Punjab Mail to show Railways' past, present on R-Day
The Indian Railways' tableau is all set to depict its past and present by showcasing the Punjab Mail - its first train service to complete 100 years on the tracks - in the Republic Day parade.
"It is an attempt to bring the past and the present together," said a railway official.
Punjab Mail, formerly the Punjab Limited, is the first train to enter its 100th year on the Indian Railways' broad gauge network.
The Central Railway calculated the train's birth date using a cost estimate document of 1911.
Railways said the tableau consists of the modern train juxtaposed with the older version, which used to be pulled by steam engines. The train now runs with electric and diesel engines.
In the tableau, the modern train is depicted with an electric engine pulling a sleeper class coach. It is flanked by two miniature older versions of the Punjab Mail with the steam engines pulling the old wooden coaches. All the trains are shown emerging out of a tunnel.
The tableau also depicts a ground element, consisting of employees and their family members, from Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala (Punjab), who will perform the traditional 'Bhangra' dance.
Before Independence, the train traversed the 2,496 km route from Mumbai to Peshawar passing through Itarsi, Agra, Delhi, Amritsar and Lahore before terminating at Peshawar Cantonment.
The Punjab Mail, whose services were primarily meant for the upper class British officials, started carrying Indians by the mid-1930s when the third class compartment was introduced.
It was in 1945, two years before India got Independence, that the train got its first air-conditioned car.
Since 1947, the train has been running between the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai (formerly Victoria Terminus) and Ferozepur in Punjab.
The 24-coach train, which has both air-conditioned and sleeper class, now covers a distance of 1,930 km.