The Indian Railways is a Government of India body which is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the entire rail network in India. As far as rail transport in India is concerned, it enjoys total monopoly. More than 18 million passengers avail the transport facilities offered by the Indian Railways.
This analysis on Indian Railways gives a brief description of the financial, operational managerial and other aspects of the Indian railway. It also includes the details about the traffic and signalling mechanisms. The methods adopted to reduce the accidents in railways and its future plans are briefly explained.
1.1 Introduction
Rail transport is the conveyance of passengers and goods by means of wheeled vehicles running along railways or railroads. Rail transport is part of the logistics chain, which facilitates international trade and economic growth. Rail transport is capable of high capacity and is energy efficient, but lacks flexibility and is capital intensive.
The oldest, man-hauled railways date to the 6th century BC. With the development of the steam engine, it was possible to construct mainline railways that were a key component of the industrial revolution. In the 1880s, electric trains were launched, and the first tramways and rapid transit systems came into use. Following the 1940s, unelectrified railways in developed countries replaced steam with diesel. In the 1960s, high-speed rail was launched. Since, trains have become more accessible, and some are now driverless. Today railways are considered as one of the safest transport means.
2.1 History
2.1.1 Pre-steam
The earliest evidence of a railway was a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) Diolkos wagon way, which transported boats across the Corinth isthmus in Greece during the 6th century BC. The Diolkos ran for over 1300 years.
Railways began reappearing in Europe after the Dark Ages. The line originally used wooden rails and a hemp haulage rope, and was operated by human or animal power. By 1550, narrow gauge railways with wooden rails were common in mines in Europe. By the 17th century, wooden wagon ways were common in the United Kingdom for transporting coal from mines to canal wharfs for transshipment to boats. The world’s oldest continually working railway, built in 1758, is the Middleton Railway in Leeds. In 1764, the first wagon way was built in the United States.
The first iron plate rail way made with cast iron plats on top of wooden rails was taken into use in 1768. This allowed a variation of gauge to be used. From the 1790s, iron edge rails began to appear in the United Kingdom. In 1803, William Jessop opened the Surrey Iron Railway in south London, arguably the world’s first horse-drawn public railway. Hot rolling iron allowed the brittle, and thus often uneven, cast iron to be replaced by wrought iron in 1805. These were succeeded by steel in 1857.
2.1.2 Age of Steam
The development of the steam engine spurred ideas for mobile steam locomotives that could haul trains on tracks. The first was patented by James Watt in 1794. In 1811, John Blenkinsop designed the first successful and practical railway locomotive-a rack railway worked by a steam locomotive between Middleton Colliery and Leeds on the Middleton Railway. In 1830, the first intercity railway, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened.
2.2 Electrification and dieselisation
Experiments with electrical railways were started by Robert Davidson in 1838. The first conventional electrified railway was the Roslag Line in Sweden. During the 1890s, many large cities, such as London, Paris and New York used the new technology to build rapid transit for urban commuting. In smaller cities, tramways became common, and were often the only mode of public transport until the introduction of buses in the 1920s.
Steam locomotives require large pools of labour to clean, load, maintain and run. After World War II, dramatically increased labour costs in developed countries made steam an increasingly costly form of motive power. At the same time, the war had forced improvements in internal combustion engine technology that made diesel locomotives cheaper and more powerful. This caused many railway companies to initiate programs to convert all unelectrified sections from steam to diesel locomotion—a process named dieselization.
2.3 Expanding network
Railways quickly became essential to the swift movement of goods and labour that was needed for industrialization. In the beginning, canals were in competition with the railroads, but the railroads quickly gained ground as steam and rail technology improved.
By the 1850s, many steam-powered railways had reached the fringes of built-up London. A Metropolitan Railway was built under the ground to connect several of these separate railway terminals, and thus became the world’s first "Metro."
By the time railway was developing in many other parts of the world like Russia, United States etc and started using this as a means for the transport of both goods and passengers
3.1 Indian Railways
Indian Railways, abbreviated as IR , is the state-owned railway company of India, which owns and operates most of the country’s rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India. The headquarters of the Indian Railways in New Delhi
The Indian Railways is a Government of India body which is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the entire rail network in India. As far as rail transport in India is concerned, it enjoys total monopoly. More than 18 million passengers avail the transport facilities offered by the Indian Railways.
Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India’s independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalized as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world.
3.1.1 History of Railway in India- Important Years
• 1832- Plans were proposed to introduce a rail network in India. But no further steps were taken for more than a decade.
• 1844- Private entrepreneurs set up a private rail system in India.
In 1844, the Governor-General of India Lord Hardinge allowed private entrepreneurs to set up a rail system in India. Two new railway companies were created and the East India Company was asked to assist them. Interest from a lot of investors in the UK led to the rapid creation of a rail system over the next few years.
• 1851- Trains became operational.
• 1853- Passenger trains were introduced between Bori Bunder, Bombay and Thana covering a distance of 34 km (21 miles) was inaugurated, formally heralding the birth of railways in India.
• 1875- 95 million pounds were invested into Indian railways by British companies.
• 1895- Indian locomotives began to operate in the country.
• 1901- A Railway Board was established.
• 1907- The government obtained total control over most of the rail companies.
• 1908- First electric locomotive was introduced.
• 1947- 40% of the railway network came under newly formed Pakistan’s possession.
3.1.2 History of Indian Railways after Independence- Important Years
After India obtained independence from the British, the rail network in the country was christened as the Indian Railways.
• 1951- Nationalization of the rail system in India took place.
• 1952- Six railway zones were introduced.
• 1995- Steam locomotives became obsolete. Only diesel and electric locomotives were operational.
• 1987-1995- The Indian Railways reservation system was computerised.
3.1.3 Indian Railways Today
Indian Railways has one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily. It is the world’s largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.4 million employees. The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country, covering 6,909 stations over a total route length of more than 63,327 kilometers (39,350 mi). As to rolling stock, IR owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives.
IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network of broad, metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities.
3.1.4 Organizational structure
Indian Railways is a department owned and controlled by the Government of India, via the Ministry of Railways. As of May 2009, the Railway Ministry is headed by Mamata Banerjee, the Union Minister for Railways and assisted by two ministers of State for Railways. Indian Railways is administered by the Railway Board, which has a financial commissioner, five members and a chairman.
3.1.5 Nature of Work
Indian Railway Traffic Officer is the public interface of railways. There are two main streams of Traffic Department, operations and commercial, where these officers are posted. The role of an IRTS officer in the operating department is that of ensuring smooth and fast transportation of freight and passengers. He or she ensures optimum utilization of assets maximizing output with least inputs. This is achieved by coordinating with the service departments looking after various assets of railways like track, wagons, engines, signals, etc. He/she then combines the outputs of the various departments maintaining the assets – rolling stock and fixed infrastructure to produce a service output – passenger or freight.
In the commercial department, an IRTS officer is connected with sales, pricing (including discounts) of passenger and freight traffic. The information technology requirement of passenger ticketing is also managed by an IRTS officer in the zonal headquarters in association with the Centre for Railway Information Systems.
The role changes depending on where an officer is placed in the organization – in the division (operational level), the zone (tactical level), or the railway board (strategic level). The following are the different roles played in railways:
• The commercial division: This division handles all commercial responsibilities like ticket checking, catering, administration and management of stations, reservation, announcements on the platforms, etc.
• The operations division: This division deals with controlling movement of trains. Keeping a check on incoming and outgoing trains, detachment or attachment of wagons, etc., are the responsibilities of this division. The posts and promotions differ slightly as per the selection grade. When an officer reaches the senior administrative grade, he or she is given the post of Chief Commercial/Operations Superintendent.
• India Railway Accounts Service: This branch of the Railway Services is engaged in handling the accounting and finance operations of the Indian Railways. Working in this branch would entail dealing with financial transactions and hence a thorough knowledge of accounting procedures and related practices would prove an asset for officers who opt for this branch of the Indian Railways. An officer in the senior grade is given the charge of a zone and the post of a Financial Advisor-cum-Chief Accounts Officer. At this post, the officer carries the overall responsibility for accounts for the whole zone.
• Indian Railway Personnel Service As the name indicates, officers in this division handle all matters related to the personnel section like selection, promotions, training, welfare activities, transfers, increments, disciplinary actions and the like.
