The Indian Railways has been a great integrating force during the last more than 150 years. It has bound the economic life of the country and helped in accelerating the development of industry and agriculture. From a very modest beginning in 1853, when the first train steamed off from Mumbai to Thane, a distance of 34 kilometers Indian Railways has grown into a vast network of 6,909 stations spread over a route length of 63,327 kilometers with a fleet of 8,153 locomotives, 45,350 passengers service vehicles, 5,905 other coaching vehicles and 2,07,719 wagons as on 31st March, 2007. The growth of Indian Railways in the 150 years of its existence is thus phenomenal. It has played a vital role in the economic, industrial and social development of the country. The gauge-wise route and track lengths of the systems as on 31st March, 2007 are as under
|Gauge||Route in Km||Running Track in Km||Total Tack in Km|
|Borad Guage (1.676 mm)||49,820||71,015||93,386|
|Meter Guage (1.000 mm)||10,621||11,487||13,412|
|Narrow Guage (762 mm and 610 mm)||2,886||2,888||3,198|
About 28 percent of the route kilometer, 39 per cent of running track kilometer and 41 per cent of total track kilometer is electrified.
The network is divided into 16 zones. Divisions are basic operating units. The 16 zones are their respective headquarters are given below.
|North-East Frontier||Maligaon (Guwahati)|
|Western||Church Gate, Mumbai|
|East Central Railway||Hajipur|
|East Coast Railway||Bhubaneshwar|
|North Central Railway||Allahabad|
|North Western Railway||Jaipur|
|South-East Central Railway||Bilaspur|
|West Central Railway||Jabalpur|
Co-operation between public and Railway Administration is secured through various committees including Zonal Railway User’s Consultative Committees and Divisional Railway User’s Consultative Committees.
There are ten public undertakings under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways, viz.
- Rail India Technical & Economic Services Limited (RITES)
- Indian Railway Construction (IRCON) International Limited
- Indian Railways Finance Corporation Limited (IRFC)
- Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR)
- Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (IRCTC)
- Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC)
- Railtel Corporation of India Limited (Rail Tel)
- Mumbai Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (MRVNL)
- Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL)
- Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL)
The Center for Railway Information System (CRIS) was set up as a registered society to design and implement various railway computerization projects.
Research & Development
The Research, Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) at Lucknow is the R & D wing of Indian Railways. It functions as a consultant to the Indian Railways in technical matters. It also provides consultancy to other organizations connected with railway manufacture and design.