The British had come to Assam in the early 1800’s much before the State had gone under the British rule. They had come to seek for alternates to the Tea of China when their Tea trade with China had run into rough weather. It was here in Assam that they discovered the “Camellia Asamica” (better renowned today as the Assam CTC Tea) and in 1839 the Assam Company was incorporated that started producing and exporting the famous Assam Tea).
But as history tells us, no successful business is established without initial hurdles. The tea factories in upper Assam mostly in the region of ‘Chabua’ (‘Cha’ meaning Tea and ‘Bua’ meaning to Grow) were located at a far of distance from the nearest available River port at Dibrugarh. Transportation from the tea factories to the port became an impossible task due to non availability of proper transportation facilities as at that time most of this region was under thick forest cover. Though God was bountiful enough to provide all the required natural resources for the Tea industry to flourish in this part of the country like coal and oil; transportation of these resources to the tea garden became a much bigger challenge for the British! And as per the teachings of the Best Management Courses courses in the World today, the British too were aware of the fact that only manufacturing a product was not sufficient for it to gather the attention of the buyers – effective selling, marketing and customer reach was necessary to make the product an instant hit!
Learning from this management principle the British decided to set up an efficient Rail route across this part of the country to ensure not only a viable transportation mode to the Dibrugarh port but also to ensure the requisite mineral resources to run these tea factories efficiently reach on time. This Rail route came to be known as the ‘Dibru Sadiya’ railway.
It was in 1881, that the British Raj under the able guidance of Dr. John Berry White and Mr. Benjamin Piercy established the Assam Railways and Trading Company (AR&T Company). This company was constituted with three (3) objectives in mind:
- To constitute an efficient Rail route across the Dibru Sadiya terminal
- To develop the coal mining techniques across the Coal reserves in Makum – namely Tikak, Namdang, Tipong, Tirap, Baragolai and Ledo
- Improving the shipping route and services in the region
Keeping in mind their objectives to reach the above mentioned mission statements the Assam Railways and Trading Company started the construction of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway and it was on the 15th of August, 1882 that the rail route was opened from the Dibrugarh Port to Dinjan. The construction continued and on 23rd December 1882, the rail route was opened ’til Chabua. The route for the passenger train from the Makum junction was opened to public on the 16th of July, 1883.
The memoirs of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway are well preserved at the Railway Heritage Park and Museum at Tinsukia where one can also view Steam Locomotives that built the success story of one the World’s largest Railway Organization – the Indian Railways!
Jungleideas welcomes you to India’s North East to witness the History of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway and its memories at the Heritage Railway Park and Museum, Tinsukia, the State of Assam, Incredible India!