Indian Railways - Background:
This brief study aims at analyzing the market structure of Indian Railways. It starts with the history of railways and explores the various characteristics of railways. It also provides a brief comparison of Indian railways vis-à-vis World Railway system. Indian Railways - Background:
Indian railways come under the Ministry of Railways which is responsible for running rail network in India. The railway ministry is headed by railway minister of cabinet ranking. Of late, Indian railway has adopted the corporate style of working. Indian railway (IR) has been operating since 1853. The 64,015 kms of Indian rail network is the 4th largest in the world and it not only covers 28 states and 3 union territories, but also stretches up to Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. As of 2005, IR owned a total of 222,379 wagons, 42,125 coaches and 7910 locomotives and ran a total of 14,444 trains daily, including about 8,702 passenger trains. Each year, the IR transports 7 billion passengers and 350 million tons of freight. These statistics clearly indicate the enormity, expansiveness and extensiveness of railway system in India. The development of IR had its roots in the 1800s, when India was a British colony. The British East India Company and later, the British colonial governments were credited with starting a railway system in India. The British found it difficult to traverse great distances between different places in India. They felt the need to connect those places with trains to speed up the journey as well as to make it more comfortable than travel by road in the great heat. They also sought a more efficient means to transfer raw materials like cotton and wheat from the hinterlands of the country to the ports located in Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, from where they would be transported to factories in England. Besides, the mid-1800s were a period of mutiny and struggle for independence in India, with uprisings in several parts of the country. The British leaders wanted to be able to transfer soldiers quickly to places of unrest. Railways seemed to be the ideal solution to all these problems. Work began on the development of railway systems in India in the early 1850s. Initially, trains were used to transport material between different places. The first commercial passenger train in India ran between Bombay and Thane (places in western India) on April 16, 1853. The distance of 34 kilometers was covered in about 75 minutes. A number of railway companies were incorporated between 1855 and 1870. Most of them operated at a regional level. By the beginning of the 1870s, the total track coverage in India was 4000 miles. By the end of 1880, the total track coverage increased to 9000 miles. In 1880, the Darjeeling Steam Tramway started operating (the name was changed to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in 1881). This railway track was considered one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of IR, crossing as it did, rough and dangerous mountain terrain at a steep gradient. In 1890, the British Government passed the Railways Act, to govern the construction and operation of railways in India. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were nearly 25,000 miles of railway track in the country. Other Salient features of Railways:
* Currently, Railways is divided into 16 railway zones and each of these zones is headed by a General Manager (GM) who reports directly to the Railway Board. * It is one of the world’s largest employers with more than 1.6 million employees. * Indian Railways operates 8,702 passenger trains and runs a total of 14,444 trains daily and transports around five billion annually. * Sub-urban Rail: Many cities have their own dedicated suburban networks to cater to commuters. Currently, suburban networks operate...
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