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Facts about Indian Railways

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Indian Railways, often referred to as the “Lifeline of the Nation,” is a mammoth, awe-inspiring network that has been connecting the diverse landscapes of India for over a century. This colossal railway system is not just a mode of transportation but an intrinsic part of the country’s cultural, historical, and economic fabric. With a rich heritage that dates back to the British colonial era, Indian Railways has continually evolved, embracing technology and innovation to cater to the ever-growing needs of its vast and diverse populace.

In this article, we embark on a journey through the heart of Indian Railways to uncover some captivating facts and figures that underscore its immense significance. From its staggering size and historical milestones to the marvels of engineering and the human stories that breathe life into it, we delve deep into the world of Indian Railways to reveal a tapestry of fascinating insights. So, fasten your seatbelts (or perhaps, seat cushions in this case), as we traverse the tracks of knowledge and discover the remarkable facts that make Indian Railways an unparalleled phenomenon in the realm of global transportation.

• The first train in India was the Mumbai to Thane route, carrying 400 passengers. It completed its 34-kilometer journey with the assistance of three engines named Sahib, Sindh, and Sultan.

• Lord Dalhousie is known as the Father of Indian Railways.

• The fastest train in India is the Bhopal Shatabdi Express, which started its service in 1988, running between Agra and New Delhi.

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• The slowest train in India is the Nilgiri Express, operating between Chennai and Mettupalayam.

• The Deccan Queen, established in 1931, was the first electric train connecting Mumbai with Pune.

• In October 2011, the first double-decker train, the Shatabdi train, was inaugurated.

• The first air-conditioned double-decker train, also a Shatabdi train, was introduced on the Mumbai to Goa route.

• The Kolkata Metro, launched in 1984, was India’s first underground railway system.

• The Northern Railway is the largest zone within the Indian Railways network.

• An island platform is a platform surrounded by rail lines on all four sides.

• The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station in Mumbai holds the distinction of being the first railway station in India.

• The Vivek Express, running from Dibrugarh in upper Assam to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, is the longest-running train in India.

• Gorakhpur railway station in Uttar Pradesh boasts the longest railway platform in the country.

• The first air-conditioned train between Bombay and Baroda began operation in 1936.

• The first broad-gauge super-fast train, the Rajdhani Express, commenced its service between New Delhi and Howrah on 1st March 1969.

• The first meter gauge super-fast train, the Pink City Express, started running between New Delhi and Jaipur on 17th October 1981.

• The first narrow gauge super-fast train, the Shivalik Deluxe Express, began its journey between Kalka and Shimla on 9th August 1996.

• The first timetable for Indian Railways was introduced in 1853 in Central India.

• King George issued the first stamp related to Indian Railways, a 4-anna stamp, on 10th December 1936.

• The first air-conditioned train service between Mumbai and Baroda started in 1936.

• The first automatic signaling system was implemented in 1928.

• The first railway book stall was established in 1877 by Wheeler & Co. Ltd. in Allahabad.

• The first wagon in India was manufactured in 1920 by Jessop & Co. in Kolkata.

• The first vestibuled train, the Deccan Queen, began its service on 1st June 1930.

• The world’s first double-decker train was introduced in 1862 by BB&CIR.

• The Parsik tunnel is recognized as the first railway tunnel in Indian Railways.

• John Mathai was the first Rail Minister after India’s independence, and Asif Ali served as the Rail Minister before independence.

• Countries without a railway line include Lebanon, Mauritius, Reunion, Libya, Argentina, Afghanistan, and Papua New Guinea.

• Trains listed in the Guinness Book of Records include the Darjeeling Toy Train, Nilgiri Mountain Train, Shimla Toy Train, Palace on Wheels, Buddha Circular Express, and Fairy Queen.

• The Satpura Express with the numerical name 10001/10002 runs between Jabalpur and Balaghat.

• The Prayagraj Express, with 26 coaches, operates between New Delhi and Allahabad, making it the longest train.

• Similiguda, situated at 996.08 meters above sea level in the Waltair division of the Southern Eastern Railway, holds the title of the highest railway station in India.

• The highest river bridge under the Konkan Railway is the Panval River Rail bridge, standing at 64 meters high.

• The Kalka Simla division of Northern Railway has the maximum number of tunnels, with a total of 103.

• The longest railway bridge in India is located in Kerala, connecting Idapalli to Vallerpadma with a length of 4.62 kilometers.

• Bajalta serves as the last railway station of both Northern Railway and Indian Railways.

• Uttar Pradesh has the maximum rail routes among all Indian states.

