General Studies Railway Network in India
Transportation network are among the most important building blocks in the economic development of a country. The structure and performance of transportation networks reflects the case of traveling and transferring goods among different parts of a country, thus affecting trade and other aspects of the economy. Railways are one of most prominent modes of transportation in many countries across the world. The Indian Railway Network (IRN) or Indian Railway Network is one of the largest and busiest railway networks in the world, handling massive numbers of passengers and quantities of goods daily. Railways are the most popular means of long-distance transportation in India, Hence,Indian Railway Network or the IRN is often described as the backbone of nation’s economy.
Indian Railways is known to be the largest railway network in Asia and world’s largest railway system under a single management. It employs about 1.6 million people, making itself the second largest commercial or utility employer in the world.
History of Indian Railways
Railways were the most important infrastructure development in India from 1850 to 1947. They were inter-connected with all aspects of Indian society. Development of railways in India is credited to Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor-General of India.
The first passenger line measuring 20 miles opened on April 16, 1853 connecting the port of Bombay (Now Mumbai) to Thane. Subsequent connections from the ports of Calcutta (Now Kolkata) and Madras (Now Chennai) to the interior opened in 1854 and 1856 respectively.
The network grew rapidly in the nineteenth century, especially in the 1880s and 1890s. Route mileage increased from 9308 in 1880 to 24752 in 1900 representing an average annual growth rate of 7.5%. The rapid pace of development slowed in the twentieth century and by the 1920s mileage growth averaged 1.3% per year.
After independence in 1947, forty-two separate railway systems, including thirty-two lines owned by the former Indian princely states, were amalgamated to form a single unit named the Indian Railways. The existing rail networks were abandoned in favour of zones in 1951 and a total of six zones came into being in 1952. As the economy of India improved, almost all railway production units were
‘indigenised’ (produced in India). By 1985, steam locomotives were phased out in favour of diesel and electric locomotives. The entire railway reservation system was streamlined with computerisation between 1987 and 1995.
In 2003, the Indian Railways celebrated 150 years of its existence. Various zones of the railways celebrated the event by running heritage trains on routes similar to the ones on which the first trains in the zones ran. The Ministry of Railways commemorated the event by launching a special logo celebrating the completion of 150 years of service. Also launched was a new mascot for the 150th year celebrations, named Bholu: The Guard Elephant.
Organisational Structure of Indian Railways
Indian Railways is a department owned and controlled by the government of India, via the Ministry of Railways, the Union Minister for Railways and assisted by Ministers of State for Railways. Indian Railways is administered by Railway Board, which has six members and a chairman.
Indian Railways is divided into Zones, which are further sub-divided into Divisions. The number of zones in Indian Railways increased from 6 to 8 in 1951, 9 in 1952, and finally 16 in 2002-03.
The Kolkata Metro was included in Railway zones on December 31, 2010 and now the number of Railway Zones in India is 17. Each Zonal Railway is made up of a certain number of Divisions, each having a divisional headquarters, there are a total of 67 Divisions.
Each of the 17 Zones, as well as the Kolkata Metro, is headed by a General Manager (GM), who reports directly to the Railway Board, and Divisions are under the control of Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs).
Further down the hierarchy tree, are the Station Masters, who control individual stations and the train movement through the track territory under their Station’s Administration.
Railway Zones and their Headquarters
|Central Railway||Mumbai CST|
|Northern Railway||New Delhi|
|North Eastern Railway||Gorakhpur|
|North East Frontier||Maligaon|
|South Central Railway||Secunderabad|
|South Eastern Railway||Kolkata|
|East Central Railway||Hajipur|
|East Coast Railway||Bhubaneshwar|
|North Central Railway||Allahabad|
|South East Central Railway||Bilaspur|
|South Western Railway||Hubli|
|West Central Railway||Jabalpur|
Notable Trains of Indian Railways
♦ The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is a World Heritage Site. A narrow gauge train with a steam locomotive is classified as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
♦ The Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the Nilgiri Hills in Southern India, is also classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also the only rack railway in India.
♦ The Palace on Wheels is a specially designed train, lugged by a steam engine, for promoting tourism in Rajasthan.
♦ The Samjhauta Express train ran between India and Pakistan.
♦To make the 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, The train named Epar Bangla Opar Bangala — Sonar Tori will be started in abid to forge closer cross-border ties between India-Bangladesh once completed. West Bengal and Tripura would be linked through Bangladesh via the Sonar Tori train and connect the land-locked Northeast to the Indian Heartland.
