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The Best and Worst of the Indian Railways

Indian Railways (reporting mark IR) is an Indian state-owned enterprise, owned and operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways. It is one of the world's largest railway networks comprising 115,000 km (71,000 mi) of track over a route of 65,808 km (40,891 mi) and 7,112 stations.  In 2014-15, IR carried 8.397 billion passengers annually or more than 23 million passengers a day (roughly half of whom were suburban passengers) and 1058.81 million tons of freight in the year.[3] In 2014–2015 Indian Railways had revenues of ₹1634.50 billion (US$24 billion) which consists of ₹1069.27 billion (US$16 billion) from freight and ₹402.80 billion (US$5.9 billion) from passengers tickets.
Railways were first introduced to India in the year 1853 from Mumbai to Thane. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, the Indian Railways, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network of broad, metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities at several places in India and are assigned codes identifying their gauge, kind of power and type of operation. Its operations cover twenty nine states and seven union territories and also provides limited international services to Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Indian Railways is the world's seventh largest commercial or utility employer, by number of employees, with over 1.376 million employees as of last published figures in 2013 . As for rolling stock, IR holds over 245,267 Freight Wagons, 66,392 Passenger Coaches and 10,499 Locomotives (43 steam, 5,633 diesel and 4,823 electric locomotives). The trains have a 5 digit numbering system and runs 12,617 passenger trains and 7421 freight trains daily. As of 31 March 2013, 21,614 km (13,430 mi) (32.8%) of the total 65,808 km (40,891 mi) route length was electrified. Since 1960, almost all electrified sections on IR use 25,000 Volt AC traction through overhead catenary delivery.
The history of rail transport in India began in the mid-nineteenth century. The core of the pressure for building Railways In India came from London. In 1848, there was not a single kilometer of railway line in India. The country's first railway, built by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR), opened in 1853, between Bombay and Thane.  The Great Southern India Railway Co. was founded in Britain in 1853 and registered in 1859. Construction of track in Madras Presidency began in 1859 and the 80-mile link from Trichinopoly to Negapatam was opened in 1861. The Carnatic Railway founded in 1864, opened a Madras-Arakkonam-Conjeevaram line in 1865. The Great Southern India Railway Company was subsequently merged with the Carnatic Railway Company in 1874 to form the South Indian Railway Company. 

A British engineer, Robert Maitland Brereton, was responsible for the expansion of the railways from 1857 onwards. The Allahabad-Jabalpur branch line of the East Indian Railway had been opened in June 1867. Brereton was responsible for linking this with the GIPR, resulting in a combined network of 6,400 km (4,000 mi). Hence it became possible to travel directly from Bombay to Calcutta. This route was officially opened on 7 March 1870 and it was part of the inspiration for French writer Jules Verne's book Around the World in Eighty Days. At the opening ceremony, the Viceroy Lord Mayo concluded that "it was thought desirable that, if possible, at the earliest possible moment, the whole country should be covered with a network of lines in a uniform system".
Recruitment and training 
The recruitment of Group 'A' gazetted employees is carried out by the Union Public Service Commission through exams conducted by it.  The recruitment to Group 'C' and 'D' employees on the Indian Railways is done through 21 Railway Recruitment Boards and Railway Recruitment Cells which are controlled by the Railway Recruitment Control Board (RRCB).  The training of all cadres is entrusted and shared between six centralised training institutes.
Goods wagons 
The number of goods wagons was 205,596 on 31 March 1951 and reached the maximum number 405,183 on 31 March 1980 after which it started declining and was 239,321 on 31 March 2012. The number is far less than the requirement and the Indian Railways keeps losing freight traffic to road. Indian Railways carried 93 million tonnes of goods in 1950–51 and it increased to 1010 million tonnes in 2012–13. 

However, its share in goods traffic is much lower than road traffic. In 1951, its share was 65% and the share of road was 35%. Now the shares have been reversed and the share of railways has declined to 30% and the share of road has increased to 70%.
 







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