• The Himsagar Express passes through 11 states: Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala.

• Dumdum Railway station accommodates EMU rail service, circular Railway, and Metro Railway.

• The railway station with the smallest name in English alphabets is “IB,” located between Howrah and Nagpur.

• Venkatanarsimharajuvaripeta, located in Tamil Nadu, has the longest name among all Indian railway stations.

• Minakshi Sharma was the first female operator in Delhi Metro.

• Vijaylaxmi Vishwanathan became the first female member of the Railway Board.

• Khadagpur in West Bengal has the longest platform.

• A train exclusively for women runs from Churchgate to Borivali in Mumbai.

• The Metro Rail in Calcutta started in 1984.

• Railway Week is celebrated from 10th to 16th April.

• India has 19 Railway Recruitment Boards.

• The first tourist train in India, the Palace on Wheels, commenced operation in 1982 between Delhi and Jaipur.

• The first railway accident in Indian Railway history occurred in Morghat (Pure–Bombay route) on 5th January 1869.

• The longest rail route in India stretches from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

• The first monorail in India operated between Sarhind and Alampur and Bhawani Mandi to Patiala.

• India’s first indigenous steam engine was the F–734.

• The first longest railway tunnel in India is situated between Monkey Hill and Khandala, measuring 2100 meters.

• The first telecommunication system between guard and driver was established on the Mumbai–New Delhi (Rajdhani Express) route.

• The first Rajdhani Express began running between New Delhi and Howrah in 1969.

• The first DC electrical rail engine, Lokmanya, was manufactured in 1961.

• The first computer reservation system started in New Delhi in 2002.

• Itarasi in Madhya Pradesh houses the largest railway yard in India.

• The Southern Eastern Railway is known as the ‘Blue Chip.’

• E. Sreedharan, known as the “Metroman of India,” played a significant role in the Delhi Metro Rail project.

• The first Duronto Express started operating between Sealdah and New Delhi on 18th September 2009.

• Indian Railways transitioned to five-digit train numbers on 20th December 2010.

• The busiest railway station in India is Lucknow, with 64 trains arriving and departing daily.

• The first railway factory was established in Jamalpur in 1890.

• Trains that run between India and Pakistan include the Samjhauta Express and Thar Express.

• The first railway zone to launch a Railway Time Table was the Central Railway.

• Manipur has the fewest rail routes among Indian states.

• The first blind-friendly train, running from Mysuru to Varanasi, is Train No. 16226/16230.

• The medical emergency helpline for trains is 138, launched by Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways.

• On 10th August 2015, a historic day for the Northeast, marked the inauguration of rail services from Thalaimannar to Madhu Road in Northern Sri Lanka.

• Indian Railways’ IRCTC launched the Ru-Pay pre-paid debit card on 24th March 2015.

• Delhi and Tokyo were considering an agreement for India’s first Bullet Train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

• The Diamond Quadrilateral project aims to connect Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi with high-speed rail.

• Indian Railways is the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second-largest.

• The world’s longest railway platform is located in India at Gorakhpur.

• The Vivek Express covers the longest distance and time on the Indian Railways network, spanning 4,273 kilometers.

• The train running between India and Pakistan is the Samjhauta Express.

• The train running between India and Bangladesh is the Maitree Express.

• The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways is the Indian train that received World Heritage Status from UNESCO.

• Indian Railways transports nearly 2.5 crore passengers daily.

• The Dibrugarh Kanyakumari Vivek Express has the longest train route in the Indian Subcontinent.

• The slowest train in India is the Mettupalayam Ooty Nilgiri passenger train.

• Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta railway station has the longest name among all stations on the Indian Railway system.

• The highest railway station in India is Ghum railway station in West Bengal.

• The longest railway bridge in India is the Vallarpadam Bridge, measuring 4.62 kilometers in Kerala.

• The longest railway tunnel in India, and the second longest in Asia, is the Pir Panjal Railway Tunnel, spanning 11.2 kilometers in Jammu and Kashmir.

• There are a total of 17 railway zones in the Indian Railways network.

• The slogan of Indian Railways is “Lifeline of the Nation.”

• The fastest train in India is the New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express, with a maximum speed of 150 km/h.

• The slowest train in India is the Mettupalayam Ooty Nilgiri Passenger, which operates at a speed of 10 km/h due to its hilly route.

• The shortest run by a train is the scheduled services between Nagpur and Ajni stations, situated just 3 kilometers apart.

• The railway station with the shortest name is “Ib,” located near Jharsuguda in Odisha, and “Od,” near Anand in Gujarat.

