NEW DELHI: Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal has launched ‘Rail Heritage Digitisation Project‘ of Indian Railways in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture here today through video-conferencing.
The project is a landmark effort, first of its kind in this part of the globe, to showcase country’s Rail Heritage to the National and International audience in an online story-telling platform.
Chairman, Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani, other Railway Board Members, Vice President, South East Asia and India, Google, Rajan Anandan, Director, Google Cultural Institute, Amit Sood, other Railway Board Officials, Dignitaries from Google, UNESCO representatives and Railway Enthusiasts were among those present on the occasion.
Goyal said that this project is the largest cultural heritage digitization project not only in India but possibly the Asia Pacific Region.
He expressed the hope that collaborative efforts will continue to expand the project further and possibly make it the largest such endeavour to preserve Railway Heritage in the world.
Goyal described this project as the gift from the 13 Lakh Railways employees to the 130 crore citizens of India”.
Introducing this collaborative digital project between Indian Railways and Google Arts & Culture, Rajan Anandan, Vice President, South East Asia and India, Google described it as an extension of their partnership with Indian Railways of providing public with Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations.
He described it as an endeavour to bring incredible Indian Rail Heritage online.
Director, Google Cultural Institute, Amit Sood, said that Google is committed to preserving and breathing new life into artistic and cultural treasures around the world. He added that the extraordinary wealth of heritage, history and culture that Indian Railways inherits, is truly fascinating, and a treat for both the young and the old.
This project is all about the iconic moments, the movements, and the making of Indian Railways, which today is the backbone of the country in many ways.
The project can be accessed here:
Railways in India started its journey on April 16, 1853, between Boribunder and Thane.
Since then Railways India not only expanded to be one of the largest networks in the world but also significantly contributed to the social, technological and economic development of this country.
Today we have three World Heritage Railways: DHR, NMR, KSR and two World Heritage Buildings (CSMT, Churchgate), still unique feat in this part of the Globe (The other two World Heritage Railways are in Europe).
In collaboration with Google Art & Culture, IndianRailways have been able to digitize National Rail Museum, Rewari Steam Centre, three World Heritage Railways, CSMT Mumbai building and other prominent aspects of country’s rail heritage.
Indian Railways has also created one of the largest repositories of industrial heritage in the World. Glimpses of Railway history and evolution are captured in 33 Rail Museums and Heritage Galleries, four World Heritage Sites, hundreds of buildings, bridges, locomotives, coaches, other rolling stocks, artefacts etc.
Conservation of these industrial relics also helps in promoting tourism, preserving traditional skills and communication with people.
Digitization of rail heritage provides immense opportunity to contextualize artefact and other heritage assets with the stories thus becoming more meaningful to the next generation.
Digital heritage also removes the bottleneck of being physically there and thus providing universal access to the large repository of knowledge.
With over 151,000 kilometres of track, 7,000 stations, 1.3 million employees and 160 years of history, the Indian Railway is one of the most celebrated railway networks in the world.
Bringing this journey to the forefront, Google Arts & Culture’s new online collection is a story-telling marvel, and will make India’s rich rail-heritage and legacy digitally accessible to people in India around the world.
The 75 online exhibitions, 3500+ images and 200 videos, will offer an in-depth exploration of the sights, sounds and significance of India’s railways.
Heritage routes with a 360-degree panoramic view of iconic railway stations, including Kalka-Shimla, Nilgiri Mountain Railway Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, and Kangra Valley Railway.
The exhibition will also bring alive the lost stories and heroic efforts of people like the track-man, station master, and workshop engineers, to celebrate their contribution.