• Railway Protection Service/ Railway Protection Force This branch of the Indian Railway Services is entrusted with the task of maintenance of law and order on trains and on premises owned and used by the Indian Railways.
• Railway Engineering Services This is the technical side of the Railway Services and is engaged in activities like construction and planning of railway tracks, bridges and buildings. There are branches in this division like the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers and the Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers.
3.1.6 Employee Organization
At the Railway Board level, the traffic department is headed by Member(Traffic), who is a secretary level officer. He is assisted by Additional Members/ Advisors who are of the rank of additional secretary to the Government of India. At present, there is an additional member/advisor, each for the commercial, traffic, safety, computerization and information systems, infrastructure, tourism and catering wings of the traffic department. Within each wing, there are directorates which are headed by an Executive Director, a joint-secretary rank officer. Some of the directorates are traffic, commercial(rates), planning, coaching, passenger marketing, statistics and economics (under Financial commissioner), freight marketing, public grievances, computerization and information systems, tourism and catering.
At the zonal level, the operating an commercial departments are headed by IRTS officers – Chief Operations Manager(COM) and Chief Commercial Manager(CCM). They are of the rank of additional-secretary/joint-secretary to the government of India. COM is normally assisted by a team of joint-secretary rank officers, viz., Chief Freight Transportation Manager(CFTM), Chief Passenger Transportation Manager(CPTM) and Chief Traffic Planning Manager(CPTM). Similarly, CCM is assisted by Chief Commercial Manager (Freight Marketing), Chief Commercial Manager (Passenger Marketing), Chief Commercial Manager (Passenger Services) and Chief Claims Officer. They are in turn assisted by Deputy-secretary/Director grade officers -Dy COM, Dy CCM, Dy CCO.
At the divisional level, the operating and commercial departments are headed by IRTS officers – Senior Divisional Operations Manager(Sr. DOM) and Senior Divisional Commercial Manager(Sr. DCM). In a large division, Sr. DOM/Sr. DCM would be supervising over 2000 employees. They are linchpins interacting with customers on a day to day basis and zonal headquarters. Sr. DOM/Sr. DCM are cadre posts in the deputy-secretary/ director grade of IRTS. Each Sr. DOM/Sr. DCM is assisted by DOM/DCM/Assistant Operations Manager(AOM)/Assistant Commercial Manager(ACM)of the rank of under-secretary. An IRTS direct recruit officer’s first posting would be as an AOM or ACM in the division. Most of the officers in the DOM/DCM/AOM/ACM grade would be from the Group ‘B’ cadre of the traffic department.
3.1.7 Benefits to the employees
Group A, B C and D title will be issued to those railway servants. There are both gazetted and non gazetted officers in these groups.
Different railway passes are allowed to the employees according to the group and positions given to them. Some of them are Special passes, residential passes, widow passes, post retirement complimentary pass, school pass, pass on privilege account, duty pass etc
3.1.8 Recruitment and Training
Indian Railways is the largest civilian employer in the world at approximately 1.6 million employees. 1200 officers form the line and staff management organisation. The recruitment of the Officers (Group ‘A’ service) is done through the Indian Engineering Services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC); and also through the Special Class Railway Apprentices (S.C.R.A.) exam conducted by UPSC. The recruitment to Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ employees on the Indian Railways is done through 19 RRBs (Railway Recruitment Boards) which are controlled by the Railway Recruitment Control Board (RRCB). The training of non-gazetted staff is organised at various System, Technical and Divisional Zonal Training Schools on the Zonal Railways itself. There are 169 training centres located across the railway system for meeting the training needs of non-gazetted staff. Training of officers is conducted at six Centralised Training Institutes (CTIs). They are:
-Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering, Pune for civil engineers,
-Indian Railway Institute of Signal and Telecommunications Engineering, Secunderabad for engineers of S&T department,
-Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Jamalpur for mechanical engines.
-Indian Railway Institute of Electrical Engineering, Nasik for Electrical Engineers,
-RPF Academy Lucknow, for officers of Railway Protection Force and
-As the alma mater the Railway Staff College, Vadodara functions as the apex training institute for the officers of all departments in general and Accounts, Personnel, Stores, Traffic and Medical departments in particular
3.1.9 Railway zones
Indian Railways is divided into zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions. The number of zones in Indian Railways increased from six to eight in 1951, nine in 1952, and finally 16 in 2003. Each zonal railway is made up of a certain number of divisions, each having a divisional headquarters. There are a total of sixty-seven divisions.