• The Express/Mail train with the most stops is the Howrah – Amritsar Express, with 115 halts.

• Srirampur and Belapur are two different stations located at the same railway route but on opposite sides of the track in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.

• The most powerful locomotive in the Indian Railways fleet is the Electric locomotive WAG-9, used for hauling heavy freight rakes.

• Mathura junction has the most number of routes originating from it, with a total of 7 routes.

• The maximum number of parallel tracks and three gauges at one station are found between Bandra Terminus and Andheri, covering a distance of 10 kilometers.

• Vijayawada Junction is the busiest railway station in India, with 247 unique trains.

• The oldest working locomotive in Indian Railways is the Fairy Queen, which was built in 1855 and is still in operation.

• Indian Railways is the world’s eighth-largest commercial or utility employer, with over 1.4 million employees, making it India’s largest employer.

• Contrary to common belief, India does not have the largest railway network in the world; it ranks fourth with approximately 65,000 kilometers of railroad after the US, Russia, and China.

• The manufacture of steam locomotives in India ceased in 1972.

• The first underground railway opened for public use was the Calcutta Metro.

• The first electric coach ran on 3rd February 1925 between Bombay VT and Kurla stations.

• The first computerized reservation system commenced in New Delhi in 1986.

• When the Palace on Wheels luxury train was launched on Republic Day of 1982, Indians were initially not allowed to board.

• Indian Railways has a mascot named Bholu, the Guard Elephant.

• On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2007, Indian Railways launched an awareness campaign train called the Red Ribbon Express.

Popular Railway Committees

  • Shahnawaz Committee – 1954, High Level Safety Review Committee
  • Kanjaru Committee – 1962, Railway Accidents Committee
  • Wahchoo Committee – 1968, Railway Safety Committee
  • Seekari Committee – 1978, Railway Accidents Enquiry Committee
  • Khanna Committee – 1998, Railway Safety Review Committee
  • Arvind Panagariya committee – 2016 to fast-track bullet train project

Indian Railway Manufacturing Units

Indian Railways, one of the largest and oldest railway networks in the world, relies on a robust infrastructure and a vast fleet of trains to connect the length and breadth of the country. To meet the extensive demands of maintaining and expanding this network, Indian Railways has established several rail manufacturing units across the country. These manufacturing units play a pivotal role in the modernization and development of the railway system in India.

Here are some of the prominent rail manufacturing units in India:

  1. Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai: Established in 1952, ICF is one of the earliest and most significant rail manufacturing units in India. It specializes in the production of passenger coaches, including sleeper, chair car, and high-speed train coaches. ICF is known for its mass production capabilities and the development of various modern coach designs to enhance passenger comfort and safety.
  2. Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala: Located in Kapurthala, Punjab, RCF is another major coach manufacturing unit. It focuses on manufacturing Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches, which are known for their superior safety features and passenger comfort. These coaches are used in premium trains like the Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.
  3. Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW), Chittaranjan: CLW is a key unit for locomotive manufacturing in India. It produces both electric and diesel locomotives used for freight and passenger services. The factory is known for its high-performance locomotives designed to handle the challenging terrains of India.
  4. Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), Varanasi: DLW specializes in the production of diesel locomotives used for various railway operations. These locomotives are crucial for goods transport and ensure connectivity to regions without electrified rail networks.
  5. Wheel and Axle Plant, Bangalore: This manufacturing unit is responsible for producing wheels and axles for railway rolling stock. It plays a vital role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of trains by ensuring the quality and durability of these components.
  6. Rail Wheel Factory, Yelahanka: Located in Yelahanka, Bangalore, this factory focuses on the production of railway wheels. It employs advanced technologies to produce high-quality wheels that meet international standards.
  7. Railway Coach Factory (RCF), Rae Bareli: RCF Rae Bareli specializes in the production of modern and luxurious passenger coaches, including the popular Anubhuti coaches. These coaches are designed to provide a premium travel experience.
  8. Modern Coach Factory (MCF), Raebareli: MCF is another coach manufacturing unit in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, focused on producing stainless steel coaches for both long-distance and suburban train services.
  9. Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Bangalore: While not a direct railway manufacturing unit, BEML plays a vital role in supplying railway equipment such as rail coaches, metro cars, and other rail-related machinery.

These rail manufacturing units are instrumental in meeting the growing demands of Indian Railways. They not only support the expansion of the network but also contribute to the safety, comfort, and efficiency of rail travel in India. With ongoing efforts to modernize and upgrade infrastructure, these manufacturing units remain at the forefront of India’s railway development.

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