Screen Reader Access Skip to Main Content Font Size   Increase Font size Normal Font Decrease Font size
Indian Railway main logo
Search :
Find us on Facebook   Find us on Twitter View Content in Hindi
National Emblem of India

About Us


News & Updates


Supplier Information

Passenger information

Contact Us

      About Us
         History & Heritage

Goto Yahoo!!

Bookmark Mail this page Print this page
History & Heritage


-: Articles & Books on Railway Heritage of Asansol  :-


The heritage Odyssey of Asansol Division


Construction of the Experimental line to Raneegunge

Rail and coal


Railways in Asansol: Early days

Railways heritage of Asansol

Inaugural journey: Train to Raneegunge

Heritage conservation Initiatives of Asansol Division

-: Videos of Railway Heritage of Asansol  :-


Video on Railway heritage  of Asansol Division    

Video on Durand Institute, Asansol


This division formed in 1925 has been historically connected with the railway revolution in India. EIR Company was established in February, 1847. The line from Howrah to Pandooah (61 Km.) was ready in 1853. Finally on 1st. February 1855, a train was run from Howrah to Raniganj (194 Km).


Story of Development of Railways at Raniganj & Asansol

During the middle of nineteenth century the coal was being transported by boat from Narayan karni Ghat of Damodar river, Searsole(Now Raniganj) to Calcutta by M/S Car-Tagore & Company, owned by Sri Dwarakanath Tagore. However, this supply was not uniform and enough because the level of water varied in the river Damodar with the varying seasons. So as to capture this lucrative business of coal transportation that East Indian Railway laid the lines upto Raniganj in 1855. It succeeded in its motive and captured the entire coal transportation business. This line was extended upto Asansol in July 1863 via Searsole (now Raniganj) and Kalipahari.

The coal business started to flourish and consequently the train movements increased. The East Indian Railway (E.I.R.) needed large and expansive land area to build an infrastructure to run the Railways smoothly. Obviously, Raniganj was their choice for it was a much more developed location in those days because of the coal mines than Asansol. They requested the Malias, the Raj family of Searsole (Raniganj) to provide them with sufficient land. But the Raj family did not accept the proposal since it feared that smoke and soot emitted by the black beauties would cause a lot of pollution which will ultimately lead to various types of health problems.


However, this was seen as an opportunity by the Raj family of Panchakut (Cossipore, Adra) who sold a vast area of jungle land then known as "Shergarh" to the EIR. Asansol was a part and parcel of Shergarh. This happened in 1863-64, the year which inaugurated Asansol's march towards a modem industrial township.


At that time the two officers i.e. Divisional Vehicular Supdt. (now DRM) and Sr. Supdt. of Works [Sr. DEN(Co-ord)] lived in bungalows situated on the road leading from the present station to the G.T. Road near the Nazrul Sarani. They used to run their offices from their bungalows.

A full fledged DVS(DRM) Office was set up in a two storied building in 1880 on the west side of the present station road. The building at present serves the purpose of staff quarters. The Division got its new Divisional building in the year 1928 to which an annexes was added in 1958.

From now on, Railway buildings started mushrooming all over Asansol. Soon after various Railway townships grew and they bore names viz. Loco Colony, Traffic Colony and Officers Colony.


In 1877 some started the St. Vincent Technical School. The land was purchased from Railways at a very nominal cost. This school aimed to produce trained Mechanical and Electrical staff!

In the year 1898 a Bengali medium school was started which has now grown into the prestigious "Eastern Railway H S School".

Two magnificent buildings were setup in the heart of the town to provide recreation to the Railway staff.


The first one was set up in 1878 near the hospital. It got the name of 'European Institute' in 1915. In 1925 it was renamed as 'Durand Institute' after Sir Mortimer Durand, the architect of the famous Durand line between Afghanistan, Tibet and India. Now we call it 'Vivekananda Institute' from 1987. This Institute has the distinction of being the first recreational institute on the entire Indian Railways. It was set up primarily to serve the recreational needs of the mechanical engineers of East Indian Railway. This institute was very popular among the high officials of E.I.R., right from Calcutta to Saharanpur, and they craved to dance in the sophisticated dance hall during the Christmas festival. The entire floor was made of Burma Teak! However, entry to this institute was restricted only to the Europeans. Indians found entry only after Independence.


The second one was setup in the year 1915 to meet the recreational demands of the Indian. The Institute became functional in the year 1917.Later on the eve of independence the Institute came to be known as 'Subhash Institute' after the great freedom fighter of India. In its initial days the institute also organised cultural and sports events. This institute started cinema shows in 1925 with the help of Arora Studio. Later with the Independence movement catching up the institute became a centre of patriotic activities.

These two Institutes today entertain the Railway staff and also other citizens of Asansol by having regular cinema shows. 'Vivekananda Institute' is also the venue for all the major Divisional cultural activities such as Pension Adalat, monthly retirement day function, Compassionate Appointment Adalat etc.

Source : Eastern Railway CMS Team Last Reviewed : 16-07-2024  

  Admin Login | Site Map | Contact Us | RTI | Disclaimer | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

© 2016  All Rights Reserved.

This is the Portal of Indian Railways, developed with an objective to enable a single window access to information and services being provided by the various Indian Railways entities. The content in this Portal is the result of a collaborative effort of various Indian Railways Entities and Departments Maintained by CRIS, Ministry of Railways, Government of India.