Indian Railways - The Lifeline Of India

Indian Railways - The Lifeline Of India

Indian Railways is a Government of India undertaking that is responsible for rail transportations throughout India. Indian Railways comes under the Ministry of Railways and ranks fourth in the world after the United States of America, USSR, and China. It owns seven thousand and eighty-three stations and has sixty-four thousand and two hundred and fifteen kilometers track. The railway lines operate throughout the country and are capable of carrying as many as thirty million passengers and around three million freight regularly. When it comes to employing people, Indian Railways has the highest employees in any other sector in India, whether private or public, counting to 1.6 million people. Ownership of INDIAN RAILWAY is also immense with sixty thousand coaches, nine thousand locomotives, and two hundred and thirty thousand freight wagons.

Railways were incepted in the year 1853 in India and when India got independence in the year 1947, there were already forty-two rail systems in the country. Indian railways became one unit by nationalizing in the year 1951 and were declared one of the largest world set-ups. Whether it is a suburban or long-distance network, the Indian Railway functions in every façade. It includes multi-gauge, meter gauge, broad gauge, and narrow gauges as well. Ownership of coach production and locomotive services also stay with Indian Railways.

In the year 1925, IR had its electrification, though limited to suburban traffic only. It was only three hundred and eighty-eight kilometers till the year 1955 and tremendously increased in the next five years’ time span, which was 748. Thus, it registered a 92.7% increase every year. The growth rate till the year 1955 thus was 19.5% which was any day more than expected.

Broad gauge was constructed maximum of twenty-five thousand, two hundred and ninety-two kilometers amongst the three gauges. In the year 1951, the total route covered by it was 47.13 percent. It has increased thereafter and became forty thousand, six hundred and twenty kilometers till the year 1996, which includes twenty-five thousand, five hundred and fifty-six kilometers of single line and fifteen thousand and sixty-four kilometers on multiple and double lines. That means it became 64.5% of sixty-two hundred, nine hundred and fifteen kilometers. In the 24,185 kilometers route length, meter gauge constituted almost forty-five percent in the year 1950-51. In the year 1970-71, it increased to twenty-five thousand, eight hundred and sixty-five kilometers. Then with altering meter gauges to broad gauges, it saw a huge downfall in the year 1995-96 to 18,408 kilometers on a single line and 93 kilometers on multiple lines, ie, accounting for 29.4% of the entire route.

Railway Sectors

Zones are employed to divide IR and thereafter zones are sub-divided as divisions. There were six zones prior to 1951 and in the year 1951, it became eight. It further increased to nine in the year 1952 and by 2010, it became 17. Every division of the Indian Railway has a headquarter and presently there are sixty-seven divisions.

Every zone has a General Manager to head it who comes directly under Railway Board and has to report to it only. Division comes under the DRM or the Divisional Railway Managers. Each division also has a list of officers catering to services under various arenas like mechanical, engineering, electrical, telecommunication, signal, operations, accounts, and commercial, safety, and personnel branches. Every officer from these branches has to report to his/her respective DM or the Divisional Manager. They hold the responsibility of maintenance of assets and operations.


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