A quote from ‘Kot Philip W.S.’ book on ‘RULERS OF VADODARA’, “In expansion of Railway Network in India, VADODARA was perhaps the FIRST STATE which gave utmost importance to the construction of Railway System”.
“The BB & CI Railway i. e. “Bombay Baroda & Central India Railway” was the Company incorporated in the year 1855 by ‘Col. J. V. Kennedy’ to undertake the task of constructing a Railway line between Surat Bombay in India. In 1855, the company commissioned the FIRST SECTION of ‘29 mile stretch’ on BG system from Ankleshwar to Utran in Gujarat State on West Coast. The FIRST TRAIN was run on 09.01.1861.
This was followed with large scale construction on the Narrow gauge during the reign of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad-III. The FIRST NARROW GAUGE line was laid between Miyagam – Dabhoi during the year 1862.
This was followed by construction of major lines in Narrow Gauge viz. Dabhoi – Chandod, Dabhoi – Chhota Udepur, Dabhoi – Goyagate, Goyagate-Jambusar, Anand – Petlad, Petlad – Tarapur etc. from 1873 to 1901.
In 1908, Sayajirao opened a separate department for the Railways and by 1936 the Baroda State had 700 miles of Railway lines. The Government of India took over the management of the BB&CI railway from 1.1.1942. On 5th November, 1951, the Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway was merged with the other State Railways i.e. Saurashtra, Rajputana & Jaipur Railways to give birth to WESTERN RAILWAY. After this amalgamation, “BARODA DIVISION” came into existence in the year 1956.
Initially Baroda division was having jurisdiction from ‘Surat to Samakhiyali (towards Ahmedabad side) and up to Godhra (towards New Delhi side).’ The Route- kilometers covered by the division were as under: BG 815.99 km, MG – 45.32 km, NG – 813.76 km.
After creation of Ahmedabad as a NEW DIVISION of Western Railway on 01.04.2003, the jurisdiction of Baroda Division was revised from “Surat to Geratpur (towards Ahmedabad side) & upto Godhra (towards New Delhi side).” The route KM at present are as under:- BG – 799.387, MG – Nil, NG – 432.381 km.
While the Electrification in Indian Railways started in 1957 on 25KV AC system, the Vadodara division got its share of electrification in 1973 by way of introduction of 25KV AC system in Virar – Sabarmati section. The Electrification from Baroda to New Delhi was subsequently taken up during the year 1984. At present the total route kilometer of electrification is 426 Kms.
Baroda division covers TEN districts of Gujarat i.e. Surat, Narmada, Bharuch, Baroda, Chhota Udepur, Panchmahal, Anand, Kheda, Ahmedabad & Sabarkantha.
The division has number of important religious / historical places viz. Dakor, Champaner, Vadtal etc. In addition the famous city of ‘White Revolution’ of Anand is situated in Vadodara division. Famous ‘AMUL DAIRY’ & prestigious ‘Institute of Rural Management’ are also located in Anand.
During the train journey through Vadodara division one comes across famous rivers i.e. Narmada, Tapti, Mahi near Surat, Bharuch & Vasad station respectively. Needless to mention that, Baroda is an important center on Cultural, Educational & Economic Map of the country, largely owing to Sayajirao – III.