The Kolkata Metro is owned and operated by Indian Railways, but is not a part of any of the zones. It is administratively considered to have the status of a zonal railway.
Each of the sixteen zones, as well as the Kolkata Metro, is headed by a General Manager (GM) who reports directly to the Railway Board. The zones are further divided into divisions under the control of Divisional Railway Managers (DRM). The divisional officers of engineering, mechanical, electrical, signal & telecommunication, accounts, personnel, operating, commercial and safety branches report to the respective Divisional Manager and are in charge of operation and maintenance of assets. Further down the hierarchy tree are the Station Masters who control individual stations and the train movement through the track territory under their stations’ administration.
Sl. No Name Abbr. Date Established Headquarters Divisions
1. Central CR November 5, 1951 Mumbai Mumbai, Bhusawal, Pune, Solapur, Nagpur
2. East Central ECR October 1, 2002 Hajipur Danapur, Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur, Sonpur
3. East Coast ECoR April 1, 2003 Bhubaneswar Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Visakhapatnam
4. Eastern ER April, 1952 Kolkata Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol, Malda
5. North Central NCR April 1, 2003 Allahabad Allahabad, Agra, Jhansi
6. North Eastern NER 1952 Gorakhpur Izzatnagar, Lucknow, Varanasi
7. North Western NWR October 1, 2002 Jaipur Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur
8. Northeast Frontier NFR 1958 Guwahati Alipurduar, Katihar, Lumding, Rangia, Tinsukia
9. Northern NR April 14, 1952 Delhi
Delhi, Ambala, Firozpur, Lucknow, Moradabad
10. South Central SCR October 2, 1966 Secunderabad Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Guntakal, Guntur, Nanded, Vijayawada
11. South East Central SECR April 1, 2003 Bilaspur, CG Bilaspur, Raipur, Nagpur
12. South Eastern SER 1955 Kolkata Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Ranchi
13. South Western SWR April 1, 2003 Hubli Hubli, Bengaluru, Mysore
14. Southern SR April 14, 1951 Chennai Chennai, Madurai, Palakkad, Salem, Tiruchchirapalli, Thiruvanathapuram
15. West Central WCR April 1, 2003 Jabalpur Jabalpur, Bhopal, Kota
16. Western WR November 5, 1951 Mumbai Mumbai Central, Vadodara, Ratlam, Ahmadabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar
3.1.10 Traffic controlling
The Indian Railways should provide accident-free and casualty-free service and achieve zero level of risk for its passengers. Though it may not be possible to achieve the aspired level of safety in near future, the IR are fully committed to ensure that all its activities are managed to the highest level of safety which is reasonably possible to achieve. Derailment, environment factors, level crossing etc are some of the accidents which cannot be predicted. The following are some of the measures taken to reduce accidents
1. Track Circuiting -A major thrust was given to track circuiting at stations in mid-nineties, to serve as a technical aid to station staff to prevent collisions. It is proposed to cover all main BG routes, having passenger traffic, in next five years.
2. Auxiliary Warning System (AWS)/Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) -To eliminate human error in passing signals at danger, this system may be tried on certain stretches. Auxiliary Warning System (AWS) has been working satisfactorily over a decade in Mumbai suburban sections of Central and Western Railways.
3. Anti-Collision Device (ACD) -Anti-collision device is a recently developed device by Konkan Railway Corporation to prevent collision like situation e.g., head-on collision, side and rear-end collision. This device may also help in detecting train partings and provide audible and visual warnings at level crossing gates when trains approach them.
4. Light Emitting Diode (LED) based Loco Flasher Lights are proposed to be provided in rear of Guards brake van (SLRs) on passenger carrying trains. They will be identical to loco flashers and will be in addition to the guard’s tail lamp. They would be switched on during any out-of-course stoppage in block section.
5. LED-based Flashing Tail Lamps are being provided to guards. Similarly, LED based Hand Signal Lamps would be provided to all stationary staff connected with train operations.
