100-year-old "Punjab Mail" theme of Indian Railways Republic Day tableau

New Delhi, Jan 24 (ANI): Indian Railways brings the past and the present together on its tableau to be showcased in Republic Day Parade 2012.

One of the popular trains of Indian Railways namely 'Punjab Mail' is the chosen theme of the tableau as it is the first train in the country to achieve the distinction, in recorded history, to enter the 100th year of its run.

The tableau consists of the modern train juxtaposed with the older version, which used to be pulled by steam engines. 'Punjab Mail' train now runs with electric and diesel tractions. The modern train is depicted with an electric engine pulling a sleeper class coach. It is flanked by two miniature older versions of the 'Punjab Mail' with the steam engines pulling the old wooden coaches. The trains are shown emerging out of a tunnel.

This tableau also depicts a ground element, consisting of railway employees and family members of railway employees from Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala who shall perform the 'Bhangra' Dance in front of the tableau to celebrate the spirit of the train.

The tableau shall evoke the past and will lead the public at large into the present.

'Punjab Mail', earlier known as "Punjab Limited" is the first train to achieve distinction of entering its 100th year on Indian Railways broad gauge network. The Central Railway has calculated its "birth date" based on an old document (a cost estimate paper of 1911).

The train in the beginning during British ruled India, traversed 2496 km route and passed through Itarsi, Agra, Delhi, Amritsar and Lahore before terminating at Pehsawar Cantonment. 'Punjab Mail' whose services were primarily meant for the upper class white sahibs, started its services for the lower classes by mid 1930 by introducing third class compartments.

It was in 1945, just a couple of years before India got independence, that the Punjab Mail got its first air-conditioned car.

Since independence in 1947, this train has been running between the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai (formerly known as Victoria Terminus) and Firozepur in Punjab. The 24-coach train, a mix of air-conditioned and ordinary sleepers now traverses a distance of 1930 km. (ANI)