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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Romance of Indian Rail: Train to Peshawar, The Frontier Mail

Some relics of the Raj have survived and one of them is the Frontier Mail. this train which commenced operations in 1928 ran all the way from Bombay to Peshawar, now in Pakistan. It specially catered to passengers who disembarked at Ballard Pier and wished to travel to Punjab and the North West Frontier. The Frontier Mail is one of the oldest trains running in India. This train was the replacement to the earlier Bombay-Peshawar mail.

The train had 3 classes namely a First , second and third class. The journey to Peshawar took two days and the train was hauled by locomotives which were imported from England. Its final destination was Peshawar (which is now a city in Pakistan). After 1947, the train was curtailed to Amritsar. It now does the run to Amritsar in 33 hours. Amritsar is close to the Pakistan border.

 The Frontier Mail got its name since Peshawar was close to frontier of British India in those days. In the year 1930, The Times of London described it as the "one of the most famous express trains within the British Empire." This train was claimed to be the fastest long-distance train. This train got its air-cooled coaches in the year 1934. In 1996 the then government in India renamed the train as the Golden Temple Mail, a decision that is not at all pleasing.