Howrah Junction railway station

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Howrah Junction
Regional rail, Commuter rail, Light rail & Rapid transit station
Howrah Station.jpg
Howrah Station, view from Hooghly River
Location Lower Foreshore Rd, Howrah - 711101 West Bengal
Coordinates 22°34′54″N 88°20′32″E / 22.5818°N 88.3423°E / 22.5818; 88.3423Coordinates: 22°34′54″N 88°20′32″E / 22.5818°N 88.3423°E / 22.5818; 88.3423
Elevation 12 metres (39 ft)
Owned by Indian Railways
Operated by Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway Zone
Line(s) Howrah-Delhi main line
Howrah-Nagpur-Mumbai line
Howrah-Chennai main line
Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line
Platforms 23
Tracks 25
Connections Bus interchange
Structure type Standard (on ground station)
Parking Available
Other information
Status Functioning
Station code HWH
Division(s) Howrah(ER)
Opened 1854; 163 years ago (1854)
Electrified 1954; 63 years ago (1954)[1]
Previous names East Indian Railway Company
Preceding station   Indian Railway   Following station
Eastern Railway zone Terminus
South Eastern Railway zone Terminus

Howrah Junction railway station (station code HWH) is one of the major railway stations in the city of Kolkata, India. It is the busiest railway station in India in terms of train frequency after Kanpur Central, Vijayawada Junction, Delhi Junction, New Delhi and Ambala Cant. Around 673 train routes start, end, or pass through the station daily. With 23 platforms (the largest number of platforms in the entire Indian railway system), it has the highest train-handling capacity of any railway station in India and is one of the busiest railway stations in terms of passenger volume per day. It is one of the five intercity railway stations serving the city of Kolkata, the others being Sealdah, Santragachi, Shalimar and Kolkata railway station. The station is located on the west bank of the Hooghly River.

A total of 1220 stations are directly connected to Howrah railway station via 293 passenger trains.[2]


Initial plans for the first Howrah railway station were submitted on 17 June 1851, by George Turnbull, the Chief Engineer of the East Indian Railway Company. In January 1852, it became clear that the government authorities would not sanction the purchase of sufficient land nor the necessary water frontage, despite demonstrations from Turnbull that the terminus would continue to expand. In May 1852, the detailed station plans were made by Turnbull and his team of engineers. In October, four tenders for building the station received from 190,000 to 274,526 rupees against an estimate of 250,000 rupees.[3][4]

Due to a great increase in traffic, a new station building was proposed in 1901. The British architect Halsey Ricardo designed the new station. It was opened on 1 December 1905.[5] This building is the current Howrah station building, with 15 platform tracks.

It was expanded in the 1980s with the addition of 8 platform tracks on the south side of the station, bringing the track count up to 23. At the same time, a new Yatri Niwas (transit passenger facility) was built south of the original station frontage.


There are currently 23 platforms. Platforms 1-15 are located in the old complex also referred to as Terminal 1, while 17-23 are in the new complex (Terminal 2). Terminal 1 serves the local and long-distance trains of Eastern Railway as well as local trains of South Eastern Railway. Terminal 2 serves the long distance trains of South Eastern Railway.

Confluence of two railway zones

The station is served by Eastern Railway local trains to Belur Math, Tarakeswar, Arambagh, Goghat, Katwa, Bandel, Sheoraphuli, Bardhaman, Serampore and numerous intermediate stations (see Main Line, Chord, and Tarakeswar branch line); and mail/express trains to Central, North and North-East India. A narrow gauge line connects Bardhaman and Katwa and is currently served by DMU trains (all other lines run EMU trains). There is a plan to extend the suburban train service from Bardhaman to Mankar and Guskara, by electrifying the Khana–Guskara existing stretch, which is currently served by diesel loco hauled trains. The Bardhaman–Mankar stretch is now served by electric loco hauled trains.

The South Eastern Railway operates local trains to Amta, Mecheda, Panskura, Haldia, Tamluk, Kanthi, Medinipur and Kharagpur; and mail/express trains to Central, West and South India. The Tamluk–Kanthi stretch is currently electrified and now EMU runs up to Digha. There is a plan to extend the suburban train service from Kharagpur to Jhargram, Hijli, Belda and Narayangarh. Both stretches are now served by electric loco (EMU) hauled trains.


Trains from this station serve the Kolkata urban area (via the Kolkata suburban railway), the state of West Bengal, and most major cities in India. Its 23 platforms handle over six hundred trains each day, serving more than a million passengers, making it one of the busiest railway stations in India. It is served by two zones of the Indian Railways: Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway.

The station is operated by the Eastern Railway.

South Eastern Railway was previously known as the Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR, derisively called "Be Never Regular" because of its notorious tardiness[citation needed]) which built the trunk route from Kolkata to Nagpur connecting to the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (GIPR) route to Mumbai and the trunk route to Vijayawada Junction connecting with the GIPR route to Chennai. Eastern Railway was previously known as the East Indian Railway Company (EIR) which built the trunk route from Kolkata to Delhi and beyond.