6. Signal circuitry of four _ aspect Multiple Aspect Colour Light Signalling (MACLS) will be modified to provide for interlocking of starter and advanced starter. `Negative’ slide with ASM will be dispensed with, wherever existing.
7. Continuous Track Circuiting -Continuous track circuiting not only helps in improving the capacity with automatic block signalling where more than one train can be sent in a block section but also improves safety. First, all the level crossing gates on the section get protected by signals. Secondly, if double rail track circuit (audio frequency track circuit) is adopted, it may also detect electrical discontinuity in rails due to rail/weld failures or acts of sabotage etc.
8. Mobile Train Radio Communication -Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) system has an intrinsic potential in enhancing the safety and security in train operations, besides being a valuable aid in providing reliable and secure communication to all those engaged in different facets of railway operations and maintenance functions.
9. Track Renewals -While in service, track is subjected to fatigue and wear and tear. For continued ability of track to withstand the expected traffic, it is required to be renewed periodically, as and when it becomes due for renewal. However, in general, the funds provided for track renewals have been less than those required/projected.
10. Way-Side Detection of overloaded rolling stock by in-motion weigh bridges -Such systems are in use on advanced railway systems. They help identify the defective wagons causing over stressing of rail.
11. Lubrication of Gauge Face and Friction Modifier on top of Rail -Lubrication assists in reduction of wear and prevents derailments
12. Bogie-Mounted Brake System in place of under-floor mounted -Bogie-mounted brake system has superior reliability with fewer brake rigging components. All new coaches are being fitted with this design of air brake system and about 1000 coaches are being retrofitted per annum during POH (Periodic Overhaul).
13. Signaling systems-.The Indian Railways makes use of colour signal lights, but in some remote areas of operation, the older semaphores and discs-based signalling (depending on the position or colour) are still in use. Except for some high-traffic sections around large cities and junctions, the network does not use automatic block systems. Safety therefore depends completely on the skill and vigilance of the personnel operating the individual signals and the drivers.
The present level of accidents is targetted to be reduced significantly by the end of the plan period (2012-13) as detailed below. For this purpose, present level of accidents has been taken as annual average of three years i.e. 2000-01, 2001-02, & 2002-03.
Type of consequential train accidents Present Level of accidents
(Yearly average) Estimated accidents in 2012-13 Remarks
Collisions 22 Zero
Derailments 282 113 60% reduction
Level crossing accidents 90 90 No Change
Fire accidents 14 3 80% reduction
Misc 5 –
Total 413 206
3.1.11 Subsidiaries
Indian Railways manufactures much of its rolling stock and heavy engineering components. As with most developing economies, the main reason for this was the policy of import substitution of expensive technology related products when the general state of the national engineering industry was immature. There are six manufacturing plants of the Indian Railways, called Production Units, which are managed directly by the ministry. Each of these six production units is headed by a General Manager, who also reports directly to the Railway Board.
There exist independent organisations under the control of the Railway Board for electrification, modernisation and research and design, each of which is headed by a General Manager. A number of Public Sector Undertakings, which perform railway-related functions ranging from consultancy to ticketing, are also under the administrative control of the Ministry of railways.
3.1.12 Services
1. Passenger
Indian Railways operates about 9,000 passenger trains and transports 18 million passengers daily across twenty-eight states and one union territory. Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya are the only states not connected by rail. The passenger division is the most preferred form of long distance transport in most of the country. A standard passenger train consists of eighteen coaches, but some popular trains can have up to 24 coaches. Some of the passenger trains are intercity, regional trains, commuter trains etc.
Reservation against cancellation service is a provision for shared berth in case the travel ticket is not confirmed. It is a way of maximizing the number of wait-listed passengers to be accommodated in case of a cancellation.
2. Accommodation classes
Several interstate trains feature two to three classes of travel, such as a First and Second class which have different pricing systems for various amenities. Many interstate trains are partially or fully airconditioned, feature padded leather seats or berths, and provide passengers with sheets, pillows, blankets, as well as meals and refreshments (which must be ordered as a set menu, either vegetarian or non-vegetarian). The amenities depend on the the popularity and length of the route. Lavatories are communal and feature both the ‘hole in the ground’ Indian types as well as the ‘Western-style’ commode types. The following table lists the classes in operation. Not all classes may be attached to a rake though.
