How can we say that India has a very large network of railways?

 Global history of the train

The train is the most successful, safe and cheapest transport facility in the world. As a passenger or freighter, it has been an integral part of every country's economic, social and industrial development for many years. Wagonways and Hand propelled cars began extracting minerals from various mines as early as the 1500's, in which a freight box was pulled on a four-wheeled track and used horses, mules or laborers. The steam locomotive, or steam engine, was used by the British inventor Richard Trevithick in 1804 to haul a box on a strong iron rail and thus a journey of train around the world had started.

When and why the British laid the foundation of railway line in India?

Steam trains became very famous in Britain and at that time India was also ruled by the British so they too needed a fast, accurate and safe mode of transportation to do business in India and to administrate or to travel to a big country. In 1844, Indian Governor General, Lord Dalhousie allows private entrepreneur to set up railway system in India. Two new private companies were formed and asked to help the East India Company, which helped set up a very fast railway network in India with the help of many British investors. So in just 8 years, on 16th April 1853, the first railway journey of India started from Boribander, Mumbai, covering a distance of 34 km to Thane with 14 coaches. Dalhousie, who laid postal stamps and 4,000 telegraph lines alongside the railways in India, was recognized as the architect of modern India at the time.

By 1880, the British had established 14,500 km of railway line in India. At that time, Mumbai, Madras and Calcutta, the major cities of India and considered as British camps, were annexed to facilitate the management and trade of the whole of India. By 1895, India had become a hub for the manufacture of steam engines and other railway equipment by the British so that supplies could be delivered from India to other British ruled countries.

How did the railway revolution take place in India in the 19th century?

In the early 19th century, several princely states of India also started building their own railway network in their states, mainly Assam, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh. With the independence of India, various states and kingdoms of India, seeing the advantages of this railway network and wanting to provide fast, accurate and safe transportation to their state, started signing agreements with many foreign private companies to set up railways. It was during the First World War that the electric railway locomotives began to arrive, which led to the establishment of a large number of electric lines and power stations in India.

How did the British use Indian Railways during World War II?

During the First and Second World Wars, the British government had established the largest railway network in the northwest and east of India as it supplied various goods and other necessities from India to other countries. As the network extended to various neighboring countries of India and other countries, huge quantities of goods, ammunition, medicines, soldiers and other necessities were transported through this railway network from various parts of India during World War II. The place which was once a railway workshop and where trains, coaches and other essential railway goods were made, was turned into an ammunition workshop by the British. By the time India became independent in 1947, the war-torn railway line to the Middle East had become part of Pakistan and so Pakistan did not need to make any major changes to its railway lines to this day.

How India's railway network became one after independence and its development

At the time of India's independence a total of 42 different railway networks were spread in our country out of which 32 networks were set up only by other princely states. After independence, when 565 princely states were annexed to India by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, all these railway lines were connected and Indian Railways was established. This system was also change in 1951 in 6 different zones which has been implemented since 1952. As country developed after independence, India's railway network was automatically upgraded.

By 1985, all railway goods, from locomotives to systems, began to be manufactured in India, and instead of inefficient steam engines, diesel and electric locomotives began to run on Indian tracks. In 1995, Indian Railways was equipped with computerized reservations so that train tickets running between different regions of the country could be obtained by anyone from anywhere in the country.

What is the Indian railway network like today?

The Indian Railway Network is one of the largest railway networks in the world operated by the Government of India. To date, the railway network is the only largest single mode of transport in India. India today has a total of 1,26,366 km of railway network in operation which makes India proud to have the fourth largest network in the world. Today, Indian Railways carries 810 million passengers and 125 million tons of goods from one place to another every year. To this end, Indian Railways operates about 1 lakh passenger trains daily from 7,325 stations across India. In this way, 8,479 freight trains run in a day for goods for India's trade and industry afloat.

Indian Railways trains

The average speed of passenger trains in India is 50.6 km / hr while the Vande Bharat Express running between Delhi and Varanasi is 180 km / hr and the maximum speed of high speed express running from Delhi to Jhansi is 160 km / hr. Apart from this, Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains running between major cities of India have been running at a speed of 150 km / hr for years. Indian Railways has also come very close to the Mumbai-Delhi bullet train project so that soon Indian Railways is also ready to reach out compared to the developed countries of the world.

Today the Indian railway network is divided into 17 zones for administrative purposes.

1. Northern Railway, 2. North Eastern Railway, 3. Northeast Frontier Railway, 4. Eastern Railway, 5.  South Eastern Railway, 6. South Central Railway, 7. Southern Railway, 8. Central Railway, 9. Western Railway, 10. South Western Railway, 11. North Western Railway, 12. West Central Railway, 13. North Central Railway, 14. South East Central Railway, 15. East Coast Railway, 16. East Central Railway, 17. Konkan Railway


In the 169-year history of Indian Railways, we consider the railway network, which is cheap, simple, safe and connected with public sentiment, as a gift given by the British. Today the railway department is providing world class level catering service, hotel service as well as tourism service from modern and technologically advanced stations. While the Railway Corporation of India is making an effort to be punctual day by day, we also need to help them maintain cleanliness while availing this service.

 Image Courtesy: Google Images

Dr. Hardik B. Ramani

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