C h r o n o l o g y
1829: First Steamer Bombay - Suez
1835: Overland route through Egypt organized by Thomas F. Waghorn, then via Mahmoudieh Canal, Nile and by horse-drawn "bus" or camels.
1837: Overland route through France, from 1847 partially by rail.
1840: Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
1840: L&SWR London - Southampton, then Indian Mail by P&O steamers via Southampton, 1843 no longer Falmouth.
1846/47: Trials Triest - Oostende, partially by rail.
1855: Railway to Marseille completed.
1856: Railway Alexandria - Cairo completed, initially crossing the Nile near Kafr el Zaiat by train ferry.
1857: Malle des Indes mail train Calais - Marseille
1858: Railway Cairo - Suez, completed.
1868: Railway system Fell Saint-Michel - Mont Cenis - Susa, from 1869 specials for Indian Mail, 1871 closed.
1869: Inauguration of the Suez Canal, but until 1888 also rail was used.
1870: Mail via Oostende - Brenner - Brindisi, Wagons-Lits even were intended by Nagelmackers.
1870: Railway Bombay - Calcutta completed. Before, already sections were used.
1872: Malle des Indes Calais - Frejus Tunnel - Brindisi replaced the Brenner route.
1876: Pullman sleeper Bologna - Brindisi (until 1886)
1877: Rail Rangoon - Prome (Burma)
1878: Delhi - Lahore - Karachi and Peshawar completed
1879: Malle des Indes with a CIWL sleeping car Calais - Bologna (1879 - 86).
1885: Saigon - Mytho, the first railway in Indochina.
1886: Malle with a CIWL sleeper Calais - Brindisi, ex-Pullman
1886: Rail from the Indus valley westward to Quetta via Rindli, in 1887 via Chappar Rift, 1895 via Mushkaf Bolan Route.
1889: Club Train London - Dover, Calais - Paris (until 1893).
1889: Link Bombay - Itarsi - Delhi, then used by the Bombay - Punjab mail (GIPR).
1890: Peninsular-Express, a CIWL de-Luxe Calais-Brindisi, southbound combined with Club Train, northbound with Malle des Indes.
1894: Railway Rangoon - Mandalay completed.
1897: Bambay-Express (CIWL de-Luxe) Calais - Marseille.
c. 1899: European Mail de-Luxe Bombay - Calcutta, 1908 Overland Express or Imperial Mail (by GIPR/EIR)
1902: Hanoi-Dong Dang completed.
1904 : Malle des Indes to Marseille re-introduced.
1906 : Haiphong - Hanoi - Laokay completed, 1910 extended to Yunnanfou (Kunming), 1940 destroyed.
1909: Johore Bahru - Prai completed.
1911: Some mail for a short time sent via Brussels - Strasbourg - Tauern - Triest(?)
1911 or earlier: Special Limited Express Bombay - Madras (by GIPR/MSMR)
1912: P & O Special Bombay - Delhi via Baroda (via BBCIR).
1914: Indo - Ceylon Boat Mail Madras-Dhanushkodi (by SIR, meter gauge), at Talaimannar connecting with the Ceylon Government Railway.
1914: Peninsular-Express and Brindisi route abandoned.
1915: Re-start of the temporarily interrupted Bombay-Express.
1922: Bombay-Express with CIWL's first all-steel sleepers.
1924 or 22: Train de-Luxe Prai-Bangkok with connection from Singapore, later the International Express.
1925: Khyber Pass line to Landi Kotal completed.
1926: (new) Imperial Indian Mail de-Luxe Bombay - Calcutta (GIRP/EIR).
1927: "The Race to Delhi", by the Punjab Limited Express (BBCIR) and the short-lived Punjab Limited (GIPR), both Bombay - Delhi - Peshawar de-Luxe
1932: Meter gauge Phnon Penh - Battambang, later to Thailand.
1936: "Transindochinois" Saigon - Hanoi completed, 1942 interrupted for decades.
1939: End of Malle des Indes and Overland-Express, the former Bombay-Express
1941: International Express Prai - Bangkok interrupted by WWII
1943: "River Kwai" line Thailand - Burma, never really completed.
1947: India liberated, divided up into Pakistan, India and East Pakistan, borders closed after atrocities.
1947: Emergency in Malaya, "pilot trains" secured the passenger trains.
1949: Assam Rail Link (meter gauge), circumventing East Pakistan
1954: Trains Lahore - Amritsar; from 1955 Lahore - Calcutta, 1965 -76 interrupted.
1954: International Express Prai - Bangkok re-introduced, temporarily a Malayan sleeper Kuala Lumpur - Bangkok, now only Butterworth - Bangkok.
1965: Steamer service Dhanushkodi - Talaimannar (Sri Lanka) replaced by Rameswaram - Talaimannar, later stopped.
1967: Punjab Mail re-introduced Bombay-Firozepur.
1968: Rajdhani Express Delhi - Calcutta
1969: Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville (Kompong Sam) completed.
1971: Bahgladesh separated after war, no trains to India
1972: Rajdhani Express Bombay - Baroda - Delhi.
Other Rajdhani Expresses followed.
1978: Gitanjali Express, a fast train Bombay - Nagpur - Calcutta.
1993: Eastern & Oriental Express, a tourist de-Luxe special Singapore - Bangkok - Chiang Mai and Kanchanaburi.
2002: Cross-border traffic Lahore (Pakistan) - India interrupted by war, in 2004 locals re-introduced. Connecting expresses Karachi - Lahore.
2004: Colombo - Galle - Matara interrupted by Tsunami catastrophe. Some north-eastern services had been interrupted long before.
Europe, Egypt and initially Thailand standard gauge; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka 5ft 6in, India and Bangladesh also meter gauge, Burma and South East Asia meter gauge.
In 1967 the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far Est (ECAFE, then ESCAP) of the UN supported a proposal for a trans-Asian railway linking Turkey with India and Thailand. The estimated cost for building the missing links was not even a billion dollar. DB director Friedrich Loehr however found, that nearly 20 billion were necessary in order to make it competitive for freight traffic. Re-opening of the Suez Canal in 1975 made the proposal unrealistic.
© 2007, Germany