Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Railways of India

Indian railway system is the largest in Asia and the fourth largest in the world. It is the biggest departmental public undertaking in the country.

The first train ran in India between Bombay and Thane, a stretch of 34 km. on April 16 1853.

The Indian Railways celebrated its 150th anniversary on April 16, 2003. To commemorate the occasion, 16 January – Shatabadi inter – city express trains were announced to be inducted.

The second train ran between Howrah and Hooghly in 1854.

The headquarters of Indian Railway is in New Delhi.

The first electric train in India was ‘Deccan Queen’. It was introduced in 1929 between Bombay and Poona.

Indian Railways has the second biggest electrified system in the world after Russia.

The fastest train in India is the Shatabadi Express whose maximum speed is 140 km/hr.

The total route covered is approx 63,000 km.

The total number of railway stations in India is 7,100.

The longest railway platform in India is at Kharagpur (W.B.).

Mumbai is the destination where maximum number of trains in India head for.

The longest train route is of ‘Himsagar Express’ from Jammu Tavi to Kanyakumari. It covers a distance of 3,726 km and passes through ten states.

The first Metro Rail was introduced in Kolkata (W.Bengal) on October 24, 1984. The two stations connected were Dumdum and Belgachhia.

The Indian Railways operate in three different gauges:

  1. Broad Gauge Railway (Distance between rails is 1.67 m).
  2. Metre Gauge Railways (Distance between rails is 1.00 m).
  3. Narrow Gauge Railways India (Distance between rails is 0.762 or 0.610 m).

The broad gauge accounts for nearly 50% route followed by metre gauge (43%) and the remaining by narrow gauge.

Indian railways are divided into 16 zones, headed by a General Manager who is responsible to the Railway Board, for all matters.

Railway Zones

Head Quarters


Mumbai VT




New Delhi

North Eastern


North-East Frontier




South Central


South Eastern



Mumbai Churchgate

East Coast


East Central


North Central


North Western


South Western


West Central


South-East Central


  • Northern Railway (NR) is the largest railway zone having length of 10,995 km.
  • North – East Frontier (NEF) is the smallest railway zone having just 3,860 km route length.
  • Konkan Railways India: It is a project to shorten the distance between Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The total route length is 786 km between Apta (Maharashtra) and Mangalore (Karnataka).

Railway Manufacturing Units:

  • Chittaranjan Locomotive Works: Located in Chittaranjan (W.B) and manufactures electric engines.
  • Diesel Locomotive Works: Located in Varanasi (U.P) and manufactures diesel engines.
  • Integral Coach Factory in India: Located in Perambur (TN) and manufactures rail coaches.
  • Wheel and Axle Plant: Located at Yalahaka (Bangalore, Karnataka) and manufactures wheels and axles.
  • Diesel Component Works: Located at Patiala (Punjab) and manufactures components of diesel engines.
  • Rail Coach Factory in India: Located at Kapurthala (Punjab) and manufactures rail coaches.

Konkan Railway

The Konkan Railway was the missing link between India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, and Mangalore. The 760-kilometre line connects Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka States — a region of criss-crossing rivers, plunging valleys and mountains that soar into the clouds.

The Konkan is a coastal strip of land bounded by the Sahyadri hills on the east, and Arabian Sea on the west. It is a land where mythology breathes side by side with economic growth, a land with rich mineral resources, dense forest cover and a landscape fringed with paddy, coconut and mango trees. The formidable terrain to be conquered and the short construction period meant that the project could only be completed with the help of several technological innovations.

Apart from setting a trend for other infrastructure projects in the country, the Konkan Railway provides concrete proof of the skills of Indian engineers, their discipline, team spirit and courage. But it is also a tribute to the unconquerable human spirit. Beyond the technical jargon, it was a leap of faith that made the long cherished dream of the people of the region possible. The Konkan Railway has also in a way changed the lives of the Engineers and other people associated with the project. For them it was the glory of overcoming all odds, and the satisfaction and pride that they have built something for posterity. The completion of the Konkan Railway was a “tryst with destiny” for many people in the Konkan region, redeemed in the 50th year of the nation’s Independence. It is hence entirely fitting that the first train on the completed track was flagged off on January 26, 1998, Republic Day.

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