Sunday, September 26, 2010

Indian Railways

INDIAN RAILWAYS is the premier railways transport organization of the country, the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest working under one management. It comes under the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India.

The world's largest commercial employer, employing more than 1.4 million employees, the rail networks of the Indian Railways is one of the largest and busiest in the world covering a length of over 63,000 km where over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily is being transported. It runs 11,000 trains everyday including 7000 passenger trains.

The journey of the Indian Railways started during the British rule in the country, the first train being introduced on the day of April 16, 1853 from Bombay (Bori Bunder) to Thane comprising 14 carriages which could carry up to 400 passengers. Long time since it was started, Indian Railways now measures the length and breadth of the country touching Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, from Gujarat to Assam and crossing all major cities like the Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore.

In the year 1985, all the steam locomotives of the Indian Railways were replaced with the diesel engines.

In 1995, the work for the computerization of the entire railway network was started and now one can find it truly satisfying and up to the mark. Previously, the commuters had the only option of resorting to long standing queues. Now one can search the availability of trains, schedules, fare and berth accommodation through the website of Indian Railways and book online the same. Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is the sole body under the Ministry of railways where online tickets of two types namely I-ticket and E-ticket for any routes can be booked. This has resulted in saving the time and providing comfort to the passengers.

Depending upon the track areas and rail traffic, the Indian rail runs on three different gauges namely the Broad Gauge used in the heavy traffic areas, Meter Gauge used in less traffic areas, and Narrow Gauge used in mountain ranges like the world famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. The whole network of the Indian railways is further divided into 16 different rail zones based on these three gauges. The 16 rail zones are North, North East, North East Frontier, Eastern, South Eastern, South Central, Southern, Central, Western, South Western, North Western, West Central, North Central, South East Central, East Coast and East Central. Konkan Railway (KR) works as a separately incorporated railway. The World Heritage Status from UNESCO has been granted to Darjeeling Himalayan railways.

The train journey in India is truly amazing and fun with diverse terrains and landscapes that you pass through.

The meals and tea are included in the fare on the premier express trains like the Rajdhani and Shatabdi, the fastest trains in the network of Indian Railways.

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