A visit to Northern Railway Printing Press and Stationery Depot

Going silent after decades of operation

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Northern Railway
The Northern Railway Printing Press and Stationery Depot, originally one of the 17 printing presses of the Indian Railways, was the biggest both in terms of area and manpower. Photo IPP

Nestled in a lush green belt, which also serves as a natural habitat to peacocks, eagles and several species of snakes near west Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh, is the Shakur Basti Northern Railway Printing Press and Stationery Depot. The last of the remaining five presses owned and operated by Indian Railways that will go silent after decades in operation.

Until now, the printing presses have been catering to a variety of printing jobs, including express fare ticket (EFT) books, PRS and PSU train tickets, general forms, books, RPF items, reservation slips, PTOs, and first and second class railway passes.

This unit is among the five remaining that will be shut. The others are at Byculla in Mumbai, Howrah, Royapuram in Chennai and Secunderabad.

The Northern Railway Printing Press and Stationery Depot, originally one of the 17 printing presses of the Indian Railways, was the biggest both in terms of area and manpower. In its golden days, the press employed close to 1,500 people, which has now trickled down to a mere 140.

Northern Railway
The 2014 Rototec perfect NT 004 nine color printing press at Shakur Basti Northern Railway Printing Press and Stationery Depot. Photo IPP

The depot houses an array of printing and binding equipment, including a HMT SOM 136 single color sheetfed offset printing machine, a 2014 Rototec perfect NT 004 nine color printing press, a 1987 Sud & Waren four color printing press, a Rekord paper cutting machine and perfect binding equipment.

Established in 1954, the Shakur Basti depot used to stock and deliver stationery for different railway stations of the Northern Railway.

The press also houses a lath machine – the Poly Master PMS/60 – Export (Type A) — for sharpening of spare parts and an adjoining workshop where electrical and mechanical requirements of the presses were made.

All that will be past now.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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