When the Indian railways were launched in 1853 by the British, they may not have imagined that it would go on to become the world’s third largest state-owned railway system only behind USA and China. Indian railways today run through the entire country like veins carrying its life-blood. Apart from helping people reach their destinations, Indian Railways owns and operates its own electric-locomotive, diesel-locomotive, and passenger-coach factories, in addition to operating one of the world’s largest railway research organizations. As though it is not outstanding enough that Indian Railways have met the increasing passenger and freight loads that has increased with Indian population, here are some more outstanding facts about Indian Railways that would interest you.
You will hear a lot of jokes regarding the punctuality of Indian railways. The Guwahati-Trivandrum Express has set record for delays for trains in India. It is known to be delayed by nearly 10-12 hours on a trip. Though Indian Railways constantly endeavors to run trains to time and to this end Indian Railways have started monitoring the punctuality of trains using Integrated Coaching Management System, passengers are still waiting to see punctuality in Indian Trains.
Off course, Indian Railways has a mascot called Bholu the guard elephant. A cartoon of Bholu elephant holding a green signal lamp was designed to commemorate 150th year of Indian railways. The elephant signals people to move ahead with confidence while travelling in Indian Railways. The mascot also represents the large number of Indian Railways employees who work around the clock to ensure safety of passengers.
There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites connected to the Indian Railways – The Mountain Railways of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Teminus which was formerly known as Victoria Terminus. The Victoria Terminus is amazing blend of Gothic art with Indian architecture. The British and Indian craftsmen worked side by side to create this landmark which took nearly 10 years to complete. The Indian Mountain Railways includes three railways – the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, Nilgiri Mountain Railways and Kalka Shimla Railway. All three railways established more than a hundred years ago are fully operational to this day.
The longest station name is Sri Venkatanarasimharajuvariapeta and the shortest name Ib. The Lucknow railway station is busiest with 64 trains running through it every day. The Vivek Express running between Dibrugarh Town – Kanyakumari has the longest run considering time. It covers a distance of 4286 km in nearly 82.30 hours time. The shortest route is between Nagpur and Ajni which is just 3 km. Karbude tunnel of Konkan railway is the longest tunnel drilling 6.5 km through the Western Ghats. The Trivandrum – Rajdhani train has the longest Non-stop run covering a distance of 528 km in 6.5 hrs. The Nehru Setu on the Sone River at the height of 10044 ft in length is the longest railway bridge.
The first train in India ran on 16 April, 1853 between Mumbai and Thane. The first electric train ran in 1929 from Mumbai to Pune. The first metro rail was started in Kolkata on 24 October, 1984. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is the first Railway Station. Opened in 1914, the Pamban Bridge connecting Rameshwaram to Pamban Island was India’s first sea bridge, and was the longest sea bridge in India till 2010. The first Railway Bridge constructed is the Dapoorie Viaduct on the Mumbai-Thane route and Parsik tunnel is the first rail tunnel in India. The Calcutta Metro is the first underground railway of India.
Indian Railways is ranked 9th among commercial or utility employer in the world, with more than 1.4 million people working for it. 10,000 trains run daily on the Indian rail tracks which include approximately 10,000 locomotives pulling 250,000 freight wagons and 60,000 passenger coaches. It is also one of the world’s largest railway networks encompassing 115,000 km of track over a route of 65,000 km and 7,500 stations. The revenue turnover is nearly 18 billion US dollars per annum.