Running through the whole country like a network of veins, Railways is truly the lifeline of India. It connects the largest democracy through its length and breadth. People from the far flung corners of the country can travel to completely opposite geographical locations without any hassle through railways and that too at a cost not burning a hole in their pocket.
Following are some interesting facts about Indian railways that are sure to leave you amazed:
- The foundation of Indian Railways network was laid in 1853 during the British rule. It is thus regarded as one good thing that we got during the English Imperial era. First train in India covered its journey from Bombay to Thane on 16th April, 1853.
- Although the idea of construction of railways is credited to the Britishers but the credit of construction of first railroad was done by two enterprising Indians – Jaganath Shunkerseth and Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy.
- The whole railways system was nationalised and integrated into one unit in 1951
- The mascot of Indian Railways is a Guard Elephant- ‘Bholu’
- Might of Indian Railways is unmatched. This is quite evident through the fact that it is the largest employer in the country which has second largest population in the world. Looking at the statistics, according to a news report dated 29th June, 2015, Indian Railways is the largest employer in India with 14 lakh employees and eighth biggest employer of the world.
- The Indian Railways has track length which can cover the Equator one and half times!
- With a daily passenger footfall of 25 million, the Indian Railways is truly connecting India corner to corner.
- Indian Railways provides international commuting to three countries Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal in a ‘limited manner’.
- World’s highest rail bridge is owned by Indian Railways and it is being constructed over Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir. It is five times the length of Qutab Minar.
- There are total 7,500 rail stations in India
- 1986 was the year when Indian Railways did its first computerization reservation in New Delhi
- The online portal of Indian Railways, Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation, gets close to 12 lakh hits in a single minute
- The record of longest platform in the world is held by Indian Railways- it is Gorakhpur platform which is 1,366.33 metres long and prior to this also this record was held by Indian railways for Kharagpur platform.
- Longest bridge in India dedicated to freight is Vembanad Rail Bridge and its passenger counterpart is Nehru Setu Bridge
- Two sites on Indian Railways have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites – The Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the Mountain Railways of India. Mountain Railways of India takes you through the most breathtaking views of pristine beauty through the hills and mountains and these comprise Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Kalka-Shimla Railway.
- There is a special train dedicated to provision of healthcare services to rural areas. It is known as the Lifeline Express. The train has an operation ward, a store room and patient wards. It runs through the whole country and has a halt of two months at one location.
- Fairy Queen of Indian Railways is the oldest operating locomotive in the world originally built in 1855 and overhauled in 1996. It operates on the route of Delhi to Alwar. It was started again with the primary motive to boost tourism in Rajasthan.
Read More: The Changing Face of the Indian Railways
- The northernmost, southernmost, westernmost and easternmost points on Indian Railways are Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, Kanyakumari in Kerala, Naliya in Gujarat and Ledo on branch line from Tinsukia respectively. Nagpur (located in Central India) is the site of diamond crossing of Indian Railways from where trains move in all four directions!
- To exhibit the legacy of Indian Railways in India and to bring its interesting history to life, National Rail Museum was set up in 1977. This is one of the most amazing museums in India and is fun to explore as there is a collection of antique steam engines, locomotives, carriages etc. There is a toy train running through the museum offering a fun ride, visitors are recommended to take their kids along for it.