Railways of Hindustan: catching up with time

Indian Railways have improved their financial health and quality of transportation, but still have not resolved other industry problems. India is fourth in the world ranking of the length of operated railways, right after the United States, China and Russia. Most of the railway network is the heritage of the British metropolis, however, the Indians are quite effectively using and developing the facilities laid by the colonialists.


Indian Railways is 66 thousand kilometers of communication network (a third of which is electrified), 115 thousand kilometers of tracks, over 7200 stations, over 5600 diesel locomotives, almost 5 thousand electric locomotives and even 40 steam locomotives (their production was stopped only in 1985 year, and they are still in operation). Indian Railways consists of 18 structural divisions, including 17 zonal (territorial) divisions and the Kolkata metro.

As the birthplace of steam locomotives and railways, Great Britain actively introduced this form of transport in its colonies. The first railway linking the port of Bombay (now Mumbai) and Thanh was opened in 1853 – just 28 years after the start of the first public railway line Stockton – Darlington in Great Britain. By the turn of the century, the production of locomotives had already been established in India, the main economic centers were connected with each other by rail, high-mountain narrow-gauge roads were built.

In 2001, an independent expert group, initiated by the government, presented an analysis of the situation at the Indian Railways and proposed approaches to overcome acute problems. Some of the proposals were immediately implemented. The next step is to create a long-term reform strategy. In 2009, the document “Indian Railways. Vision 2020 ” was presented. Three main tasks were identified: to stop the decline in the share of freight traffic, to improve the quality of passenger transportation, to create separate freight corridors and high-speed passenger routes.

Foreign investments and partnerships with large corporations help out. Construction of the Japanese Shinkansen super express line (over 500 kilometers long ) which will connect Mumbai and Ahmedabad began in 2017. Major part of the $14.6 billion project costs will be covered by Japan. Two more large projects – for the construction of a locomotive and electric locomotive plants – are already underway: General Electric will ensure the creation of 1000 diesel locomotives, and the Alston Corporation – 800 electric locomotives.

All this shows that the Indian Railways authority is not going to capitulate to motor transport.

Railway Magazine “Railway Supply”


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