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

Price : $12.75
ISBN # : 9788129134974
Author : Rajendra B. Aklekar & Sir Mark Tully (Fwd.)
pages: 227
Edition : Paperback
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Rupa Publications
Published : 2014

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 lifeblood.

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 India is not just about the railways it is the story of the growth of India s business capital and a rare study of a nation.

Taking a walk along India s original railway line, the author uncovers fascinating relics and the attendant stories of the nation s earliest trains.

Rich in trivia and nostalgia with a compilation of the superstitions that emerged around the first train, and first-time accounts of the earliest purveyors of India s rail lines.

Rich in archival material, with rare photographs.

Author Bio: A journalist for the past twenty years, Rajendra B. Aklekar has two things on his mind the railways and Bombay. He started his career with Rusi Karanjia s firebrand The Daily, where he used to run a weekly column on the history of Bombay s railway stations. Presently, Aklekar is associated with The Times Group s Mumbai Mirror. He has trained himself in museology to document Bombay s vanishing relics, helped the railways set up heritage galleries, and worked on several prestigious projects to conserve the city s ancient structures.

Review 1: Rajendra B. Aklekar s research and his scholarship which enables him to interpret his findings throws new light on the way railways were built.

Source: Sir Mark Tully, author of Non-Stop India

Review 2: Fascinating stuff. An enormous amount of really rigorous work.

Source: Naresh Fernandes, author of City Adrift: A Short Biography of Bombay

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Tuesday 18 November, 2014.

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