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Coal has always been the real diamond for Eastern Railway. The story of Coal is perhaps most interesting. The first published reference to the mining of coal dates back to the year 1774, when shallow mines are reported to have been developed in the Raniganj field.

During the year 1855-56, after the East Indian Railway had extended the line up to Raniganj, 100,000 tons of coal were transported from Raniganj to Calcutta. By 1860, however, 50 collieries were functioning, producing about 282,000 tons of coal annually in the Raniganj area.

In order to meet foreign competition and to increase the consumption of Indian coal by other railways and by various mills and factories, the East Indian Railway reduced the rate for leads over 300 miles from 5.4 to 4.5 pies per ton mile. As the production of coal increased, leading simultaneously to an increase in the demand for Indian coal, and gradual extinction of foreign imports, haulage rates continued to be progressively reduced by the railways.

Eastern Railway has been one of the major Railways. Before creation of E. C.Rly., this Railway used to load about 80 Million Tonnes of freight every year which was about 19% of the total loading of Indian Railways.

Apart from coal and coke, this Railway also transports Iron and Steel from Durgapur and Burnpur, Bauxite from Stone from Pakur and Jamalpur, Cement from Durgapur and host of other merchandise including Jute, Tea, Textile, Automobiles, etc.