Which iconic institution came first in Vizag, the Port or the Railway Station?’ Intrigued, especially since the Visakhapatnam Station was officially celebrating its 125th anniversary, we reached out to Edward Paul, an expert who is passionate about Vizag’s history.
According to V Edward Paul, historical pieces of evidence show that during 12th century AD, ‘Vizagapatam’ was a mercantile town with a flourishing port. Trade ships from the Middle East and Rome dropped anchor here; long before the British had set foot on Indian soil. But the Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) is credited with building the Vizagapatnam Port between 1927 and 1933, specifically in the
The East India Company, which brought railways to India, first started their rail projects at three major ports – formerly known as Bombay, Calcutta and Madras in the 1850s. Consequently, the British Indian Government planned to connect these three major ports with the rest of the country for easier, quicker and cheaper movement of goods for export and import.
Vizagapatnam was identified as a major junction midway between Calcutta and Madras. A railway line had to be laid in between Tadepalli on the south bank of the Krishna River and Barang near Cuttack. Major bridges spanning the Krishna and Godavari rivers had to be planned and constructed as part of the railway line. A company was formed in 1888, in the name of ‘East Coast State Railway’, which was a government enterprise dedicated for undertaking construction work in this stretch. The company had to connect two existing ‘lines’ – the Cuttack-Khurda Road-Puri line and the junction of the Southern Maratha Railway and Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway in Vijayawada.
Zones and Divisions
In 1896, Vizagapatnam Railways and Port came under the newly constituted Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR). Waltair soon became a strategic terminal junction point in handling the cargo in and out of Vizag Port on rail routes to the hinterland. ‘Waltair Railway Division’ continued to be under the management control of BNR till April 1952, after which
Memories of a bygone era
The Waltair Railway Division celebrated the 125th anniversary of the passage of its first train. Back in the day, the Vizagapatnam Town Railway Station was located near Lakshmi Talkies (Old Post Office) in the Old Town area. Trains generally terminated at Waltair (present Visakhapatnam Station) and a shuttle with one or two coaches would ferry passengers further on to the Town Station. The shuttle was colloquially referred to as the ‘Duplicate’. Only goods-trains for the Port and the Raipur Passenger originated and terminated at the old station. The ‘Duplicate’ train was popular not only amongst the out-of-town
It was a convenient mode of transport for residents near the Waltair Station. In 1973, the Town Railway Station in the Old Town area was abandoned in preference to the more centrally located Waltair Station. It was also renamed as the Visakhapatnam Railway Terminal Station. Even today one can spot the railway lines
The money-making division
Waltair Division is headquartered in Visakhapatnam city and is one among the five highest-earning railway divisions in the country. The jurisdiction of the division, which is presently under the East Coast Railway (ECoR) Zone, extends over three States – Andhra Pradesh, Odisha