Indian Railways

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Indian Railways (IR) is a body under the ownership of Ministry of Railways, Government of India.[1] It operates India's national railway system. It manages the fourth largest national railway system in the world by size. It has a total route length of 67,956 km (42,226 mi) as of 31 March 2022. 83% (Length: 52,247 km (32,465 mi)) of all the broad-gauge routes are electrified with 25 kV 50 Hz AC electric traction as of 1 April 2022.

Rail Bhavan, headquarters of Indian Railways

In the freight segment, IR runs 9,475 trains daily.[2] The average speed of freight trains is around 42.2 km/h (26.2 mph). The maximum speed of freight trains varies from 60–75 km/h (37–47 mph) depending on their axle load.

As of March 2020, Indian Railways' rolling stock consisted of 2,93,077 freight wagons, 76,608 passenger coaches and 12,729 locomotives.[2] IR owns locomotive and coach-production facilities at different locations in India. It had 1.254 million employees as of March 2020. It makes the world's eighth-largest employer.[2] The government has committed to electrifying India's entire rail network by 2023–24. IR also committed to become a "net zero (carbon emissions) railway" by 2030.[3]

History[change | change source]

The first railway proposals for India were made in Madras in 1832.[4] The country's first transport train, Red Hill Railway (built by Arthur Cotton to transport granite for road-building), ran from Red Hills to the Chintadripet bridge in Madras in 1836-1837.[4]

India's first passenger train, operated by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway and hauled by three steam locomotives (Sahib, Sindh and Sultan), ran for 34 kilometres (21 mi) with 400 people in 14 carriages on 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge track between Bori Bunder (Mumbai) and Thane on 16 April 1853.[5][6]

On 24 February 1873, a 3.8 km (2.4 mi) tram opened in Calcutta between Sealdah and Armenian Ghat Street.[7] On 9 May 1874, a horse-drawn tramway began operation in Bombay between Colaba and Parel.[8]

In 1986, computerized ticketing and reservations were introduced in New Delhi.[9] In 1988, the Shatabdi Express was introduced between New Delhi and Jhansi; it was later extended to Bhopal.[10] Two years later, the first self-printing ticket machine (SPTM) was introduced in New Delhi.[11] In 1993, air-conditioned three-tier coaches and a sleeper class (separate from second class) were introduced on IR. The CONCERT system of computerized reservations was deployed in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in September 1996. In 1998, coupon validating machines (CVMs) were introduced at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. The nationwide concierge system began operation on 18 April 1999. In February 2000, the Indian Railways website went online.[12]

The story of Indian Railways began over a century and a half ago during British colonial rule. The first train journey in India took place in 1853, covering a distance of 34 km from Bombay (now Mumbai) to Thane. Since then, the Indian Railways has come a long way, evolving into one of the world's largest railway networks.

Organisation[change | change source]

Indian Railways is headed by a Four-member Railway Board. The chairman of the board reports to the Ministry of Railways. The Railway Board also acts as the Ministry of Railways. The officers working in the office of Railway Board are mostly from organised Group A Railway Services and Railway Board Secretariat Service.

IR is divided into 18 zones, headed by general railway managers or GRM. GRMs report to the Railway Board.[2]

The zones are further subdivided into 71 operating divisions, headed by divisional railway managers (DRM).[13][14][15] The divisional officers of the various categories - engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal and telecommunication, stores, accounts, personnel, operating, commercial, security and safety branches - report to their respective DRMs. They are tasked with the operation and maintenance of assets.

Station masters control individual stations and train movements within their stations' territory. In addition, there are a number of production units, training establishments, public sector enterprises and other offices working under the control of the Railway Board.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. "[IRFCA] Indian Railways FAQ: IR History: Early Days – 1". Archived from the original on 7 March 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Indian Railways Year Book 2020-21" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-11-14. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  3. "Thumbs up! Indian Railways to go eco-friendly by becoming world's 1st 100% electrified and 'Net-Zero' railway". TheFinancial Express. 16 October 2019. Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "[IRFCA] India's First Railways".
  5. "164 Years Ago On This Day, India's First Train Ran From Mumbai To Thane". 16 April 2017. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  6. "India's 1st train: When Sahib, Sindh & Sultan blew steam – Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  7. "Kolkata's trams – A ride through history". 2 March 2016. Archived from the original on 29 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  8. "The Evolution of Trams in Mumbai". The Urban Imagination – Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Harvard University. Archived from the original on 11 October 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. "IT Audit of Indian Railways Passenger reservation System (2007)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  10. "Shatabdi Express – Shatabdi Express Train, Shatabadi Express Timetable, Shatabadi Express Schedule Booking India". Archived from the original on 15 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  11. "Happy Birthday Indian Railways! First passenger train started 165 years ago; unknown facts about the network". Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  12. "Indian Railway". Archived from the original on 24 July 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  13. Singh, Vijay Pratap (27 February 2010). "SMS complaint system: A Northern Railway brainwave spreads". Indian Express. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  14. Indian Railways Facts and Figures (2011–2012). Ministry of Railways, Government of India. 2012. p. personnel. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  15. "Zones and their Divisions in Indian Railways" (PDF). Indian Railways. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2011.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Aguiar, Marian. Tracking Modernity: India's Railway and the Culture of Mobility (University of Minnesota Press; 2011) 226 pages; draws on literature, film, and other realms to explore the role of the railway in the Indian imagination. excerpt and text search
  • Bear, Linda. Lines of the Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy, and the Intimate Historical Self (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Hurd, John, and Ian J. Kerr. India’s Railway History: A Research Handbook (Brill: 2012), 338pp
  • Kerr, Ian J. Railways in Modern India (2001) excerpt and text search
  • Kerr, Ian J. Engines of Change: The Railroads That Made India (2006)
  • Kumar, Sudhir, and Shagun Mehrotra. Bankruptcy to Billions: How the Indian Railways Transformed Itself (2009)
  • Macpherson, W. J. "Investment in Indian Railways, 1845-1875." Economic History Review, 8#2, 1955, pp. 177–186 online
  • "IRFCA : FAQ - Table of Contents". Indian Railways Fan Club. Retrieved 19 June 2005.
  • "IRCTC". Indian Railways. Retrieved 19 June 2005.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

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