India is home to a vast and historical railway network. The history itself is layered and spread across the Subcontinent; while the proposal for an Indian railway was first made in Madras Presidency, the first passenger train chugged out of a station in Bombay. Similarly, the ripple effects of this British imperial project extended beyond the primary purpose of trade. What began in the 1800s as a colonial enterprise to transport lucrative goods like cotton would in the very next century become a weapon against colonisation itself. In the 20th Century, Indian revolutionaries and freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi would use the railways to launch political attacks and mobilise mass movements.
Take our Indian Railways quiz to learn and test your knowledge about its earliest days and some milestone train journeys. Follow the links below to read more about India’s railway history.
Congratulations, you’re a super-fast express!
Sorry, you missed the train—better luck next time!
#1. Which country is home to the oldest railway network in Asia?
India has the oldest and largest railway networks in Asia.
#2. _____ was the predecessor of the Indian Railways.
The Great Indian Peninsular Railway was the precursor to today’s Indian Railways. One of the first lines to be built by the GIPR was Bombay-Poona.
#3. Which animal is the mascot of Indian Railways?
The mascot for Indian Railways is Bholu, the elephant.
#4. Bombay-Poona was one of first railway lines to be built by the Great Indian Peninsular Railways. It passed through a dangerous mountain pass in the Western Ghats called:
The Bombay-Poona line went through Bhor Ghat, a route that took eight years to complete.
#5. In _____, the first passenger train in India ran between Bori Bunder (Mumbai) and Thane.
On April 16 1853, the first passenger train in India left the station at Bori Bunder (Mumbai) and travelled 34km to reach Thane.
#6. This Himalayan railway line, established in 1881, runs one of the few steam locomotives still operating in India. Can you identify the town associated with this UNESCO Heritage Site?
#7. The Pamban railway bridge made history when it opened for traffic on 24 February 1914. What made it special?
#8. The first rail line in India was laid in 1836 in ____ Presidency.
#9. Which is the oldest surviving railway station in India?
Built in 1856, Royapuram in Chennai is the oldest surviving railway station in India.