Importance of railways in India is much a bit like bloodstream in the country’s artery. It is India’s lifeline, carrying over 1.15 billion passengers daily. Over 5.4 billion people take train trips a year. Like Cricket and Bollyword in India, the railways connect disparate country’s populace. It’s on a roll.
Essentially, Indian Railways (IR) is the forerunner to dramatic social, economic and cultural change, playing a pivotal role in the development beyond any dispute. India’s progress would virtually come to a halt without railways in India. It is evident to the fact that planes are dearer than the rest of transport means. While roadways take too much time in due covering a long distance. There are trains which take less time and provide budget journey. Therefore, it comes out the best option to travel anywhere.
Traditionally, the IR started train service in august 1853 with its first passenger train from Bombay to the nearby town of Thane (34 km). Over 150 years of its operations, Indian Railways has turned out to be the largest rail network in Asia. It is the sole public sector organization of its kind employing a huge manpower of about 17 lac people.
In India, there are three types of railway tracks, Broad Gauge (1.69m wide), Meter Gauge (1m) and Narrow Gauge (77cm). Most railway tracks in India are broad gauge. However in desert areas track laying happens to be difficult, therefore, Indian Railways has laid meter gauge tracks in those areas. In zigzag hilly areas, there are the narrow gauge tracks of Indian Railways. Between Kalka and Shimla, Darjeeling and Siliguri and Mettupalayam and Ooty, there are narrow gauge tracks in India.
As for train services, it’s been categorized into four broad classes depending upon the train speed. There are Super fast trains, Mail trains, Express trains and other Ordinary passenger trains. Another innovative train service of Indian Railways is called ‘Garib Rath’ - the poor man's chariot. Find information about Indian Railways train enquiry system.
There are nine administrative railway zones in India: These regions are:
• Northern Railways
• Western Railways
• Southern Railways
• Eastern Railways
• Central Railways
• North-East Frontier Railways
• South-Central Railways
• South-Eastern Railways
• North-Eastern Railways
Asia’s second-largest railway network operator, Indian Railways spreads across over 63, 000 kilometers and operates about 7,800 trains carrying over eleven million passengers daily. And along with carrying a large number of passengers, the railways carry about 6 lac tonnes of goods every day.
Significantly, its dedicated website named IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation), a subsidiary of Indian Railways, is handling the catering, tourism in India and online ticket reservation. It is one of the busiest portals in cyberspace where train tickets are booked through its website, as well as the mobile via GPRS or SMS. Passengers check their PNR status, arrival and departure of the trains, fare enquiry, train between stations, seat availability and internet reservations. The IRCTC has recently rolled out its loyalty program called “Shubh Yatra,” a frequently train travel program. Its privileged users avail discounts on all train tickets booked round the year.
Overwhelmingly growing importance of railway in India over years, its magnitude is set to increase ahead. It’s providing rail users comfortable service at affordable cost.