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It was inevitable that strikes; wars and conflicts affecting the life of the country should have their impact on the working of EIR. In fact meeting the transportation needs of the government in times of strife and war with neighbouring countries formed one of the important justifications for laying the line in the first place.

Although only a fledgling when the mutiny broke out in 1857, EIR was badly affected by attacks by the mutineers, and even played a small role in transporting British troops to quell the uprising.

The Great War of 1914-18 brought greater challenges. The theatres of war being far away, there was no direct impact on train running. The main effect was depletion of staff by the call to arms, reduced availability of imports on which the railway depended for its maintenance and replacements, and diversion of resources to the manufacture of munitions.

India became the supply base for Mesopotamia (Iraq), East Africa, Egypt and Palestine. 54000 shrapnel and High Explosive shells were turned out from Jamalpur and Liluah shops. Jamalpur workshop also manufactured 12 million dogs-pikes and 1 million fish-bolts, as well as other track materials for export to these countries for use in the military railways there. The two workshops also jointly manufactured a complete armoured train as well118 kerosene oil tank wagons, while Liluah converted 50 CPT wagons for use in Mesopotamian railways in a short span of 11 days.

The fall of Burma in the second world war, brought the war uncomfortably close.

EIR faced great difficulties to bear the increased strain on its capacity resulting from the war. Government nationalised privately managed railways and also imposed strict controls on the transport of essential commodities. Rationalisation and strict control on supply of wagons was introduced for coal, the most vital product for prosecution of war as well as peace.

Memorial plaque installed at the Head Qrs. office bearing names of the staff who lost their lives during world war II

Similar memorial plaque at Howrah Station

Beginning with a Transport Advisory Officer, Railway Board in 1939-40, there evolved a full fledged Coal Commissioner’s Organisation, divided into Production and Distribution divisions.

After independence Eastern Railway continued to play a leading role in transporting troops and military equipment in the wars with China and Pakistan. The last war with Pakistan placed a much larger burden on Eastern Railway, as the main base of operations was in West Bengal.

Apart from moving large quantities of military equipment and troops to the borders, at the end of the war, nearly one lakh Pakistani prisoners of war had to be evacuated under high security to different places in India.
Plaques to be added


Railway Territorial Army (TA) Regiments were embodied during 1965 and 1971 border conflicts as also during the strike situation in 1960, 1968, 1970 and 1974 to run essential services.

969 Railway Engineer regiment (TA Jamalpur) and its affiliated units were raised on 30th March 1950. The appreciation by Gen. K. M. Kariappa, the first Indian Commander in Chief to the CO of 969 Railway Headquarters Engineer, Jamalpur and the recent appreciation during port strike by the Calcutta Port Trust Chairman are reproduced below which speaks volumes about TA particularly, its efficacy and importance.

   Letter of appreciation from Gen. Kariappa