by John Alton Price
When quite a child in India I had gathered, from the odd word I happened to overhear, or the odd attitude one observed when the subject of Railways was mentioned there seemed to be an antipathy towards ‘those Railway people’.
This rather upset me and I thought the attitude was somewhat curious, not to say unfair. I found out as I grew older and a bit more knowledgeable that the Railway people were considered a bit ‘Racy’ and not quite up to the mark or shall we say a bit common. In much later days I was to discover for myself that these opinions were positively unfair and rather, or downright ignorant. I had in my ‘growing up’ days had very little contact with railway people in India, except for the occasional meeting through rail travel.
During my service in the Military I was to be Posted to a quite important Railway Station called Jamalpur, in Bihar. It was early May 1942 and our Unit was transported to a wooded area to set up Camp.
I was to discover that Jamalpur had the third largest Railway Workshop in the World (or so I was told) and was responsible for the training of Railway Engineers who came to the Workshops after they had passed out of their particular schools of academia. Consequently most male members of the town were Railway Engineers of one kind or another, However high or low in status I found them most agreeable. I was never able to have a guided tour of the workshops but I’m sure the inner workings of the railway would have been interesting. In the front of the Workshop buildings, on a three foot high pedestal was placed a Locomotive which happened to be the first Engine to ride the rails of The East Indian Railways. I have a photo of the beautiful machine.
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