Four of India's most important trunk rail routes end in Howrah. They are the Howrah-Delhi, Howrah-Mumbai, Howrah-Chennai and Howrah-Guwahati routes. The first Rajdhani Express in the country ran between Howrah and New Delhi in 1969. India's first double-decker train was flagged off in October 2011 and it still operates between Howrah in West Bengal and Dhanbad in Jharkhand. The double-decker coaches have been introduced on other routes as well, however, this is the first time a Shatabdi train is being operated with double-decker coaches. Eastern Railway handles trains for Northern, North-Western, North-Eastern & Eastern India through Barddhaman line & Katwa line. South Eastern Railway handles trains for Southern, South-Western, South-Eastern, Eastern, and Central India through the Medinipur Line and Kharagpur Line. The Kanthi line is also serving long distance intrastate trains.

The Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway section are connected by two links, one is Lilua-Tikiapara link, and other is Rajchandrapur/Dankuni-Maurigram link, currently used by goods trains and Sealdah-Puri Duronto Express. There are proposals to introduce more passenger train services on these two links to facilitate quick travel between the two sections avoiding Howrah.


Howrah Station houses the divisional headquarters of the Howrah Division of the Indian Railway's Eastern zone.

For passengers, it has a large covered waiting area between the main complex and the platforms. The main complex has waiting rooms for passengers awaiting connecting trains. In addition, there is a Yatri Niwas with dormitory/ single room/ double room accommodation. The vehicular carriageways along the length of platforms allow passengers to be dropped near rail compartments — a facility now unique among major stations of the country.

The station complex includes the following:

  • Two vehicular carriageways between platforms 8-9 (Eastern Railway) and 21-22 (South Eastern Railway) up to the length of the platforms. They connect to the flyovers at the end of platforms; facilitating the quick exit of vehicles.
  • Howrah offers WiFi services to its users via MTS INDIAN RAIL WiFi.
  • It has an air-conditioned waiting room for first class passengers with a balcony view of the Kolkata Skyline and the Howrah Bridge.
  • Diesel Loco Shed (84 locos)
  • Electric Loco Shed (96 locos). This also includes an electric trip shed with the capacity to hold around 15–20 locos. Interestingly, Howrah loco shed houses the second highest number of WAP-4 class of locos, a total of 100 locos.
  • EMU Car Shed (15+ parking slots)
  • Coach Maintenance Complex services many prestigious trains such as the Rajdhani, Duronto, and Shatabdi expresses.

South Eastern Railway's EMU car shed and an electric loco shed is situated respectively at Tikiapara and Santragachhi. The Howrah Railway Complex also has a Railway Carriage and Wagons Workshop at Liluah, one of the three in the Eastern Railways. The other two being at Kanchrapara and Jamalpur.

North of the station there is now a new Railway Museum displaying artifacts of historical importance related to the development of Eastern Railway. For many years the Fairy Queen, now the world's oldest operational steam locomotive, was displayed on a plinth inside the station.[6]

Before 1992, there was a tram terminus at Howrah station. Trams departed from here towards Rajabazar, Sealdah Station, High Court, Dalhousie Square, Park Circus and Shyambazar. Trams also departed from here towards Bandhaghat and Shibpur. That terminus was partially closed in 1971 for the closure of the Bandhaghat and Shibpur lines. Many unauthorized vehicles and people took over the tram-track carrying streets and it was impossible to continue the tram service on these routes. The state government wanted to close these lines rather than control buses, taxis, rickshaws, and people to allow free tram movement. After these closures, the part of the terminus which served these two lines was re-constructed for underpasses and a bus terminus. The other part still functioned until 1992, when the Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) was declared unfit to carry trams because it was a cantilever bridge. The tram line ran from the opening of the bridge until 1992. Previously routes 11, 20, 26, 30 & 32 served this terminus. Now the terminus is used by buses, and Some poles and stretches of track still exist.

When the Kolkata Metro's line 2 is built, it will pass through Howrah.


See also


  1. ^ "[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: Electric Traction - I". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  2. ^ "Stations directly connected to Howrah Railway Station". Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  3. ^ Diaries of George Turnbull (Chief Engineer, East Indian Railway Company) held at the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University, England
  4. ^ George Turnbull, C. E . pages 110, 121, 122, 125 and 127 of the 437-page memoirs published privately 1893, scanned copy held in the British Library, London on compact disk since 2007
  5. ^ "Howrah Station is veritably the heartbeat of Kolkata". The Hindu. 2005-12-02. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 
  6. ^ Ahrons, E.L. (1966). The British Steam Railway Locomotive. I, to 1925. Ian Allan. p. 142. 

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