Researching Indian Railway Staff
Information on employees of the Indian Railways can be found in the
British Library's Oriental and Indian Office in Blackfriars Road London.
The following section is a transcript of A brief Guide to Biographical
Sources in the Oriental and Indian Record Office by Baxter on the
The early railways in India were privately owned and managed. Later
most came under state ownership and where either managed by the state or
leased back to private management, while after 1925 most were both owned
and managed by the state.
State Railways in the context means railways owned and managed by the
British Indian Government, not railways of Princely States.
Virtually all of the 'agreements with staff' mentioned in this list
are in fact contracts of appointment made in the UK. A card index to
them is now available.
Railway employment (especially in the lower grades) was largely the
preserve of Eurasians.
For appointments to State Railways made in the UK 1855-1946 see IOR:
L/F/8/1-20, indexes IOR: Z/L/F/8/1-2
Histories of Service, State Railways 1884-1953, IOR: V/12/51-52,
54-62 & 66-80, employees of privately managed railways are not
Civil Lists, Public Works Department 1861-1904, IOR: V/13/227-43,
officers and workmen of State Railways and officers of privately managed
There are lists of State Railways employees 1884-1900 in IOR:
L/F/10/229-44 and half-yearly lists of officers of the Burma Railway
Company 1922-28 in IOR: L/F/10/250
Annual lists of Covenanted Railways Employees 1927-36 & 1937-47
appears in IOR: L/S & G/6/64 & 860
Lists of railway employees are given in *Bengal, Madras and Bombay
directories and in *Thacker's Indian Directory
Bengal Central Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/4/11 List of employees
Burma Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/7/17-18 List of employees
Calcutta and South-East Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/4/13 Agreements
with staff 1859-66
Eastern Bengal Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/10/35 Agreements with
staff 1862-69, and lists of staff 1879-81
East Indian Railway Company IOR:
L/AG/46/11/133-37 Agreements with staff c1858-1925. IOR:
L/AG/46/11/138-41 Half-yearly lists of staff 1861-90 & 1911-22,
giving age from 1886
Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/12/86-88
Agreements with employees 1881-1925 and index to appointments made in
the UK 1848-80
Sind (Punjab, Delhi) Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/17/12 Lists of
South Indian Railway Company IOR: L/AG/46/18/1-4 Agreements with
These files contain the indexes for all types of contracts (including
employment) placed by the East Indian Railway.
These files contain the actual signed contracts. They all appear to be
a standard pre-printed contract giving very little information..
Volumes 138/139 contains books of typed (and in some cases with entries
made by hand) lists of employees arranged in alphabetical order. The books
were published 6 monthly on the 1st January and 1st July.
They contain the following data:
- First date of appointment
- Place of Employment
Volumes 140/141 contains bound books of employees sorted by departments
and positions. The books were published bi-annually on the 1st January and
1st July. Each book is indexed by name.
The title of the books are:
East Indian Railway Classified List
Europeans, East Indians and Superior
Native Staff and Distribution Returns
of Supervising Staff of all Dept.
Locomotive Department. - (Contd.)
Subordinate Establisment - (Contd.)
on 1st July 1911
of appointment to service.
and Assistants. - (Contd.)
Hek, E. E.
Includes charge allowance.
Includes double charge allowance.