Indian Railways has one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily. It is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.4 million employees. The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country, covering 6,909 stations over a to
tal route length of more than 63,327 kilometres (39,350 mi). As to rolling stock, IR owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives.
The first railway on Indian sub-continent ran over a stretch of 21 miles from
The formal inauguration ceremony was performed on 16th April 1853, when 14 railway carriages carrying about 400 guests left Bori Bunder at 3.30 pm "amidst the loud applause of a vast multitude and to the salute of 21 guns."
The first passenger train steamed out of
In south the first line was opened on Ist July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. It ran between Veyasarpandy and
These were the small beginnings which is due course developed into a network of railway lines all over the country. By 1880 the Indian Railway system had a route mileage of about 9000 miles.
In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world.
Indian Railways operates about 9,000 passenger trains and tranports 18 million passengers daily across twenty-eight states and two union territories.
The total length of track used by Indian Railways is about 111,599 km (69,344 mi) while the total route length of the network is 63,465 km (39,435 mi). About 28% of the route-kilometre and 40% of the total track kilometre is electrified.
Indian Railways is divided into zones, which are further sub-divided into divisions. The number of zones in Indian Railways increased from six to eight in 1951, nine in 1952, and finally 16 in 2003. Each zonal railway is made up of a certain number of divisions, each having a divisional headquarters. There are a total of sixty-seven divisions.