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Railway Station, Ludhiana

LUDHIANA'S recent history has some important landmarks. Maharaja Ranjit Singh built the Phillaur fort. The Baddowal-Aliwal battles of the first Anglo-Sikh War (1845-46) made it a temporary cantonment town. The realignment of the ‘Jarnaili Sarak’, the present GT Road, was a big step towards modernization. But it was the railway that represented the big leap forward for the region.

Ludhiana appeared as a railway station on the Ludhiana-Ambala main line on October 12, 1869. Ambala Cantonment had already been linked with the Saharanpur-Meerut section. The Amritsar-Lahore line was inaugurated on January 1, 1869. Ludhiana was linked with Jakhal via Dhuri on January 1, 1901. The rulers of Malerkotla and Jind had collaborated to help their states. The branch line between Ludhiana and Ferozepore Cantonment (77 miles) was ready in 1905. Meanwhile, Phillaur was planned to be linked with Nakodar with a further link-up with Lohian Khas on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala-Ferozepore line. Subsequently, when Nakodar was joined by rail with Lohian Khas, Ludhiana was directly linked in 1913.

Ludhiana had earned an important place on the railway map of the then North-Western Railway (NWR). All mail and express trains halted here. It was directly linked with three main ports — Calcutta, Bombay and Karachi. Ludhiana grew as an important railway station and gained prominence as a rail junction. During the NWR era, all trains halted at Jalandhar Cantonment, but not all at Jalandhar city. But all did stop at Ludhiana. It became a popular railway station due to its branch lines catering to the countryside. Students, army men, visitors, traders and businessmen added to the popularity of this junction.

The railway yard has expanded to full capacity. The railway quarters and colonies have proved too small for the large number of employees. The loco-shed is a landmark of organization of the vital rail junction. Electrification of the rail track is a recent step in modernization. Shadows of the city’s expansion are falling on Laddhowal, Gill, Jassowal, Sahnewal and Doraha railway stations.

Jammu has been linked with all railheads or terminals in India and most of the traffic has to pass through Ludhiana. Trains originating from Amritsar also pass through Ludhiana, which has, became one of the busiest railway junctions. Yet much needs to be done to provide facilities, sanitation, reservation, information, etc. The citizens are also waiting anxiously for the Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link.