PUNJAB MAIL TRAIN
BOMBAY to LAHORE ( Pre 1946 )
This map of India shows the various journeys that Meher Baba made by the Punjab Mail train that are mentioned below, between 1935 and 1948.
The nations of Pakistan & Bangladesh did not exist before the partion of British India in 1946. Those borders are shown only as a guide.
Click on the map and images to enlarge and the under-scored names will take you to their respective web-pages.
This is one of the oldest running train in India since 1912 - 2020 (108 years old). The inaugural run of the Punjab Mail is thought to have taken place on 1 June 1912. Then known as The Punjab Limited, the train initially ran from Ballard Pier ( Bombay ) to Peshawar, taking British officers, civil servants, and their families directly from their ships to Delhi and the North-West frontier of British India.
In 1914, the originating station was moved to Victoria Terminus. Timings till 1947 was Peshawar 09.30 hrs, Lahore 19.45 hrs arr & 20.05 hrs dep, Firozpur 21.35 hrs arr & 21.45 hrs dep arriving 3rd day at Victoria Terminus at 07.30 hrs. During return this train departed Victoria Terminus at 19.10 hrs, reaching Peshawar the 3rd day at 17.10 hrs. Before the partition of India, this train used to cover 2,542 km (1,580 mi) in 46 hrs 00 mins, at a speed of 55.26 km/h (34.34 mph). After the partition of India in 1947, the train's terminus was made at Firozpur on the India-Pakistan border.
Courtesy of Wikipedia
Another classic train of the same era was the Punjab Mail, which ran between Bombay’s Victoria Terminus (VT) and Ferozepore. A train of the same name ran for a while between Calcutta and Delhi. The Punjab Mail made its debut on June 1, 1912. Like the later Frontier Mail, the Punjab Mail too used to connect with the steamships departing from the Port. It was among the fastest trains in the pre-Independence period and by 1945 had air-cooled cars. An extension of the train ran between Ferozepore and Peshawar, Pakistan for some time.
On 17 April, important cables from the West and other urgent letters arrived, reporting on situations that demanded Baba's presence in Nasik. However, Baba did not leave until three days later. Thereafter, even though Baba was fasting on milk only and his body desperately needed rest, he would continually keep on the move coming and going between Nasik and Meherabad during the scorching heat of the summer months.
From Nasik, Dadu was sent to Bombay to learn photography and film work, with Beheram's help. Baba decided to make a brief visit to Bombay on 3 May 1935. Accompanied by Gustadji and Jalbhai, Baba arrived by the Punjab Mail at 10:30 A.M. and stayed at Banubai Confectioner's apartment on Frere Road. No one else was informed of Baba's arrival, since he indicated that he did not wish to meet the public and all requests for interviews were denied. As in previous times, before and after a journey to the West, Kaka and Chanji were already in Bombay, having been sent there by Baba to carry out certain errands, and they met him at Banubai's. Baba visited Malabar Hill and other places in the city. He went to the dentist as a tooth was bothering him, but there was no cavity.
Keki Desai and his wife, Dhun, had been cabled in advance to meet them at the station and arrange for their dinner. Continuing on the same train, the party reached Lahore on the 6th. Chanji had already arranged two bungalows for the women, one for the men and one for guests. He made all the other arrangements for their stay with the help of a local Baba lover, Keki Desai's cousin named Homi T. Desai.
In Lahore, Baba divided the eighteen women into two different groups as follows: First group: Mehera, Mani, Margaret, Meheru, Rano, Kitty and Walu. Second group: Dowla, Irene, Katie, Kharmen Masi, Khorshed, Mansari, Naja, Pilamai, Silla, Soltoon, Soonamasi, and Meheru's brother Jangoo.
The second group were comprised of the men.
After this significant mast work, Baba left Lahore a week later, on Thursday, 12 August 1943, on the Punjab Mail, accompanied by Chanji, Ghani and Jal Kerawalla. They arrived in Delhi the following morning, and were met by Keki Desai's family who, according to Baba's instructions, had brought a meal of dhansak. Continuing, Baba arrived back in Meherabad on the evening of the 14th, where he checked up on the mandali's activities, and gave each instructions about carrying out their duties.
Lahore was now so hot that all the mandali were practically spent. Vishnu had grown weak, and he and Kalemama had fever. Ghani could not stand the constant, relentless heat any longer and begged to be sent back to Lonavla, which Baba permitted.
3 October 1944
The following afternoon, Baba, Baidul and Kaka left Agra on the Punjab Mail for Delhi. They had dinner at Keki Desai's house, where they spent the night ( 4th ). The next day around noon, accompanied by Keki, they left Delhi by train for Mathura, where several masts were contacted, including the greatest in the area, Inayatulla, a sixth-plane saint and the spiritual chargeman of Mathura. This saint was a very tiny old man, quite naked, who loved sweets.
After completing his mast work in Mathura, Baba returned to Delhi the same evening and again had dinner and rested at Keki Desai's.
7 October 1944
Two days later, Baba, Mehera, the other women and the mandali left Agra by the Punjab Mail train, reaching Aurangabad on the 8th at noon. Adi Sr. was waiting to meet them. He had arranged for another bungalow owned by the landlord of Prem Basera (also in the Ghati locality), where Baba had stayed previously.
Leaving Agra by the Punjab Mail at noon on Wednesday, 21 April 1948, Baba returned to Ahmednagar the next afternoon, driven by Adi Sr. from Manmad junction. At the end of the tour Baba explained, "I had planned to contact 56 advanced souls, and this has been done. I am therefore satisfied with the successful conclusion of our trip, though it meant undergoing hardships on the way."