The railway, handmaiden of British colonial rule in India and midwife of South Asian nationalisms, was at the infrastructural core of the making of modern India. Few dimensions of India and Indian life—political, economic, cultural, spatial—escaped the shaping influences of the engines of change.
This book provides the non-specialist with an introduction to the history of India’s railways, and to the many ways the railways shaped the making of modern India. Engines of Change is a brief, readable, contextualized introduction to India’s railway past. The railway history of India is placed in a broad setting to illustrate the many ways in which the railways made India, and the ways in which wider forces, notably colonialism, shaped the railways India got.
Operating railways in India date from 1853 and by 1900 the network of lines in India was the world’s fourth longest. India provided the pre-eminent example of railway development in Asia and Africa. Today, the Indian rail system continues to rank among the world’s largest.
Ian J. Kerr is a retired professor of History and Senior Scholar in the Department of History at the University of Manitoba, Canada. He is also Professorial Research Associate in the Department of History at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. His publications include 27 Down: New Departures in Indian Railway Studies.
Preface and Acknowledgements
2 The Pioneering Decades, ca. 1853 to ca. 1870
3 Construction, 1850–2003
4 1870–1905, Overview
5 Taking Stock, ca. 1905
6 “Nationalizing” the Railroads, 1905–1947
7 Partition and a Railroad Network Sundered
8 To Serve the Nation: Railroads in Independent India, 1947–2010