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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Last updated on: April 17, 2013 14:12 IST

160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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Hailed as the lifeline of the nation, the Indian Railways started its service 160 years ago on 16 April 1853.

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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The Railways were first introduced in India in 1853 from Bombay to Thane. In 1951 the system was nationalised, making Indian Railways one of the largest networks in the world. 

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Image: Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Photographs: Reuters.
Tags: India , Bombay

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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The first railway on Indian sub-continent operated over a stretch of 21 miles from Bombay to Thane. 

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Image: A view of the Pamban Railway Bridge that links Rameshwaram to the mainland.
Photographs: Tracy Hunter/Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: Bombay

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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The idea of a railway to connect Bombay with Thane, Kalyan and with the Thal and Bhore Ghats inclines first occurred to George Clark, the Chief Engineer of the Bombay government, during a visit to Bhandup in 1843. 

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Image: A woman keeps her child on the ticket counter as she buys a train ticket at Allahabad railway station.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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In the south, the first line was opened on I July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. It ran between Vyasarpadi Jeeva Nilayam (Veyasarpandy) and Walajah Road (Arcot), a distance of 63 miles. 

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Photographs: Reuters.

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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In the North, a length of 119 miles of line was laid from Allahabad to Kanpur on 3 March 1859. The first section from Hathras Road to Mathura Cantonment was opened to traffic on 19 October, 1875.

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Image: Workers load mail onto a train at Nizamuddin Railway Station
Photographs: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images.

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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Today, Indian Railways is one of the world's largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km of track over a route of 65,000 km and 7,500 stations.

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Photographs: Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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As of December 2012, it transported over 25 million passengers daily.


Photographs: Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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In 2011, the Indian Railway carried over 8,900 million passengers annually or more than 24 million passengers daily and 2.8 million tonnes of freight daily. 

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Image: Commuters struggle to board a train at Noli railway station in Uttar Pradesh.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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In 2011-2012, the Indian Railways had revenues of Rs 1,11,984.89 crore ($20 billion) -- Rs 69,675.97 crore ($13 billion) from freight and Rs 28,645.52 crore ($5.2 billion) from passengers tickets.

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Image: Commuters travel in a train heading from Agra to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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Indian Railways is the world's ninth largest commercial or utility employer, by number of employees, with over 1.4 million employees.

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Image: A child sits on the floor of a train heading towards Allahabad from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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As for rolling stock, Indian Railway holds over 239,281 Freight Wagons, 59,713 Passenger Coaches and 9,549 locomotives (43 steam, 5,197 diesel and 4,309 electric locomotives).

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Photographs: Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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The trains have a 5 digit numbering system as the Indian Railways runs about 10,000 trains daily. 

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Image: A man watches a film on his laptop as the train heads towards Agra from Delhi.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.
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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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Indian Railways has the longest railway platform at Kharagpur (West Bengal). The platform stretches to a length of 2,733 feet.

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Image: Kharagpur Railway Station.


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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Indian Railways - the Chhatrapati  Shivaji Terminus and the Mountain Railways of India.

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Image: Darjeeling Toy Train.


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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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Vembanad Rail Bridge in Kerala is the longest rail bridge in India covering a stretch of 4.62 km.

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Image: Vembanad Rail Bridge.


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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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The longest tunnel is Karbude Tunnel of the Konkan Railway which stretches across a distance of 6.5 km.

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Image: Karbude Tunnel.


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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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Vivek Express, which runs between Dibrugarh and Kanyakumari, has the longest run in terms of distance and time on Indian Railways network. It covers 4,286 km in about 82 hours and 30 minutes.

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Image: Tandon report recommended that the 10 separate cadres of the Railways should end and a single Indian Railway Administrative Service institute should be created.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.

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The first double decker train in India was Pune-Mumbai Sinhagad express plying between Pune and Mumbai.

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Image: Air conditioned double-decker train.

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The first double-decker AC train in the Indian Railways was introduced in November 2010, running between the Dhanbad and Howrah stations.



Image: A double-decker between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

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