Transport and Communications

Rail Transport

Indian railway system is the main artery of the country’s inland transport. Indian railways virtually form the life-line of the country, catering to its needs for large-scale movement of track, both freight and passenger, thereby contributing to economic growth and also promoting national integration. The first rail in India was started in 1853 between Mumbai and over a distance of 34 km. Today, Indian Railways have grown into a vast network of 7030 stations spread over a route length of 600 km with a set of 8592 locomotives, 49110 passenger service vehicles, 5985 other coaching vehicles and 2,11,763 wagons as on 31st March, 2011: The network runs multigange operations over 64,460 route kilometres. The gang-wise route and track length systems as on 31st March, 2011 are as under:


Gauge Route Percentage
  Km Km
Broad Gauge 55,956 86.62
(1.676 mm)    
Metre Gauge 6,347 9.82
(1,000 mm)    
Narrow Gauge 2,297 3.56
(762 mm and 610 mm)    
Total 64,460 100.00

Source: India 2014, A Reference Manual p. 842

About 30 percent of the route kilometre, 41 percent of running track kilometre and 43 percent of total track kilometre is electrified. The network is divided into 17 Zones. Divisions are the basic operating units. The 17 zones and their respective headquarters are given below:

  Zonal Railways Headquarters
1. Central Mumbai
2. Eastern Kolkata
3. East Coast Bhubaneshwar
4. East Central Hajipur
5. Northern New Delhi
6. North Central Allahabad
7. North Eastern Gorakhpur
8. Northest Frontier Maligaon (Guwahati)
9. North Western Jaipur
10. Southern Chennai
11. South Central Secunderbad
12. South Eastern Kolkata
13. South East Central Railway Bilaspur
14. South Western Railway Hubli
15. Western Mumbai
16. West Central Railway Jabalpur
17. Metro Railway Kolkata

The rolling stock set of Indian Railways in service as on 31st March 2011 comprised 43 Steam, 5,137 diesel and 4,033 electric locomotives. Currently, the Railways are in the process of inducting new designs of fuel-efficient locomotives of higher horse power, high-speed coaches and modern bogies for freight.Modern signalling like panel inter-locking, route relay inter-locking, centralized track control, automatic signalling and multi-aspect colour light signalling are being progressively introduced.

Passenger and Freight Traffic

Passengers track has risen from 1,284 million in 1950-51 to 7,246 million in 2009-2010 and passenger kilometre from 66.52 billion in 1950-51 to 903 billion in 2009-2010. Freight track increased from 73.2 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 921.73 million tonnes in 2010-11. Transport effort measured in terms of net tonne kilometres (NTkm) increased from 38 billion in 1950-51 to 626 billion in 2010-2011.


Leave a Reply