By Ian J. Kerr

The previous Jewel within the Crown of the British Empire, India is still, via any degree, a huge fiscal and political actor at the global scene. with no her wide railway network—completed opposed to all odds by way of her British colonial masters—it is very unlikely to visualize what may have turn into of the varied lands and peoples of the subcontinent. those railway networks introduced them jointly as a colony; those networks fostered the nationalism that may be Britain's downfall. This rail community either remade the actual panorama and taken social-cultural unity to a various and wide-ranging population. it'd be universal rail trip that Gandhi might hire to arrive the hundreds. From its romantic mystique to its harmful fact, it's rail commute this present day that retains important social, cultural, fiscal and political forces moving.India's railroad heritage serves as a different lens to her greater tale of conquer adversity. via 1905, India had the world's fourth biggest railway network—a place it keeps within the early twenty first century. The railroads have been on the organizational and technological middle of a number of the inter-related monetary, political, social, cultural, and ecological changes that produced glossy India via, and out of, its colonial prior. as well as this substantial technical success, and (in maintaining with the sequence focus), there's an both vital and wide-sweeping human-interest story to be informed with evocative vignettes of the triumph of the human spirit (one billion strong!) within the face of significant adversity.

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He received the severe sentence of 7 years rigorous imprisonment and was subsequently pursued in civil court by the Railway Company seeking restitution in the absence of a full and true accounting for sums approaching Rs. 500,000. One would expect that after two scandals, public enquiry, civil and criminal trials, and increasingly close government scrutiny the management of the SP&DR would improve under the new agent, General Abbott. It was not to be. By June of 1869 (while investigations into the Elphinstone era were still continuing) the GOI complained of the “unsatisfactory condition of the Punjab and Delhi Railways, as evidenced by recent inspection reports, coupled with the frequent and repeated allegations of bad management, 34 Engines of Change irregular working, and unsatisfactory conduct of several officers of the Company .

Railroad construction got underway in many parts of India in the 1850s and 1860s. Construction and reconstruction has continued ever since including the recent completion (1998) of the impressive 760-km Konkan line down India’s west coast. The earliest lines were rarely built telescopically with the completed sections providing transport to the railhead; instead, different parts were commenced independently of one another. Hence a patchwork of railroad construction appeared at many points across the subcontinent.

Brunton also returned to England, sought restitution for his lost salary and diminished reputation, and then moved to New Zealand where he held the lease to a sheep-run of 30,000 acres and also practiced engineering. The new agent and the new chief engineer got along and, for a short period, the SP&DR had stable, effective management. W. Stevens had a paralytic attack in September of 1864. In failing health, he received a 12-month medical leave to go to England but died en route in late January 1865.

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