola passenger train which left from platform seven had overshot the starter signal and entered the down main line but stopped upon noticing the Bangaon–Sealdah local, which was coming from the opposite direction. This was reported to the control room and the passenger train was hauled back to platform seven of Sealdah Station.[71]

Fourteen passengers were injured when an explosion took place inside a compartment of the Sealdah–Krishnanagar local train early on the morning of 12 May 2015. The blast took place just after a person boarded the train at Titagarh station, which is 21 km (13 mi) from Sealdah. Train services along the Sealdah Section were normal. However, two trains were cancelled as train movement was affected following the incident.[72]

On 17 November 2015, a 40-year-old man, who had boarded the Howrah–Bandel Matribhumi special local for women only, fell off the train and died between Uttarpara and Hind Motor stations. This incident occurred when the man boarded the train. Some female commuters surrounded and abused him. He was eventually forced to get off the train. When the man realized a station was approaching, he ran to grab the handle but missed it and fell from the train to his death.[73]

On 19 July 2017, a train from Sonarpur Jn to Sealdah (South) Station broke the buffer and hit the wall of platform number 13 in Sealdah (South) Station. This incident happened in the morning around 10:25 am (IST).[74]

On 4 September 2018, Majerhat Bridge which was 40 years old, collapsed on the rail line between Majerhat and New Alipore at around 4:45 pm (IST), which results in the death of 3 people while injuring at least 25 others. After the collapse, Eastern Railways suspended train services via Majerhat railway station on the Kolkata Circular Railway and Sealdah-Budge Budge lines temporarily.[75]

On 28 September 2018, one woman was killed while another woman sustained serious injuries after a slab of a foot over-bridge (FOB) at Baruipur railway station in South 24 Parganas fell on them from a height of 30 ft (9.1 m). This incident happened at night. According to locals and daily passengers, the foot over-bridge was in bad condition due to lack of maintenance.[76]

There was a stampede on a foot over-bridge at Santragachi railway station in West Bengal on 23 October 2018. Two people died and twelve others were injured, including two children and two women. This incident occurred because of the arrival of two trains at the same time. People rushed to board the trains and that created a stampede-like situation on the bridge.[77]

On 2 October 2019, A local train coming from Masagram was derailed, when it was entering on Platform no.6 of Howrah railway station. No casualties were reported. This incident happened around 8:10 pm (IST).[78]

On 15 March 2020, a massive fire broke out in the Salimpur slum area which lies near the Dhakuria railway station track at around 8:30 am. No casualties were reported. After this incident, Sealdah South lines were suspended temporarily.[79]

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