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Railway Employment

These pages provide guidance to family historians on how to use sources from the India Office Records such as occupational descriptions or types of documents (wills, pensions or ecclesiastical records for example).

Before the turn of the 20th century, most railways in India were privately owned and managed. They were later purchased by the Government of India and either managed by the state or leased back to private management. By 1947, most were both owned and managed by the state - in other words, by the British Government of India.

Records of the State Railways

  • For apointments to State Railways made in the UK 1855-1946, see L/F/8/1-20. Index Z/L/F/8/1-2.
  • Histories of Service, 1884-1953 see V/12/51-52, 54-62 & 66-80.
  • Civil Lists, Public Works Department 1861-1904, see V/13/195-213, officers and workmen of State Railways only.
  • Civil Lists, Railway Board, Department and Ministry 1905-57, see V/13/227-43, officers and workmen of State Railways and officers of privately managed railways.
  • Lists of State Railway employees 1884-1900, see L/F/10/229-44.
  • Half-yearly lists of officers aof the Burma Railway Company 1922-28, see L/F/10/250.
  • Annual lists of Covenanted Railway Employees 1927-36 & 1937-47, see L/SG/6/64 & 860.
  • Lists of railway employees are given in Bengal, Madras and Bombay directories and in Thacker's Indian Directory.

Other Railway Companies

  • Bengal Central Railway Company, see L/AG/46/4/11, List of Employees 1886-96.
  • Burma Railway Company, L/AG/46/6/17-18 List of Employees 1898-1921.
  • Calcutta and South-East Railway Company, L/AG/46/4/13 Staff appointments made from UK 1856-66.
  • Eastern Bengal Railway Company, L/AG/46/10/35 Staff appointments made from UK 1862-69, and lists of staff 1879-81.
  • East India Railway Company, L/AG/46/11/133-137 Staff appointments made from UK 1858-1925. L/AG/46/11/138-141 Half-yearly Lists of Staff 1861-1890 and 1911-22.
  • Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company, L/AG/46/12/86-88 Staff appointments made from UK 1881-1925 and index to appointments made in the UK 1848-1880.
  • Sind (Punjab, Delhi) Railway Company, L/AG/46/17/12 Lists of Staff 1868-69.
  • South Indian Railway Company, L/AG/466/18/1-4 Staff appointments made from UK 1891-1940.