Who was the founder of Indian Railways

Indian Railways

Indian Railways (IRY) (Hindi: भारतीय रेल, bhāratīya rel, Bharatiya Rel) is the state-owned Indian railway company. As a state railway, it has a monopoly on nationwide rail transport.

Indian Railways transports approximately five billion passengers and nearly 350 million tons of cargo annually. The railway company is also one of the world's largest employers with 1.4 million employees in 17 regional companies.


India's first train ran between Bombay and Thane on November 18, 1852. Just four decades later, the railway network established by the British colonial administration connected all the important parts of the country with one another.[1] The route network increased from 1,350 km in 1860 over 14,977 km in 1880 to 36,188 km in 1900. In addition, an extensive meter gauge network was created, which has been consistently converted to the Indian broad gauge since the 1960s. In 1951, the various railway companies in the country that had existed up to that point were nationalized and merged into Indian Railways.

Route network

In 2005 the company owned 222,379 freight cars, 42,125 passenger cars and 7,910 locomotives. 14,444 trains ran daily on 63,465 kilometers of track, of which 8,702 were passenger trains.[2] The main problems are the uneven and large-meshed development of the country, the mostly outdated technology, the four different gauges (broad gauge, meter gauge, two narrow gauge gauges) and the low degree of electrification. Only 17,810 kilometers of route (as of March 2007) are electrified.

Local passenger transport

A local in Kolkata

In the metropolitan areas of larger cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata, the Indian state railroad runs suburban trains that essentially correspond to the S-Bahn trains in Germany. Electric railcars are used. Since the normal Indian broad gauge and the appropriate power supply (25 kV, 50 Hz) are used, the Indian suburban trains can use the same tracks as long-distance trains. In the inner cities, however, they have their own parallel pairs of tracks, partly because of the high volume of trains. On the main routes in the city centers, the trains run every few minutes, on the side routes in the foreland sometimes irregularly and at longer intervals.

These trains have different compartments and car classes. There are special women's compartments in order to give women a "fair chance" to get on the train in the crowd, which is especially prevalent at rush hour. There are also luggage compartments that are mainly used by traders who bring their goods (fish, milk cans, vegetables, etc.) into the city. Reservations are not possible on these trains.

The typical picture includes the open doors, which, if at all, are only pushed shut by the passengers when it is raining heavily. Even with empty trains, passengers often stand in the open doors during the journey because there is always a fresh wind blowing here.

Long-distance passenger transport

A long-distance train on the move. The pedestrians on the platform are quite typical for India.
Shatabdi Express in Ahmedabad Railway Station

Car classes

A large number of different classes are offered to the traveler on Indian long-distance trains. The offer ranges from the proverbial wood class to the air-conditioned, comfortably upholstered first class - with a considerable price difference. Example: The price for a ticket from Delhi to Mumbai on the Paschim Express in the "AC First Class" is 2642 rupees, in the "Sleeper" class 442 rupees.[3]

In general, the greatest difference in comfort is between cars with and without air conditioning. The interesting thing about the AC classes is not just the air conditioning as such - the AC class cars have glass panes in the windows instead of bars, which means that beggars and salespeople can no longer bother you from the platform. Also, in the AC classes, due to the very good sound insulation, locomotives in oncoming traffic no longer wake you up. At the doors to the air-conditioned cars, the conductors mostly hold back salespeople and only let passengers get on, while the non-air-conditioned classes are frequented by hawkers who loudly draw attention to themselves. In addition, "western" toilet bowls are available in the air-conditioned cars, while in the other classes you can mostly come across squat toilets.[4]

Since train journeys take a long time due to the low average speeds and long distances compared to German conditions - journeys over 24 hours are nothing special, some trains travel across the country for 4 days - you usually travel in a sleeping car. Short trips, e.g. from Mumbai to Pune, which are covered within half a day in a car with chairs, are the exception. The Shatabdi Expresses are fully air-conditioned, seated trains that only run during the day, most similar to the German intercity trains - but on each route they run no more than once a day.


Tickets for long-distance trains should be booked well in advance, especially if you are not flexible in terms of time. There are some booking services on the Internet for reservations. Some trains are already booked 2 months before departure. Critical dates are e.g. Diwali, Holi or the Durga Puja (the latter especially in Kolkata).

  • India Rail Info Detailed timetable information, supports a general "On which train from A to B is something free on my travel day?" Search. In contrast to the following pages, you cannot buy tickets here yet.


