Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR)

Interact with the Anglo-Indian Project

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A challenge of conducting genealogical research is locating and accessing records. Once these are discovered and retrieved, a second challenge presents itself – reading the document. Some of the handwriting on the British India records is barely legible and many hours have been spent staring and squinting at the records trying to read the details. One particular detail which eluded me for some time appeared in some of the ‘father’s occupation’ column of the baptism, marriage and burial records. The records (and extended records of their children) of James Hassett and William Bernard Wharton appeared to state ‘GLPR’ or ‘GLPR’, some indicated ‘GLPRy’ which suggested this was railway-related, but I couldn’t pin down the actual meaning of the lettering. In hindsight, it should have been more obvious. G.I.P.R – Great Indian Peninsula Railway.

The breakthrough came when I was reading a recent entry in the FIBIS Journal which clearly indicated the initials G.I.P.R.

Formed in 1845, the GIPR was a privately owned company registered in London. This was India’s and Asia’s first railway. Eight years after the formation of the GIPR, the original 21 mile (33.8 km) section opened in 1853, between Bombay and Tannah. The GIPR went through a series of expansions during the 19th century and eventually reached Jubbulpore and linked to the East Indian Railway (EIR), it completed the Bombay-Calcutta route. Originally operating under the (British) Board of Control in India and the East India Company, on July 1, 1925 its management was acquired by the state. On November 5, 1951 it was incorporated into the Central Railway.

The principal economic benefit of the GIPR was the opening up of the interior to external trade. The two lines up the Western Ghats were fully open by 1865 in time for cotton from the Deccan to be exported from Bombay to Manchester thus filling the trade gap created by the American Civil War.

Picture: Extent of Great Indian Peninsula Railway network in 1870

613px-India-rail-1870

Links to some additional sources:

Cover picture credit: FIBIS

*Please report dead links in the comments below.


AIP_with web address2

Interact with the Anglo-Indian Project

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