Railway In Nepal ,Nepal’s own train from Jayanagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal has reached Janakpur. The 35 km long Kurtha-Jayanagar section of the railway has been completed with the financial and technical assistance of India. A set of trains has been brought there to operate. Preparations are underway to bring the railway into operation after Dashain-Tihar by making necessary laws.
93 years before today, in 1927, during the reign of Chandra Shamsher, the first railway came into operation in Nepal. This article is based on a newspaper report published at the time. After the end of the war, the United Kingdom provided Rs. 2.1 million to Nepal for providing military assistance to the United Kingdom during the First World War.
At that time, Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher spent the Rs 2.1 million received from the British government on development projects elsewhere. The Raxaul-Amalekhgunj railway, Amalekhgunj-Bhimphedi highway and 14 miles long Dhursing Matatirtha ropeway were constructed with the same amount.
Martin & Co., based in Kolkata, built Nepal’s first railway, the Nepal Government Railway. The passenger train was of 762 mm narrow gauge and was powered by a steam engine.
The train was 24 miles from Raxaul in British India to Amalekhgunj in Nepal, about 39 kilometers long. The British India’s Bengal Nagpur Railway was up to Raxaul. Similarly, as Nepal’s railways were connected from Raxaul, Nepal was connected to India’s international railways. After Chandra Shamsher abolished slavery, the freed people lived in Amalekhgunj. Slave-free people were also used in the construction of railways at that time.
Amalekhgunj used to have dense forest and the station was built by clearing the forest during the construction of the railway. Chandra Shamsher had even ordered to install taps as there would be shortage of water there. Apart from the then King Tribhuvan and Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher, many brothers and sisters were present for the inauguration of the railway on February 19, 1927.
A representative of the Martin Company read out a petition to His Majesty the King at the behest of His Majesty the King. Newspapers have reported in the news that the construction work of the railway has been completed several months ahead of schedule.
There, Prime Minister Maharaj also addressed the gathering in which he described the achievements made during his tenure in addition to the benefits of railways.
The people, who were expecting the king to speak at the inaugural function for the first time, were disappointed when the king did not say a word.
Inside the palace, the king, who was the god of skulls, looked as helpless as a prisoner, even for the first time at a public event. He said that it would be very easy to reach the capital after the construction of the Raxaul-Amalekhgunj railway from Amalekhgunj to Bhimfedi by car.
It was said that it would be very convenient to transport the goods from Bhimfedi to Matatirtha after the construction of a 14-mile long ropeway. Some newspapers have even reported that the 14-mile-long ropeway built in Nepal is the longest ropeway in the world.
With the construction of the station in Amalekhgunj, it was hoped that it would also develop as a business center. Until the construction of railways and highways, it used to take three days to reach Kathmandu from Raxaul, but now it can be reached in one day.
At that time, the purpose of British India to build railways was not only to import valuable timber products from Nepal but also to import more produced food to Nepal. The opening of the railway will lead to progress in the trade of the country, improvement of the people, ease of travel for the passengers, saving time. However, the Gurkha League, a Nepali organization based in Dehradun, India, expressed serious concern that the government should control the flow of material out of the country.
They have demanded that Nepal’s food exports to India should be stopped or only in very small quantities. As there is abundant food production in Nepal, there will be an increase in the tradition of traders from India entering Nepal at harvest time and taking large quantities of food to India at very cheap prices by giving advance payment to the landlords. Due to which, the government of Nepal was warned that when the food produced in Nepal goes out at cheap prices, Indian traders will get fat and the poor citizens of Nepal will not be able to buy food and die of starvation.
The ‘Gurkha League’ pointed out the changed situation at that time and suggested to the people to move towards fulfilling the expectations of the people from the king and the ruler, saying that the king and the ruler could not escape from them.
Newspapers from all over the world covered the first railway operation in Nepal at that time. The news of the inauguration of the train service has been described in various foreign newspapers in a very interesting way.
The March 27, 1927 issue of The Winnipeg Tribune, published in the United States, headlined the story of the first train in Nepal: The 21-year-old Maharaja did not panic during the first train journey of his life and traveled in a courageous manner.
A decade after the first railway came into operation in 1927, the second railway came into operation in 1937 during the reign of Judd Shamsher. The second railway was from Jayanagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal.
Despite the British’s interest in its construction at that time, the Indians now happily travel to Janakpur and visit the Janaki Temple. At that time, Indian pilgrims used to come to Nepal twice a year, once during Shivaratri and another time during Vivah Panchami. The railway was expected to help Indian pilgrims go on pilgrimage to Nepal, said an ordinary Indian Hindu citizen.
Nepal was the only independent Hindu nation in the then British colonial environment of India for Hindus, as well as for Hindu organizations such as the World Hindu Council and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Similarly, the Maharaja of Nepal and the Maharaja were Hindu emperors for them. As the relations of these Hindutva organizations with the rulers of Nepal are very good, the idea that Nepal operated the Jayanagar-Janakpur railway at their request has reached the people there.