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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Last updated on: April 17, 2013 14:16 IST


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

Image: Mumbai's Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Photographs: Reuters.

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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Tags: India , Bombay

160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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

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

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Tags: Bombay , Thane

160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts


Photographs: Reuters.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts


Photographs: Reuters.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts


Photographs: Reuters.

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

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Commuters struggle to board a train at Noli railway station in Uttar Pradesh.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Commuters travel in a train heading from Agra to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts


Photographs: Reuters.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: A man watches a film on his laptop as the train heads towards Agra from Delhi.
Photographs: Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters.

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

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Kharagpur Railway Station.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Darjeeling Toy Train.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Vembanad Rail Bridge.

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

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Karbude Tunnel.

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

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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

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.

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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160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: Air conditioned double-decker train.

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

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Tags: Mumbai , India

160 years of Indian Railways: Interesting facts

Image: A double-decker between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

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


Tags: Howrah , Dhanbad