At the rear of the train is a special compartment known as the guard’s cabin. It is fitted with a transceiver and is where the guard usually gives the all clear signal before the train departs. A standard passenger rake generally has four general compartments, two at the front and two behind, of which one is exclusively for ladies. The exact number varies according to the demand and the route. A luggage compartment can also exist at the front or the back. In some trains a separate mail compartment is present. In long-distance trains a pantry car is usually included in the centre
Class Description
1A The First class AC: This is the most expensive class, where the fares are on par with airlines. Bedding is included with the fare in IR. This air conditioned coach is present only on popular routes between metropolitan cities and can carry 18 passengers. The coaches are carpeted, have sleeping accommodation and have privacy features like personal coupes.
2A AC-Two tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths, ample leg room, curtains and individual reading lamps. Berths are usually arranged in two tiers in bays of six, four across the width of the coach then the gangway then two berths longways, with curtains provided to give some privacy from those walking up and down. Bedding is included with the fare. A broad gauge coach can carry 48 passengers.
FC First class: Same as 1AC, without the air conditioning. This class is not very common.
3A AC three tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths. Berths are usually arranged as in 2AC but with three tiers across the width and two longways as before giving eight bays of eight. They are slightly less well appointed, usually no reading lights or curtained off gangways. Bedding is included with fare. It carries 64 passengers in broad gauge.
CC AC chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of five seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
EC Executive class chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of four seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
SL Sleeper class: The sleeper class is the most common coach, and usually up to ten coaches could be attached. These are regular sleeping coaches with three berths vertically stacked. In broad gauge, it carries 72 passengers per coach.
2S Seater class: same as AC Chair car, but without the air-conditioning.
G orUR General or Unreserved: The cheapest accommodations, with seats made of pressed wood and are rarely cushioned. Although entry into the compartment is guaranteed, a sitting seat is not guaranteed. Tickets issued are valid on any train on the same route if boarded within 24 hours of buying the ticket. These coaches are usually very crowded.
3. Notable trains and achievements
There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on IR — the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Mountain railways of India. The latter is not contiguous, but actually consists of three separate railway lines located in different parts of India:
• The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a narrow gauge railway in West Bengal.
• The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a metre gauge railway in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu.
• The Kalka-Shimla Railway, a narrow gauge railway in the Shivalik mountains in Himachal Pradesh.
The Palace on Wheels is a specially designed train, frequently hauled by a steam locomotive, for promoting tourism in Rajasthan. On the same lines, the Maharashtra government introduced the Deccan Odyssey covering various tourist destinations in Maharashtra and Goa, and was followed by the Government of Karnataka which introduced the Golden Chariot train connecting popular tourist destinations in Karnataka and Goa. However, neither of them has been able to enjoy the popular success of the Palace on Wheels.
The Samjhauta Express is a train that runs between India and Pakistan. Another train connecting Khokhrapar (Pakistan) and Munabao (India) is the Thar Express .The Kalka Shimla Railway till recently featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for offering the steepest rise in altitude in the space of 96 kilometres.
A Beyer Garratt 6594 Engine seen at the National Rail Museum
The Lifeline Express is a special train popularly known as the "Hospital-on-Wheels" which provides healthcare to the rural areas.
Among the famous locomotives, the Fairy Queen is the oldest running locomotive on the mainline (though only for specials) in the world today, though the distinction of the oldest surviving locomotive that has recently seen service belongs to John Bull. Kharagpur railway station also has the distinction of being the world’s longest railway platform at 1072 m (3,517 ft). The Ghum station along the Darjeeling Toy Train route is the second highest railway station in the world to be reached by a steam locomotive.The Mumbai–Pune Deccan Queen has the oldest running dining car in IR.
The Himsagar Express, between Kanyakumari and Jammu Tawi, has the longest run in terms of distance and time on Indian Railways network. It covers 3,745 km (2,327 miles) in about 74 hours and 55 minutes. The Bhopal Shatabdi Express is the fastest train in India today having a maximum speed of 150 km/h (93.7 mph) on the Faridabad–Agra section. The fastest speed attained by any train is 184 km/h (114 mph) in 2000 during test runs.
The Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express are the superfast, fully air-conditioned trains that give the unique opportunity of experiencing Indian Railways at its best. In July 2009, a new non-stop train service called Duronto was announced by the railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
4. Fares and ticketing
Fares on the Indian Railways across categories are among the cheapest in the world. In the past few years, despite a recessionary environment, the Indian Railways have not raised fares on any class of service. On the contrary, there has been a minor dip in fares in some categories.
Ticketing services are available at all major and minor railway stations across India. In 2003, Indian Railways launched online ticketing services through the IRCTC website. Apart from E-tickets, passengers can also book I-tickets that are basically regular printed tickets, except that they are booked online and delivered by post.
5. Tourism
IRCTC takes care of the tourism operations of the Indian Railways. The Indian Railways operates several luxury trains such as Palace on Wheels, Golden Chariot, Royal Orient Express and Deccan Odyssey; that cater mostly to foreign tourists. For domestic tourists too, there are several packages available that cover various important tourist and pilgrimage destinations across India.
6. Freight
IR carries a huge variety of goods ranging from mineral ores, fertilizers and petrochemicals, agricultural produce, iron & steel, multimodal traffic and others. Ports and major urban areas have their own dedicated freight lines and yards. Many important freight stops have dedicated platforms and independent lines.
Indian Railways makes 70% of its revenues and most of its profits from the freight sector, and uses these profits to cross-subsidise the loss-making passenger sector. However, competition from trucks which offer cheaper rates has seen a decrease in freight traffic in recent years. Since the 1990s, Indian Railways has switched from small consignments to larger container movement which has helped speed up its operations. Most of its freight earnings come from such rakes carrying bulk goods such as coal, cement, food grains and iron ore.
Recent changes have sought to boost the earnings from freight. A privatization scheme was introduced recently to improve the performance of freight trains. Companies are being allowed to run their own container trains. The first length of an 11,000-kilometre (6,800 mi) freight corridor linking India’s biggest cities has recently been approved. Due to increase in manufacturing transport in India that was augmented by the increase in fuel cost, transportation by rail became advantageous financially. New measures such as speeding up the turnaround times have added some 24% to freight revenues.
3.1.13 Rail budget and finances
The Railway Budget deals with planned infrastructure expenditure on the railways as well as with the operating revenue and expenditure for the upcoming fiscal years, the public elements of which are usually the induction and improvement of existing trains and routes, planned investment in new and existing infrastructure elements, and the tariff for freight and passenger travel. The Parliament discusses the policies and allocations proposed in the budget. The budget needs to be passed by a simple majority in the Lok Sabha (Lower House). Indian Railways is subject to the same audit control as other government revenue and expenditures. Based on anticipated traffic and the projected tariff, requirement of resources for capital and revenue expenditure of railways is worked out.
Indian Railways, which a few years ago was operating at a loss, has, in recent years, been generating positive cash flows and been meeting its dividend obligations to the government. The railway reported a cash surplus of INR 9000 cr in 2005, INR 14000 cr in 2006, INR 20,000 cr in 2007 and INR 25,000 cr for the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Its operating ratio improved to 76% while, in the last four years, its plan size increased from INR 13,000 cr to INR 30,000 cr. The proposed investment for the 2008-2009 fiscal year is INR 37,500 cr, 21% more than for the previous fiscal year.
On 3rd July 2009 Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee presented the Railway Budget 2009-2010, which included the following improvements.
• No change in Passenger fares.
• Freight Rates untouched.
• One Doctor to be available on long distance trains to attend to passenger/staff medical emergencies.
• Ticket booking services to open in 800 new locations.
• 5000 Post Offices pan India to provide Railway ticket booking facility.
• ‘Turant AC’ sleeper trains to be introduced between major metros.
• Rs 1750 crore to be spent on Gauge conversion.
• Students to receive a 60% concession on train tickets.
• Non-stop trains to be operational soon on select routes.
• 50 Railway Stations to be built at par with international standards.
• Extension of ‘Ladies Special’ trains to major metros like Delhi, Kolkata Chennai.
• 50% concession for Scribes.
• Rs 81685 crore to be the estimated working expenditure.
• Kachrapara, Bengal to get new coach factory.
• Scholarship schemes for Girl child of Group B Railway employees.
