Railway enthusiasts worldwide can now undertake a virtual journey with the Indian Railways, one of the largest and the busiest rail networks, on Google’s Arts and Culture platform. The Ministry of Railways, on Friday, partnered with the U.S.-based technology company for an online showcase of its history, museums as well as some of the network’s more scenic routes .
The virtual tour will enable users to explore more than 150 different places associated with the Indian Railways. “Anyone can now explore India’s railways in detail with over 100 exhibitions that bring together more than 3,000 images, 150 videos and 150 iconic locations across India,” Google said in a statement.
Users can also get a glimpse at the vintage maps of the East Indian Railways that the British had used during the colonial era to connect Calcutta (modern day Kolkata) with the North-Western Provinces or the oldest functioning steam engines in the world — the Fairy Queen — or take a behind the scenes peek at the Darjeeling loco shed or discover scenic routes such as the Kalka-Shimla railway and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
“Over 1,51,000 kilometres of track, 7,000 stations, 1.3 million employees and 160 years of history…Indian Railways is one of the most celebrated railway networks in the world,” Google said. “We’re bringing Indian Railways’ heritage and sights to the entire world.”
Amit Sood, Director, Google Cultural Institute, told The Hindu: “I think there is no other country on our platform with whom we have done a project on what most people consider a public utility service like the railways. But converting that to what it means for the lifeline of the country… there is no narrative like that in any of the markets as of yet.”
He added that the project might inspire other countries to do something similar. “What we are seeing is that India is moving on our platform from being part of the global project to being ‘the’ project starting from India, expanding to the world.”
The project: ‘The Railways — Lifeline of a Nation’, will also bring out the stories of trackmen, station incharge officials and workshop engineers. “We operate in 70 countries. What we have learnt is that you have to bring to the forefront local narratives,” Mr. Sood said.