Halt Station India: The Dramatic Tale of the Nation’s First Rail Lines


Author: Rajendra B. Aklekar

9788129134974 | PB | pp. 227 | 2014 | Rupa Publications

Halt Station India: The Dramatic Tale of the Nation’s First Rail Lines by Rajendra B. Aklekar chronicles the dramatic rise of India’s original rail network.

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Halt Station India chronicles the dramatic rise of India’s original rail network, the arrival of the first train, and the subsequent emergence of a pioneering electric line–all in the port city of Bombay. Trains that once provoked awe and fear–they were viewed as fire chariots, smoke-spewing demons–have today become a nation’s life blood.

Taking a walk along India’s first rail lines, the author stumbles upon fragments of the past–a clock at Victoria Terminus that offers a rare view of a city; a cannon near Masjid Bunder Station that is worshipped as a god; a watchtower overlooking Sion Station, believed to have housed a witch. Each pit-stop comes with stories of desire and war, ambition and death–by Dockyard Road Station, for instance, author Laurence Sterne’s beloved, Eliza Draper, followed a sailor into the sea; or close to Parel Station, the wife of India’s governor general, Lord Canning found a garden rich in tropical vegetation; this, she replicated at Barrackpore.

Drawing from journals, biographies, newspapers and railway archives–and with nostalgic, first-time accounts of those who travelled by India’s earliest trains–the book captures the economic and social revolutions spurred by the country’s first train line. In this, Halt Station Indiais not just about the railways–it is the story of the growth of India’s business capital and a rare study of a nation.

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Rajendra B. Aklekar




Rupa Publications





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About the Author

The author has been a journalist in Mumbai, India, for more than twenty years. His book Halt Station India was nominated as the best Non-Fiction Book at the Bangalore Literature Festival 2015 and Atta Galatta Literary Awards.


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