♦ The Lifeline Express is a special train popularty known as Hospital-on-Wheels which provides health care to the rural areas.
♦ Himsagar Express between Kanyakumari and Jammu Tawi, has the longest train run in terms of distance and time on Indian Railways network. It covers ; 3745 km (2327 mi) in about 74 hours.
♦ The Vivek Express, between Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari, has the longest run in ; terms of distance and time on Indian : Railways network. It covers 4286 km (2663 mi) in about 82 hours and 30 minutes. I
♦ The Kalka Shimia Railway recently featured in the Guinness Book for offering the steepest rise in altitude in the space of; 96 km.
♦ The first double decker AC train was Pune-Mumbai Sinhagad Express
running between Pune-Mumbai.
♦ Duronto Express are the non-stop point to point rail services, connect the Metros and major State capitals of India.
♦ Rajdhani Express are all air-conditioned trains linking major cities to New Delhi.
♦ Garib Rath, fully air-conditioned train,; designed for those who cannot afford to travel in the expensive Shatabdis and i Rajdhani Expresses.
♦ Deccan Odyssey, started by Maharashtra ; government, covering various tourist: destinations in Maharashtra and Goa.
♦ Golden Chariot, started by Karnataka ; government, connecting popular tourist ■ destinations in Goa and Karnataka.
Manufacturing Units of Indian Railways
Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) manufactures Electric Locomotives- 25 kv AC Loco with three phase AC drive, 25 kv AC Locomotive with DC drive. It is one of the largest electric locomotive manufacturer in the world. It has been named after the great freedom fighter, leader, and statement Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das. The initial product of CLW was ‘Steam’locomotive.
Central Organization for Railway Electrification (CORE) was set up in 1973 under the Ministry of Railways at Allahabad. The responsibility entrusted was the carry out railway electrification over the entire network of Indian Railways. As of now about 60.2% of freight and 50.5% of passenger traffic is hauled by electric traction on Indian Railways.
Diesel Locomotive Works
It is an ISO 9001, ISO 1400, and OHS 18001 certified organisation.
■ It was set-up as a greenfield project in technology, in collaboration with ALLO, USA for manufacture of diesel electric locomotives. In 1964, first locomotive rolled out and dedicated to the nation.
■ The organization is strive for continuous improvement in the areas of product quality, research and development . With emphasis on CORE competence leading to customer satisfaction and business excellence.
Diesel Loco Modernisation Works
It was set-up in 1981 with the assistance of World Bank. It started the components manufacturing in 1988 along with the manufacturing of traction machines and engine blocks.
Integral Coach Factory, Chennai
It is a premier production unit of Indian Railways manufacturing railway passenger coaches.
As milestones in this endless travels, ICF has obtained the ISO-9001, ISO-1400, ISO-8001, and Golden Peacock, Eco-Innovation Award-2012.
Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) LTD
It is a public sector undertaking of Government of India under Ministry of Railways. It was incorporated under Companies Act 1956 on July 12, 1999. The corporation was involved in the planning and development of Mumbai Suburban Rail System.
Rail Coach Factory (Kapurthala)
Established in 1986, RCF is a coach manufacturing unit of Indian Railways. It has manufactured around 16000 passenger coaches of 51 different types including self propelled passenger vehicles which constitute over 35% of total population of coaches on Indian Railways.
The RCF achieved excellence in design, development, manufacture, installation and after-sales service of railway coaches with a view to ensure enhanced satisfaction of the rail customer.
Rail Wheel Factory
Rail wheel factory is situated in Bengaluru, meeting the bulk of the requirement of wheels, axles and wheel sets for the Indian Railways.
The plant is certified to ISO-9001, 2008 and ISO-14001. It is also certified to confirm to the quality assurance programme of Association of American Railroads (AAR) in respect of manufacture of new wheels and axels.
Rail Coach Factory (Raebareli)
Popularly labelled as the ‘Dream Project’, the project was sanctioned under the supplementary demand for grants for the Railways in 2006.
The objective of this project is to set up facilities for manufacture of modern design coaches for the Indian Railways, simultaneously aiding development and generation of employment opportunities in the area.
Indian Railways carries a huge variety of goods, ranging from mineral ores, fertilizers and petrochemicals, agricultural produce, iron and steel, multimodal traffic and others. Many important freight stops have dedicated flat farms and independent lines.
Indian Railways make 70% of its revenues and most of its profits from the freight sector. Most of its freight earnings come from such rakes carrying buck goods such as coal, cement, food grains and iron ore. Due to increase in manufacturing transport in India, transportation by rail became advantageous financially.
