Indian railways is the one of its kind covering thousands of miles across the country connecting all parts and people. Each day, Lakhs of people use rail/trains to travel to various locations either within a city or between states. Indian Railways marked its start long ago in 1857 when there was British rule in India. It has approx 7083 railway stations and covering more than 64000 Kilometres. It stands at the 4th position among the world’s largest rail network. Indian railways employ lakhs of people and stands at world’s largest commercial or utility employer. It is operated by the Ministry of Railways of Government of India. Bharatiya railways owns its own coach production facilities and employs a number of trains including rajdhani, superfast, garibrath, local, metro, cargo, garib rath etc.
Salient Features of Indian Railways :
- It is the 4th largest rail network in the whole world.
- It employs more than 16 lakhs people, thus stand as the world’s largest commercial employer.
- It has more than 7083 stations.
- It has more than 64215 kms of track on which several types of trains run.
- It owns more than 2,30,000 (freight) wagons, 60000 coaches, and 9000 locomotives.
- Indian Railways is nationalised and is operated by Government of India (Ministry of Railways).
- IR is divided into 17 major zones, each headed by a General Manager.
- IR uses numbers of diesel and electric trains as opposed to steam engines used long ago.
- Sikkim and Meghalaya are two states reported to be not connected with Indian Railways.
- It operates over 9000 passenger trains.
- Over 2.5 crore people travel daily via trains.
- Several types of train operate as given in the table below on this page. These vary in terms of number of coaches, facilities, speed and passenger carrying capacity.
- The most expensive ticket class is 1A while the least one is UR. Depending on the types of ticket bought, passengers are provided with facilities like fooding, privacy, sleeping berths, coupe, etc.
- Ticket bookings over long distances preferably to-fro metro cities should be made in atleast 1 months advance as it is always overcrowded.
- Indian railways tickets can be booked online also as well as from station ticket counters.
- IR functions as per the railway budget proposed in the parliament.
- Besides merits, there are several demerits also which are being worked upon with time. (Lack ofSanitation and cleanliness, outdated equipments, train accidents, etc.)
- The fastest trains are Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express.
- Garib Rath Train – The low cost fully air conditioned train meant for all including middle class and the poor to enjoy better traveling experience.
Indian railways is regularly progressing and making ways to facilitate easy ticket booking. It has entered into lives of people be it the poor or the rich. It is used as the most common and affordable means of transport.
I myself travel a lot via trains. Journey on a train especially in a common general kind of berth really make me feel the spirit of common man and the diversity in unified way which really sometimes hearten me and my feelings towards my country. You’ll be able to witness the unknown familiarity that relates all people traveling via trains.
Indian railways is divided into zones and subzones. The Delhi Metro is not covered under Indian Railways.