Distribution of Railways
Distribution of railways is very uneven in India. Following four distinct regions can be recognised regarding the distribution of railways in India.
North Indian Plain
This region has a very dense network of railways from Amritsar to Haora. This is a plain area which is very much suitable for the construction of railways. This densely populated region has highly developed agriculture and industry. Large-scale urbanisation has also helped in the development of the railways. The density of railway network is closely related to the agricultural and industrial development. There are a few focal points such as Delhi, Kanpur, Mughal Sarai, Lucknow, Agra and Patna. However, Delhi is the main point from where railway lines radiate in all directions. For political, administrative and economic reasons, Delhi is connected with major ports like Mumbai, Kolkata (Haora) and Chennai through superfast trains. Taking the plain as a whole, the east-west connectivity is more pronounced as compared to north-south connectivity.
The whole of Peninsular Plateau has hilly and plateau terrain which hinders the development of railways. The population density is also moderate. For such reasons, excepting Saurashtra and Tamil Nadu, a relatively open and more loose network has developed here. Trunk routes are aligned in such a way that there are efficient connections between Mumbai-Chennai-Koch i, Chennai-Delhi and Chennai-Hyderabad.
Railways are practically absent in the Himalayan region. The rugged terrain, hill and valley topography, backward economy and sparse population are the factors responsible for the sparse rail network in this region. The only railway lines are narrow-gauge. Some of the important rail links are Kalka-Shimla, Pathankot-Kangra and Siliguri-Darjeeling. There is practically no railway line in the north-eastern states of Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland are almost completely dewid of rail network. These areas have rough terrain covered with thick forests. The popula tion is sparse and the economy is in a backward state. Construction of railways under these conditions is a difficult and costly affair.
There is a distinct contrast in the rail network between eastern coastal plains and western coastal plains. The outcrops of the Western Ghats being very close to the coast, restrict the extent of the coastal plain while the eastern coast is wider and the Ghats lie away from the coast. The only success in the western coastal plain is the construction of Konkan Railway which is unique feat of engineering.
Dedicated Freight Corridor
Ministry of Railways has made an ambitious plan to construct a new Dedicated Freight Corridor about 2762 route km long along two routes—the Eastern Corridor and the Western Corridor. These two corridors are to be linked with each other at Khurja (U.P.). The plan is to be implemented by the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India. The eastern corridor will star t from Ludhiana in Punjab and terminate at Dankuni in West Bengal after passing through the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The Western Corridor will start from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and terminate at Mumbai (Jawaharlal Nehru Port at Nhova Sheva after traversing through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi NCT, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and
Maharashtra. This will help in easing track on the existing routes which are saturated and find it difficult to cope with the increasing demand for freight facilities.
India has one of the largest road networks. The total length of roads increased from 4 lakh km in 1950-51 to 41 lakh km in 2014-15.
Classification of Roads
On the basis of their importance, maintenance and administration, Indian roads can be divided into v e categories viz.
- National Highways,
- State Highways,
- District Roadways,
- Village Roads, and
- Border Roads.