Indian railways - crosing the country for 150 years

04.10.2010 In: Travel destinations

Indian Railway has a rich heritage of about 150 years that has crossed a number of tracks and boundaries to achieve milestones. Today it has become the lifeline, the backbone of the travel industry as well as the lifeline of the nation. It has witnessed commendable success in the past and is significantly contributing to the economic progress of the country.
Here are some of the interesting facts about Indian Railways that has eventually contributed in making the Indian Rail network one of the largest in Asia:
- First passenger train was started between Mumbai and Thane on April 16, 1853.
- Parsik Tunnel is the first rail tunnel in the country.
- First underground rail system started in Kolkatta.
- In the year 1986 the first computerized reservation system started in New Delhi.
- First electric train ran between Mumbai VT and Kurla on Feburary 3, 1925.
- Indian Railways is considered to be the largest employer with about 1.55 million people employed in the operations.
- In the year 1977 the National Rail Museum was established.
- Dapoorie Viaduct is the first railway bridge ever created.
- At an average Indian rails carry about 13 million passengers and 1.3 million tones freight everyday.
- Orissa is the shortest station name whereas Sri Venkatanarasimharajuvariapeta in Tamil Nadu is the longest station name.
- Indian Railways is known to have about 7000 railway stations between which about 14,300 trains run daily.
- The longest train journey is covered by Himsagar Express that connects Jammu Tavi in North with Kanya Kumari in South. The train travels a distance of about 4751 kms and the journey takes about 66 hours.
- The longest platform is about 2733 feet in length and is situated at Khragpur.
- The longest tunnel is Karbude situated on Konkan Railways, 6.5 km long.
- The fastest train is the Bhopal Shatabdi Express that runs at a speed of about 140 km/h.
- Longest Railway Bridge is Nehru Setu of about 10044 ft in length on Sone River.
- Siliguri Railway Station is the only station with all the three gauges.
- Howrah-Amritsar Express has maximum number of halts with 115 halts.
The Indian Railway is one of the biggest railway networks in the entire world and certainly the biggest in Asia. That tells a lot about size, performance and history of a giant named Indian railway. In a way, Indian railway has acted as a support system of the country since last 150 years. It has kept serving the burgeoning population of India with utmost sincerity, dedication and punctuality. Interestingly, Indian railway is also one of the biggest government employee organizations in the world.
If we look back at history pages, Indian railway literally transformed the whole history of India. The plan to introduce railway on Indian soil was introduced in 1832 but the idea kept lingering on the sidelines for a while. The history sheets started to take a turn when then Governor General of India, Lord Hardinge allowed private parties to launch a rail system in 1844. Soon enough, the consortium of East India, private entrepreneurs and UK investors made the dream come true for Indian travellers. 1851 witnessed arrival of first train that was used to carry the construction material for railway tracks. The first train service was introduced between Bori Bunder, Bombay and Thane on historic day of 16th April 1853. The distance covered by the train was 34 kms and since then Indian railway has never looked back.
By the time 1880 came, Indian railway network had already spread to 14,500 km. Three major port cities of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta had become part of rapidly increasing Indian railway network. Indian rail system took a further step forward when it started to manufacture its own locomotives 1895 onwards. Indian railway board was formed in 1901 and it worked under Department of Commerce and Industry. First electric locomotive arrived in 1908.
During the two world wars, railway experienced some troubled times. Once the British left the country, Indian railways witnessed several changes in administration and in many policies as well. Indian railway came into being after the Independence when 42 independent railway systems were merged in a single unit. Steam locomotives were replaced by diesel and electric locomotives. The network of Indian railway was spread to each and every part of the country. Indian railway turned a new leaf with the introduction of computerization of railway reservation system in 1995.
Indian Railways is one of the busiest rail networks in the world that carries more than 18 million passengers on a daily basis. Railway traverses the length and breadth of the country. Many engineering feats that were earlier considered impossible have been achieved by the Indian railway. One shining example of such feat is Konkan Railways. It is said that Indian railway covers approximately 7500 railway stations over a total route length of more than 63,000 kilometres. Under its wing, more than 320,000 wagons, 45,000 coaches and nearly 8000 locomotives are in operation.
Indian railway operates all types of train, right from hundreds of passengers’ trains, long distance express trains to superfast trains and luxurious ones. Railway has kept improving its services over the years keeping in mind rising population and their travel needs. Owned, controlled and operated by Government of India, Indian railway is a shining example of growth and development witnessed by the country.