Indian Railways Celebrates 95 Years of Electric Traction on 3rd February

On 3rd February 1925, the first electric train rain from Victoria Terminus to Kurla on harbour line of Bombay.

The first EMU train with 4 coaches of cement flooring 10 feet wide stock was flagged off by the then Governor of Bombay Sir Leslie Wilson at 10:00 hours from pf-2. The motorman was Jahangir Framji Daruwala.

Governor Wilson said in his speech ““Great enterprises often start from small beginnings and although the length of line which is now being inaugurated is only 10 miles, the significance of change from ordinary steam engine to the modern method of electric traction must strike the imagination of the least imaginative amongst us”.

He further said “This is the first line of electrified railway in India and as usual Bombay is giving lead to other parts of this country in the matter of communications as it did about a 100 years ago”

Interesting data of the the first electric train

Length over body : 68’0″

Width : 12’0″

Centre of bogies : 48′ 0″

Bogie wheel base : 10’0″

Gauge : 5’6″

Height from rail to top of roof : 13’6″

Tare of trailer coach : 42 tons

Tare of motor coach : 70 tons

Couplers : Automatic couplers of MCB type

Brakes : Standard AV brake


Contact wire voltage : 1500V DC

Voltage across each DC traction motor : 750V DC

One hour rating HP : 275

Gear ratio : 72 -21

Diameter of driving wheels : 43″

Maximum speed in level : 50 miles/hour

Power for electrified services was supplied by Tata group of Hydro-Electric Co. The current was delivered from Tata main to substation situated in Dharavi, Kalyan & Thane. Conversion from AC to DC at railway substation was done through rotary converters capable of 2500KW at 1500V DC voltage.

Harbour line construction, especially the elevated section at Wadibunder, was an engineering marvel. The cost was Rs 20 lakhs at that time and had consumed 2788 tons of steel. Cost of construction and electrification of harbour line was around 8 crores.

With information from the Indian Railways 75 Years of Electric Traction Booklet.

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About the Author: Sachin Buddhisagar

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