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`First train ran between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar'

Dehra Dun Aug. 9. A fact brought out by the IIT, Roorkee, may change the track of history of the Indian Railways, with the institute claiming that the first train in the country had run between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar on December 22, 1851 and not two years later as widely known.

The new claim would prove wrong earlier evidence that the first train started its journey in 1853 from Mumbai to Thane.

According to the Director of IIT, Roorkee, Premvrat, the new fact came to light in an old book published in 1860 in which its author, P.T. Cautley, revealed that the engine of the first train was brought from Britain in 1851 and it began its first journey in the same year.

The book titled ``Report on Ganga Canal'' said in order to solve the irrigation problems of farmers of the area, British engineers devised a plan to construct a canal on the Ganga.

For this purpose, a large quantity of clay was required which was available in Piran Kaliyar area, 10 km away from Roorkee. The necessity to bring clay compelled the engineers to think of the possibility of running a train between the two points.Yogendra Singh, the librarian of the IIT, came across this information recorded in the book by sheer chance when he was going through the rich collection at the institute.

Col. Cautley, whose book was published in London in 1860, had mentioned clearly that the engine of the train was brought from England in 1851 and it was named after the executive engineer, Thompson, who conceptualised and successfully completed the ambitious plan to run a train here.

Initially, two bogies were attached to the engine with a capacity to load 180 to 200 tonnes of material.

The train used to cover a distance of two and a half miles in 38 minutes between Roorkee and Piran Kaliyar with a speed of four miles per hour, the book said.

The train remained operational for nine months until the engine caught fire one day in 1852.

But by the time the construction of the canal had also been completed, Mr. Premvrat quoting the book said. — PTI

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