The Indian Railways turned 167 years old on Thursday and for the first time in its history; the Indian Railways did not carry any passengers on its birthday. Ever since PM Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, the national transporter has suspended all its passenger services and activities.
In 1974, Indians experienced life without trains for the first time. In May 1974 during the strike of the railways that lasted for around three weeks, drivers, station masters, guards, track staff and many others went on ‘chakka jam’ demanding fixed working hours for train drivers and an across-the-board pay hike.
The first Indian Railways passenger train was flagged off on April 16, 1853, from Mumbai to nearby Thane.
On Thursday, the Railway Ministry wished the railways a happy birthday on Twitter – “Today, 167 years ago with the zeal of ‘never to stop’ the wheels of the first passenger train from Mumbai to Thane started rolling. For the first time, passenger services are stopped for your safety. Stay indoors & make the nation victorious,” it said.
Railway has suspended all passenger services since March 25 till May 3 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Around 15,523 trains run by the railways have been affected including 9,000 passenger trains and 3,000 mail express services which are run daily. It caters to over 20 million passengers every day.