Indian Railways, a historical legacy, are a vital force in our economy. The first railway on Indian sub-continent ran from Bombay to Thane on 16th April 1853. Fourteen railway carriages carried about 400 guests from Bombay to Thane covering a distance of 21 miles (34 Kilometers). Since then there has been no looking back. Today, it covers 6,909 stations over a total route length of more than 63,028 kilometres. The track kilometers in broad gauge (1676 mm) are 86, 526 kms, meter gauge (1000 mm) are 18, 529 kms and narrow gauge (762/610 mm) are 3,651 kms. Of the total route of 63,028 kms, 16,001 kms are electrified. The railways have 8000 locomotives, 50,000 coaching vehicles, 222,147 freight wagons, 6853 stations, 300 yards, 2300 goodsheds, 700 repair shops, and 1.54 million work force. Indian Railways runs around 11,000 trains everyday, of which 7,000 are passenger trains. Presently, 9 pairs of Rajdhani and 13 pairs of Shatabdi Express Trains run on the rail tracks of India. It is interesting to note that though the railways were introduced to facilitate the commercial interest of the British, it played an important role in unifying the country. Railways are ideally suited for long distance travel and movement of bulk commodities. Regarded better than road transport in terms of energy efficiency, land use, environment impact and safety it is always in forefront during national emergency. Indian railways, the largest rail network in Asia and the world's second largest under one management are also credited with having a multi gauge and multi traction system. The Indian Railways have been a great integrating force for more than 150 years. It has helped the economic life of the country and helped in accelerating the development of industry and agriculture. Indian Railways is known to be the largest railway network in Asia. The Indian Railways network binds the social, cultural and economical fabric of the country and covers the whole of country ranging from north to south and east to west removing the distance barrier for its people. The railway network of India has brought together the whole of country hence creating a feeling of unity among Indians.
The Ministry of Railways under Government of India controls Indian Railways. The Ministry is headed by Union Minister who is generally supported by a Minster of State. The Railway Board consisting of six members and a chairman reports to this top hierarchy. The railway zones are headed by their respective General Mangers who in turn report to the Railway Board. For administrative convenience Indian Railways is primarily divided into 16 zones: Railway Zone Headquarters
Indian Railway Zones consists of the following zones S.No. | Name of the Zone| Divisions| 1| Central Railway (Mumbai)| Bhusawal, Nagpur, Mumbai(CST), Solapur, Pune| 2| Eastern Railway (Kolkata)| Malda, Howarh, Sealdah, Asansol| 3| Northern Railway (NEW Delhi)| Ambala, Ferozpur,Lucknow, Moradabad, Delhi| 4| North Eastern Railway (Gorakhpur)| Lucknow, Varanasi, Izatnagar| 5| Northeast Frontier Railway (Guwahati)| Katihar, Lumding,Tinsukhia, Alipurduar, Rangiya| 6| Southern Railway (Chennai)| Chennai, Madurai, Palghat,Trichy, Trivandrum| 7| South Central Railway (Secunderabad)| Secunderabad,Hyderabad, Guntakal,Vijaywada, Guntur,Nanded| 8| South Eastern Railway (Kolkata)| Kharagpur,Chakradharpur*, Adra*,Ranchi^| 9| Western Railway (Mumbai)| Bhavnagar, Mumbai Central, Ratlam, Rajkot, Vadodara, Ahemdabad| 10| East Central Railway (Hajipur)| Danapur, Dhanbad,Sonepur, Mughalsarai,Samastipur| 11| East Coast Railway (Bhubaneshwar)| Khurda Road, Waltair,Sambalpur| 12| North Central Railway (Allahabad)| Allahabad, Jhansi, Agra| 13| North Western Railway (Jaipur)| Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra| 14| South East Central Railway (Bilaspur)| Nagpur, Bilaspur, Raipur| 15| South Western Railway (Hubuli|...