♦ The Northern Railways opened India’s longest tunnel piercing through the Pir Panjal range in : Jammu & Kashmir. The tunnel is part of the ambitious Udhampur – Srinagar – Baramulla rail; link project of Northen Railways. At 10.96 km long, the Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel is India’s : longest and Asia’s second longest tunnel, aimed at reducing the travel distance between , Quazigund and Banihal to only 11 km and providing a hassle-free travel up to Baramulla.
♦Indian Railways uses four gauges, the 1676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge, which is wider; than the 1435 mm (4 ft 8.5 in) standard gauge; the 1000 mm (3 ft 3 3/8 in) metre gauge; and two narrow gauges, 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) and 610 mm (2 ft). Track sections are ; rated for speeds ranging from 75 to 160 km/h (47 to 99 mph).
♦ The total length of track used by Indian Railways is about 115000 km (71000 mi) while the I total route length of the network is 65000 km (40000 mi). About 22224 km (13809 mi) or • 34% of the route-kilometre was electrified as on March 31, 2012.
♦Indian Railways is the world’s ninth largest commercial or utility employer, by number of; employees, with over 1.4 million employees. As for rolling stock, IR holds over 229381 i Freight Wagons, 59713 Passenger Coaches and 9213 Locomotives.
♦ The trains have a 5-digit numbering system as the Indian Railways runs about 10000 trains : daily. As of March 31 2012, 22224 km (34%) of the total 65000 km (40000 m) route .
Frame of Indian Railways
|Founded||April 16, 1853|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, India|
|Services||Passenger Railways/ Freight Services/ Parcel Services/ Catering and Tourism Services/ Parking Lot Operations|
|Owner||Government of India (100%)|
|Parent||Ministry of Railways through Railway Board.|
|Track Gauge||Broad gauge (1676 mm), Meter gauge (1000 mm), Narrow gauge (962 mm, 610 mm)|
■ Strive to regain central role in India’s transport system and became engine of economic growth.
■ Transform into an efficient world class system, catering to the diverse needs of its customers.
■ Estimated originating freight traffic more than 2050 million tonnes by 2025.
■ Only nation amongst the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries expected to grow at 5% or more for the next forty-five years.
■Will become one of the three largest economies in 30 years.
■Customer centric modern passenger services and various freight schemes to sharpen competitive edge of railways-passanger services
governed by two words (comfort and convenience).
■Focus on increasing volumes through changes in operations and maintenance practices.
■Increase in axle load.
■Reduced rolling stock examination requirements
■Improved handling at terminals resulting in vastly improved productivity of rolling stock assets. Better pricing-based on sound economic principles leading to surge in revenges as traffic volumes increased.
■Much to be exploited within system-more effective utilization of assets.
Kakodkar Committee on Railway Safety
A high level Safety Review Committee constituted by the Ministxy of Railways, headed by the eminent scientist Dr Anil Kakodkar. Major recomme- ndations of the committee include
■ Elimination of all level crossings (manned and unmanned) in the next five years with an estimated cost of ? 50000 crore.
■ Maintenance of safety related infrast-ructure at a cost of ? 20000 crore.
■ Implementation of Advance Signaling System through Special Purpose Vehicle covering 19000 km of trunk route with an estimated cost of T 50000 crore.
■ All new coaches will be safer LBH type with a total cost of ? 100000 crore.
■ Total financial implication for the implementation of the committee report is ? 100000 crore which has to be funded by safety cess on passengers, deferred dividend, grant by central government etc.
Smart Facts of Indian Railways
■First Passenger Train Ran on April 1853 (Between Bombay to Thane).
■First Railway Bridge Dapoorie viaduct on Mumbai-Thane route.
■First Rail Tunnel Pars Ik Tunnel
■First Underground Railway Calcutta Metro
■First Computerized Reservation System Started New Delhi (1986)
■First Electric Train On February 3, 1925 between Bombay VT and Kurla
■Busiest Railway Station Lucknow (64 trains everyday)
■Longest Railway Platform in the World Kharagpur (2733 ft in length)
■Longest Railway Bridge Nehru Setu on Sone river (100444 ft in length)
■Longest Tunnel Karbude tunnel of the Konkan Railways (6.5 km)
■Oldest Preserved Locomotive Fairy Queen (1855) still working.
■Fastest Train Bhopal Shatabdi, runs at a speed of 140(km/h)