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Indian Railways: Transportation in India


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:-Bholu-Indian Railway Mascot
GaugeRoute in KmRunning Track in KmTotal Tack in Km
Borad Guage (1.676 mm)49,82071,01593,386
Meter Guage (1.000 mm)10,62111,48713,412
Narrow Guage (762 mm and 610 mm)2,8862,8883,198
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.
Zonal RailwaysHeadquarters
CentralMumbai CST
EasternKolkata
NorthernNew Delhi
Northern-EasternGorakhpur
North-East FrontierMaligaon (Guwahati)
SouthernChennai
South CentralSecunderabad
South-EasternKolkata
WesternChurch Gate, Mumbai
East Central RailwayHajipur
East Coast RailwayBhubaneshwar
North Central RailwayAllahabad
North Western RailwayJaipur
South-East Central RailwayBilaspur
South-Western RailwayHubli
West Central RailwayJabalpur
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.

Public Undertakings

There are ten public undertakings under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways, viz.
  1. Rail India Technical & Economic Services Limited (RITES)
  2. Indian Railway Construction (IRCON) International Limited
  3. Indian Railways Finance Corporation Limited (IRFC)
  4. Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR)
  5. Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (IRCTC)
  6. Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC)
  7. Railtel Corporation of India Limited (Rail Tel)
  8. Mumbai Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (MRVNL)
  9. Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL)
  10. 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.