It’s not just personalities that have doodles dedicated to them on Google’s homepage. Google also commemorates important events, and today’s doodle celebrates the 160th anniversary of India’s first passenger train journey.
Exactly 160 years ago, on April 16 1853, the first passenger train in our country left Bori Bunder station in Bombay to complete a 34km journey to Thane. Quite fittingly, the Google doodle depicts a steam locomotive lugging a passenger train on a palm-lined railway track. The 14 carriage passenger train with 400 invited guests onboard was pulled by three locomotives named Sultan, Sindh and Sahib and took 57 minutes to complete the journey.
Though the Bombay-Thane train is largely credited as being the first train in our country, the actual history of trains goes way back to 1836, when the first rail line in the Indian sub-continent came up near Chintadripet Bridge as an “experimental line”. Steam locomotives though would take another 20 years to come to our shores and on 22 December 1951 Thomason was the first steam locomotive to be commissioned to haul construction materials in Roorkee. It had a short life though, and was decommissioned after a boiler explosion within nine months.
India’s railway network since then has grown by leaps and bounds and has one of the world’s largest railway networks comprising of nearly 115,000kms of tracks over a route of 65,000kms and 7,500 stations.