TRAIN STOPPERS

In photos: a sad and lonely 167th birthday for Indian Railways

Behemoth, Interrupted!
Behemoth, Interrupted!
Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas
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Indian Railways turns 167 years old tomorrow (April 16), and for the first time in all these years, it won’t be ferrying passengers on its birthday.

Since March 25, when the coronavirus pandemic prompted a nationwide lockdown, the transporter has suspended all its passenger services.

Trains stand parked at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai after the coronavirus lockdown was announced on March 24.
Trains parked at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus amid the lockdown.
Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

“Never ever in its history, there has been such a long interruption of services. Not during the World Wars, not during the 1974 railway strike, or any other national calamity or natural disaster,” the Mid-Day tabloid today quoted an Indian Railways spokesperson as saying.

Services had resumed within hours even after the Mumbai train bombings in July 2006.

The deserted train station in Jammu during the coronavirus lockdown.
A deserted train station in Jammu.
Image: (AP Photo/Channi Anand
India-Coronavirus-Railways-Lockdown
All the space.
Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas

The first Indian Railways passenger train was flagged off on April 16, 1853, from Mumbai to nearby Thane.

Suburban trains in Mumbai, the lifeline of the city, is normally overcrowded.
Suburban trains in Mumbai, the lifeline of the city, is normally overcrowded.
Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Train Terminus in Mumbai is completely empty.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Train Terminus in Mumbai is completely deserted.
Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

Meanwhile, some trains have been converted into coronavirus isolation wards by the government.

India-Coronavirus-Lockdown-Railways
Health first.
Image: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri