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The typical suburban traveller journeys in the morning from his place of
residence in the suburbs to the main city and goes back to the suburbs in the
evening. Over the years the volume of this traffic has been increasing at a
rapid rate and Eastern Railway has taken up the challenge expanding its suburban
arms, electrifying routes and introducing new trains according to passenger
Running of suburban trains by EIR and BA Railways was an old concept and introduced to serve the Kolkata metro even before 1900. They were initially run by conventional coaches hauled by steam locomotives.
Howrah and Sealdah divisions carry the bulk of suburban traffic on Eastern Railway. A part of the Kolkata suburban system in Howrah division was electrified in 1957 and soon the EMU trains were introduced which has a high acceleration capacity enabling high speeds to be maintained even when enter station distances short. A nine-coach EMU train can carry up to 3000 passengers under “dense crush load” conditions.
Sealdah to Krishnanagar & Shantipur via Naihati & Ranaghat were electrified in October 1963, Dum Dum to Bongaon in Jan.,1964 and Sealdah South section in January, 1966. In Howrah-Barddhaman mainline and Sheoraphuli-Tarakeswar branch was electrified by December, 1965.
Today E.R. runs a total No. of 983 suburban trains, 664 in Sealdah Division and 319 in Howrah Division for the benefit of passengers.
With the increase in suburban traffic, a 12 coach Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) was first introduced on Sealdah – Ranaghat section from 16th December 2002. In Howrah division a 12 coach EMU train has started running in the Howrah – Barddhaman route from 1st July, 2003.