Wednesday, April 19, 2017


A philately exhibition being held at the Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. 

Since the first train on Indian tracks began its journey from Mumbai to Thane on April 16, 1853, Indian Railways have come a long way.

For those who wish to take a peek into its 164-year-long journey, ‘Lifeline of India,’ a philately exhibition organised by the Southern Railway as part of the 62nd Railway week celebrations would be a good place to start.

From the postal stamp issued to commemorate the centenary of the first rail run, to one showcasing the Golden Chariot, a luxury train traversing South India, the exhibition covers the many milestones of the evolution of the Railways.

Toneesh Thomas, the philatelist behind the exhibition, is a railway man himself. A Chief Ticket Inspector at Southern Railways, the Ernakulam resident has completed 27 years in service.

An avid lover of postal stamps since childhood, Mr. Thomas has been collecting railway-related stamps since he joined the organisation. He is also a veteran quiz master, having conducted over 800 quizzes, including quiz shows on All India Radio and a Malayalam television channel.

Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that Mr. Thomas's collection is a treasure trove on trivia about the Railways.

For instance, a stamp issued in 2009 honours the Dabhoi-Miyagam railway line in Baroda, the world’s oldest continuously working narrow gauge line. The line, when it was set up in 1862 under the leadership of a native ruler, had carried locomotives powered by oxen, earning them the moniker of ‘Bullock Tram.’

Stamps issued to celebrate anniversaries of railway stations, including the Thiruvananthapuram Central and Kozhikode stations, and those honouring former railway ministers are other highlights of the collection.

Mr. Thomas’s other collections include those on Mahatma Gandhi, the independence struggle, the tourism sector of Kerala and India, and wild life.

The exhibition, organised at platform number 1 of the Thiruvananthapuram Central Station, ends on Wednesday.


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