For the actual booking (if you know exactly which class you want to book on which train) there are these booking services, among others:

  • IRCTC Official Booking Page of the State Railways
  • Cleartrip.com Private but working booking service for Indian trains
  • MakeMyTrip.com Another private, working booking service
  • The Indrail Pass is available to tourists for travel on the entire Indian Railways network. However, this does not bring any advantages when it comes to the all-important reservation of seats on trains that are often booked out months in advance.
  • Alternatively, if you are already in India, you can buy the tickets directly at the station counter. The process is a bit bureaucratic. There you have to present an application form for the ticket of your choice to the ticket seller.

Booking status and validity

In any case, a ticket will only be issued with the booking status "Confirmed" and a fixed car and seat number really good. Only in the "AC First Class" will the seat numbers be announced by notices at the station on the day of departure. The on PC printed internet ticket can be together with one Photo ID Show the conductor, who compares the booking number and names with his passenger list. Further documents are NOT necessary, even if you sometimes hear different things from smugglers at the train station.

With the status "RAC" (Reservation against Cancellation) you have the right to be allowed to ride - but not to a seat or couch, which can be very uncomfortable when driving at night. "WL" (Wait List) tickets do not entitle you to take them with you and, if the tickets are online, will be automatically refunded to the booker's credit card.

On this page you can check whether a ticket is actually valid: status query with PNR booking number

Food on board

Menu served on board the Indian trains

In the Shatabdi Express and Rajdhani Express, a full menu is included in the fare and is served at your seat - in terms of quantity, it is comparable to airplane food.

On other long-distance trains, the train crew sells food at the seat at low prices. Typically, in addition to a tea and a coffee seller, vendors who sell freshly prepared dishes also walk through the cart - among others, dosa, samosa, idli, gulab jamun and pakora are on offer. Drinking water in plastic bottles and soft drinks are sometimes sold at lower prices than at the train station.

In non-air-conditioned car classes, hawkers and farmers who sell their fruit also come into the car.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In addition to the main lines, the Indian State Railways also operate some narrow-gauge railways. 3 routes have been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The mountain railways in India in the UNESCO World Heritage Site include the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Kalka-Shimla Railway and the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.

Operation on these routes, on which steam trains, among other things, also run, has not changed significantly since the routes were built - regular operations went over to museum operations, so to speak.

Regional companies

Railway network of India
The different gauges in India

Indian Railways is divided into 17 regional companies.

 1.Northern RailwayNODelhiApril 14, 1952
 2.North Eastern RailwayNERGorakhpur1952
 3.Northeast Frontier RailwayNFRGuwahati1958
 4.Eastern RailwayHEKolkataApril 1952
 5.South Eastern RailwaySERKolkata1955
 6.South Central RailwaySCRSikandarabad2nd October 1966
 7.Southern RailwaySRChennaiApril 14, 1951
 8.Central RailwayCRMumbai5th November 1951
 9.Western RailwayWRMumbai5th November 1951
10.South Western RailwaySWRHubballi DharwadApril 1, 2003
11.North Western RailwayNWRJaipurOctober 1, 2002
12.West Central RailwayWCRJabalpurApril 1, 2003
13.North Central RailwayNCRAllahabadApril 1, 2003
14.South East Central RailwaySECRBilaspurApril 1, 2003
15.East Coast RailwayECoRBhubaneswarApril 1, 2003
16.East Central RailwayECRHajipurOctober 1, 2002
17.Konkan RailwayKRNavi MumbaiJanuary 26, 1998


The Indian Railways' biggest accident occurred on June 6, 1981 when 7 out of 9 cars on a long-distance train fell off a bridge into the Bagmati River. The accident occurred in the state of Bihar near the city of Mansi.[5] The death toll is estimated between 500 and 800.[6]

Even nowadays, accidents happen regularly. Frequent accidents are derailments, rear-end collisions and collisions with pedestrians and road vehicles at level crossings. There is a detailed one in the English Wikipedia List of Indian Railway Accidents

Individual evidence

  1. R.R. Bhandari: Indian Railways: Glorious 150 years, Pp. 1-19, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, ISBN 81-230-1254-3
  2. ↑ IR Statistics from the IR Yearbook 2004-2005
  3. ↑ http: //www.cleartrip.com/trains Price request for January 12, 2011 at cleartrip.com
  4. ↑ http://www.seat61.com/India.htm#classes Online travel guide to Indian trains
  5. ↑ http: //www.nytimes.com/1981/06/09/world/around-the-world-toll-from-train-crash-reaches-215-in-india.html
  6. ↑ cf. Stephen J. Spignesi: Catastrophe !: the 100 greatest disasters of all time. Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2004, ISBN 0-8065-2558-4.

Web links

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  • Track width 1676 mm
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