The Indian Railways
is operated and owned by the Government of India, Ministry of Railways. It is considered as one of the world's largest railway networks containing 115000 km of track over a route of 65000 km with 7500 railway stations. More than 20 million passengers travel daily in Indian Railways and around 2.8 million tons of freight is transported daily.
The Indian Railways had a modest beginning in 1853, when the first train steamed off from Mumbai to Thane. In 1951, it was nationalized as a single unit, becoming one of the largest railway networks in the world. Indian Railways has over 59713 Passenger Coaches, 229381 Freight Wagons and 9213 Locomotives. It runs around 10000 trains daily and has its own locomotive and coach production facilities.
Indian Railways operate on long distances between
cities as well as suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network. It uses four gauges, the 1,676 mm broad gauge, the 1,435 mm standard gauge, the 1,000 mm metre gauge and the two narrow gauges: 762 mm and 610 mm. Railways in India covers 28 states, 3 union territories and also supplies limited international services to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The Indian Railways is divided into 16 zones, which are further divided into a total of 68 divisions. Each zone is administered by a General Manager (GM) and the divisions are under the control of Divisional Railway Managers (DRM). The Indian Railways is the world's fourth largest commercial employer with over 1.4 million employees.
The Locomotives or Engines in India comprise of electric and diesel ones. Steam engines aren't used any longer, except in heritage trains. Engines are classified by their track gauge, power, model number and the work they are suitable for. Freight trains earn about 70% of the railway revenue. There are several passenger train services and are mostly classified by their average speed. A faster train has fewer stops than a slower one. Some of the faster trains are: Duronto Express, Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Garib Rath, Jan Shatabdi, Sampark Kranti Express, etc.
There are several classes of travel with or without Air Conditioning in the Indian Railways. They are as follows: 1A - First class AC, 2A - AC-Two tier, FC - First class, 3A - AC three tier, 3E - AC three tier (Economy), CC - AC chair car, EC - Executive class chair car, SL - Sleeper class, 2S - Seater class and UR - Unreserved.
Indian Railways has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Mountain Railways of India. The Mountain Railways of India consists of three separate railway lines. The first one is the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal
. The second one is the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu
and the third one is the Kalka-Shimla Railway in Himachal Pradesh