Indian Railways

Indian Railways logo
Indian Railways is one of the world's largest organization and world's largest employer. Indian Railways in Hindi written as भारतीय रेल and pronounced as Bhāratīya Rail, abbreviated as IR also in Hindi as भा.रे. is the public sector railway company of India. Government of India's Ministry of Railways look after the state-owned company in India.

First railway run on the Indian subcontinent was between Mumbai and Thane in year 1853. Length of this first track was 21 miles and idea behind this new venture was to connect Mumbai to Thane, Bhore Ghat and Kalyam. Chief Engineer of the Bombay government, Mr. George Clark, during the days of The Raj (The Raj – Time of British rule in India) played very important role in the development of railways in India.

After initial test in the western part of than British India small railway lines were laid in the eastern ghats near Calcutta too, later Madras Railway Company opened the first line of rail in southern part of the continent by July, 1856. All this small lines and networks merged and become the Asia's biggest railway network.

Indian Railways is a multi-traction multi-gauge system with 108,706 running track kilometers of the line of which 86526 kilometers of broad-gauge (1676mm) 18,529 kilometers of meter-gauge (1000mm) and 3651 kilometers of narrow-gauge (762mm and 610mm) line is functional. 16,001 route kilometers of total 63,028 is electrified till date.

Indian Railways Network
Schematic Map
Indian Railways carry over 20 million passengers and 2 million tons of freight daily. It owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives which is used to run 7000 passenger trains and 4000 goods trains totaling 11000 trains daily.

The Indian Railways is organized broadly by functional groups to finish certain tasks and to manage large network effectively. Zonal system is used to ease the burden on network and for better administration. Indian Railways board haven't changed its structure and functioning since British era and with minor changes and new zonal system after integration of all networks in to one nationalized system, administrative structure is still the same.

As of May 2010, the Railway Ministry is headed by Mamata Banerjee, the Union Minister for Railways, and assisted by two ministers of State for Railways K.H. Muniyappa and E. Ahamed. Organizational structure of the Railways Board is well described in detail at the official website of Indian Railways here.

Indian Railways is divided into zones for the better administration. Currently there are 17 zones in Indian Railways, and each zone also manages the workshop which is part of it. Production units on the other hand are managed by the General Managers who directly report to the Railways Board. Current zones are as listed below in the table with Abbreviation code and Headquarters.

S.No Name Abbr. Headquarters Date of Establishment
1. Northern Railway NR Delhi April 14, 1952
2. North Eastern Railway NER Gorakhpur 1952
3. Northeast Frontier Railway NFR Maligaon (Guwahati) 1958
4. Eastern Railway ER Kolkata April 14, 1952
5. South Eastern Railway SER Kolkata 1955
6. South Central Railway SCR Secunderabad Oct' 2, 1966
7. Southern Railway SR Chennai April 14, 1951
8. Central Railway CR Mumbai Nov' 5, 1951
9. Western Railway WR Mumbai Nov' 5, 1951
10. South Western Railway SWR Hubli April 1, 2003
11. North Western Railway NWR Jaipur Oct' 1, 2002
12. West Central Railway WCR Jabalpur April 1, 2003
13. North Central Railway NCR Allahabad April 1, 2003
14. South East Central Railway SECR Bilaspur, CG April 1, 2003
15. East Coast Railway ECoR Bhubaneswar April 1, 2003
16. East Central Railway ECR Hajipur Oct' 1, 2002
17. Konkan Railway KR Navi Mumbai Jan' 26, 1998

Apart from this both Kolkata and New Delhi  has their own Metro Railway network. The Delhi Metro is built and operated by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC). The Government of India and the Government of Delhi jointly set up a company called the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on March 5, 1995 to look behind the proper operation of metro railway network in Delhi and NCR region of India. 

Indian Railways manufactures most of its rolling stock at 6 manufacturing plants that it owns. This plants are called production units and are controlled directly by the Railway Ministry in India. Each one of these six production units is headed by a General Manager, who directly reports to the Railway Board of India under Ministry of Railways, Government of India. There are many other various public sector undertakings that are controlled by the Indian Railways and do the subsidiary functions like ticketing and consulting is also headed by a general manager answerable to Railways Board.
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