Railway industry in India - Statistics & Facts

The railway sector in India is the fourth largest in the world and run by the public sector. The train-system was founded in the 19th century, when the first passenger train took about 400 people from Mumbai to Thane for a 1.6 kilometer journey. In 1895, the country started building its own locomotives. Steam engines were soon abandoned, and electric locomotives took over. In 1982, the first manual enquiry system was set-up in Mumbai to provide information about train schedules, a crude manual system that has now been revolutionized by technology. The Indian railway witnessed a booming period after independence, which saw modernization of the trains.

More than 8,700 passenger trains were in operation employing over a million Indians, and get named based on their everyday operations. Duronto ‘the restless’, is one of the fastest trains in the country, Rajdhani ‘the capital’ connects state capitals and the national capital region of Delhi, while the Garib Rath ‘the poor man’s chariot’, is an economical alternative for long distance travel. Trains are essential to all Indians, regardless of whether they are cross-region, between cities or within a metropolis. Ordinary working expenses for the system were estimated to amount to more than a trillion Indian rupees.

The Kharagpur railway station has the world’s longest railway platform while the Ghum station with the Toy Train route is the second highest station in the world to be reached by a steam locomotive. The luxury train, Palace on Wheels has become a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan due to its majestic experience. However, the world’s first ever conversion of a diesel locomotive into an electric one and the lowest accident figures in the last three decades set standards for its counterparts.

Train journeys across the sub-continent are popular for their constant supply of food, snacks, coffee and tea. Street vendors jump in at almost every major station making their way through the wagons offering not-so-exorbitantly priced freshly prepared food. This is helpful for journeys that take several days. Additionally, trains have their own kitchens and cafes as well. In most other cases, passengers prefer to travel with food packed from home. A number of facilities ranging from bookstores to fast food units keep passengers entertained from journeys that last anywhere from a few hours in day, to a couple of days (excluding delays).

With ‘Make in India’ as a catalyst in recent years, exports of a variety of railway components rose to about 287 million U.S. dollars in value. In 2017, a consignment of six metro coaches was exported to Australia. The southernmost continent also had the highest share in HS Code 86 exports from India. A big consignment of bogies is also ready to set sail to Brazil.

The system thrives on metros and monorails running within cities, raising investments of over 120 million dollars between 2018 to 2022. With developments of online ticketing system, free Wi-Fi, GPS-based passenger information, panoramic roofs and electrification, the Indian railways are set to provide high speed travel and a customer-oriented experience.

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Railway industry in India

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