The first railway proposals for India were made in Madras in 1832. The country’s first train, Red Hill Railway (built by Arthur Cotton to transport granite for road-building), ran from Red Hills to the Chintadripet bridge in Madras in 1837. In 1845, the Godavari Dam Construction Railway was built by Cotton at Dowleswaram in Rajahmundry, to supply stone for the construction of a dam over the Godavari River. In 1851, the Solani Aqueduct Railway was built by Proby Cautley in Roorkee to transport construction materials for an aqueduct over the Solani River.
On 24 February 1873, a horse-drawn 3.8-kilometre tram opened in Calcutta between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street. On 9 May 1874, a horse-drawn tramway began operation in Bombay between Colaba and Parel. In 1897, lighting in passenger coaches was introduced by many railway companies. On 3 February 1925, the first electric passenger train in India ran between Victoria Terminus and Kurla.
he organisation of Indian railways into regional zones began in 1951, when the Southern (14 April 1951), Central (5 November 1951) and Western (5 November 1951) zones were created. Fans and lights were mandated for all compartments in all passenger classes in 1951, and sleeping accommodations were introduced in coaches. In 1956, the first fully air-conditioned train was introduced between Howrah and Delhi. Ten years later, the first containerized freight service began between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. In 1986, computerized ticketing and reservations were introduced in New Delhi
Railway electrification in India began with the first electric train, between Bombay Victoria Terminus and Kurla on the Harbour Line, on 3 February 1925 on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) at 1500 V DC. Heavy gradients in the Western Ghats necessitated the introduction of electric traction on the GIPR to Igatpuri on the North East line and Pune on the South East line. On 5 January 1928 1500 V DC traction was introduced on the suburban section of the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway between Colaba and Borivili, and between Madras Beach and Tambaram of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway on 11 May 1931, to meet growing traffic needs