• Women commandos to be increased in key routes.
• Physically challenged passengers to be accomodated in specially designed coaches.
• Increase in utility stores such as PCO/STD/ISD booths and book stores.
• Increased emphasis on security (platform and train).
• Catering facilities to be upgraded in order to address growing number of passenger complaints/feedback.
• SMS updates for waiting list status.
• Tatkal booking scheme reduced from 5 days to 2 days.
• Setting up of ATMs on 200 stations identified.
• High capacity double decker AC trains to be introduced on select routes.
• Railways will no longer be guided by economic viability but social commitment said Mamta Banerjee.
• Cold storage facilities to be developed for farmers storing vegetables and fruits.
• New Hospitals to be Opened up for Hospital Staff.
• Indian Railways to lease out land for commercial purposes to increase revenue.
3.1.14 Financing
The main source of income for railway companies is from ticket revenue (for passenger transport) and shipment fees for cargo. Discounts and monthy passes are sometimes available for frequent travelers. Freight revenue may be sold per container slot or for a whole train. For passenger transport, advertisement income can be significant.
3.1.15 Private Railways
Though the Indian Railways enjoys a near monopoly in India, few private railways do exist, left over from the days of the Raj, usually small sections on private estates, etc. There are also some railway lines owned and operated by companies for their own purposes, by plantations, sugar mills, collieries, mines, dams, harbours and ports, etc. The Bombay Port Trust ran BG railway of its own, as does the Madras Port Trust. The Calcutta Port Commission Railway is a BG railway. The Vishakhapatnam Port Trust has BG and NG (2’6") railways.
The Bhilai Steel Plant has a BG railway network. The Tatas (a private concern) operate funicular railways at Bhira and at Bhivpuri Road (as well as the Kamshet – Shirawta Dam railway line which is not a public line). These are not common carriers, so the general public cannot travel using these. The Pipavav Rail Corporation holds a 33-year concession for building and operating a railway line from Pipavav to Surendranagar. The Kutch Railway Company, a joint venture of the Gujarat state government and private parties, is involved (along with the Kandla Port Trust and the Gujarat Adani Port) to build a Gandhidham-Palanpur railway line. These railway lines are principally used to carry freight and not for passenger traffic.
Although generally IR has decided the freight tariffs on these lines, recently (Feb 2005) there have been proposals to allow the operating companies freedom to set freight tariffs and generally run the lines without reference to IR.
3.1.16 Current issues and upgrades
 Although accidents such as derailment and collisions are less common in recent times, many are run over by trains, especially in crowded areas. Indian Railways have accepted the fact that given the size of operations, eliminating accidents is an unrealistic goal, and at best they can only minimize the accident rate. Human error is the primary cause, leading to 83% of all train accidents in India.
 The Rajdhani Express and Shatabadi Express are the fastest trains of Indian Railways, though they face competition from low-cost airlines since they run at a maximum speed of only 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph).
 IR is in the process of upgrading stations, coaches, tracks, services, safety, and security, and streamlining it’s various software management systems including crew scheduling, freight, and passenger ticketing.
3.1.17 The Future Ahead
IR has much to be proud of. It is vital to the Indian economy, because of the poor state of the road network and the low per capita income of the majority of the population. A large proportion of the population is below the poverty line, who are dependent on a cheap means of transport.
Recognising that freight can be a major source of revenue in an economy that is one of the fastest growing in the world, the railways have now decided to build dedicated lines for freight trains connecting Delhi with Mumbai and Calcutta.
The system has been able to turn things around simply by working on their strengths – by improving the infrastructure so that they can carry more loads, people and cargo.
4.1 Conclusion
Indian railways are one of the most fastly growing industries. It is controlled by a board which include government employees. 1.4 million employees are engaged in railways. The employees in railways are given certain benefits according to their positions. It is used for the transport of over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily. It is contributing a major share to the Indian economy. It is considered as one of the cheapest means of transport.
Many signaling and traffic controlling mechanisms are used to synchronize the traffic of the railway systems. Accidents in railways are less compared to other means of transports. Even then there are chances of unpredictable accidents like rail crossing, fire etc. the future plans of Indian railway is to reduce the accident level to zero by taking various safety measures and also to include the most modern technologies for its development and betterment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: