Indian Railways, the ‘Lifeline of the Nation’, has been around for the past 150 years. The very first Indian locomotive ran over a stretch of 21 miles from Bombay to Thane on the 16th of April 1853. Indian Railways is a state-owned enterprise headed by the Ministry of Railways and employs a staggering 1.4 million people – making it the 4th largest utility employer in the world. Below is a list of some of the most interesting facts about Indian Railways you will ever come across:
Fact # 1
Despite popular belief, Indian Railways is not the largest rail network in Asia nor is it the largest railway network in the world. IR fields a total of ~68,103 km of railway track which is less than the railway networks of the USA, Russia, and China.
(Some sources even quote Canada for having a bigger railway network than IR)
Fact # 2
Indian Railways is the biggest railway network in the world under single management. (Before Indian Independence from Britain in 1947, there were more than 40 Railway companies operating in the region)
Fact # 3
IR maintains 7,349 railway stations and runs 13,169 passenger trains serving some 23 million passengers every day. IR also transports 3 million tons of cargo daily.
These astonishing numbers of passengers and cargo ensure an astonishing revenue that is above $29.2 billion annually.
Fact # 4
The oldest train in IR’s arsenal is the Fairy Queen which was produced back in 1855. Surprisingly it is still operational and holds a Guinness World Record of “Oldest Operational Locomotive”.
It runs on a track between New Delhi and Alwar with a total capacity of 38 passengers. Its ticket is priced at around 7500/- INR for adults.
Fact # 5
The total distance covered by the IR daily sums up to 1,345,410.5 km which is three and a half times the distance of the earth to the moon.
Fact # 6
The fastest train that IR can throw at its passengers, the Vande Bharat Express, can touch speeds up to 160 km/hr.
However, during speed trials in 2000, one Indian train, LHB Alstom, touched 184 km/hr – the highest ever for an Indian train.
Fact # 7
A 198 km narrow gauge track between Gwalior and Sheopur is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Center Tentative list and is considered to be the longest narrow gauge railway track in the world.
Fact # 8
There are only two states in India, Sikkim, and Meghalaya, which are not covered by the vast network of IR.
Fact # 9
The Howrah-Amritsar Express makes 115 stops during its entire route which is the highest for any Indian train.
Fact # 10
The longest journey on the Indian Railway network can be taken via Himsagar Express which runs between Kanyakumari and Jammu Tawi and covers 3,751 km.
The complete journey on average takes around 72 hours.
Fact # 11
The railway station in Lucknow is considered to be the busiest station in the entire IR network as it receives 64 trains daily on an average day.
Fact # 12
Over 100 million tickets are booked online every year through railway websites. The Indian Railways websites earn nearly 10 crore rupees every year through online advertising on their network sites related to IRCTC.