Transport in India

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Railways Transport in India

The Indian Railway system is the largest in Asia and the second largest in the world. It is also the biggest public sector enterprise in India, with an investment of over ₹ 7,000 crore and a gross annual revenue of over ₹ 2000 crore.

Evolution of the Indian Railways

The first railways in India, also first in Asia, was opened by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company ( now the Central Railway ) formed in England. The company took up the survey in 1850. In about 3 years the work was completed and the first train steamed out of Bombay on 16th April, 1853, and reached Thane covering a modest distance of about 34 kms. Indian railways have grown into a vast network of more than 7,530 stations spread over 64,215 km with a fleet of 9,000 locomotives, 60,000 coaches, 6,180 electric multiple units and 2,40,000 wagons.

The growth of Indian railways in the 150 years of its existence is thus phenomenal. It has played a vital role in the economic, industrial and social development of our country. The network runs multigauge operations extending over 64,215 route kilometre. The gauge – wise route and track lengths of the system as on 31st March, 2010 were as under :
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About 33% of the route kilometre, 41% of running track kilometre and 44% of total track kilometre is electrified. Indian Railway is the second biggest electrified system in the world, after Russia.

Gauge conversion is a continuous process. The conversion of metre and narrow gauges into broad gauge ( Uni – gauge ) is on full swing. The share of broad gauge in the total route kilometer has been steadily rising, increasing from 47% in 1951 to 85% in 2011.


The Indian Railways network is owned and managed by the Central Government. The operations are controlled and directed by the Railway Board under the overall supervision of the Minister for Railways.

The Board has a Chairman and 6 members including the Financial Commissioner. The Chairman is the Ex – Officio Principal Secretary to the Government of India.

The Board thus performs the dual functions of a secretariat to the Ministry of Railways and that of an executive body responsible for railway operations. The Railways’ annual budget is approved by the Parliament and accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Administrative Divisions : The Indian Railways network is divided into 17 Zones each headed by a General Manager. Zoned Railways are given below :

Railway Zones

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*On 30th December, 2010, Union Railway Minister Mamata Bannerjee announced Kolkata Metro Rail as 17th Independent Railway Zone.

Zonal Railway Divisions

Each zonal railway is made up of a certain number of divisions each having a divisional headquarters. There are a total of sixty – eight divisions.

  • Southern Railway : Chennai, Madurai, Palghat, Tiruchchirapalli, Trivandrum, Salem.
  • Central Railway : Mumbai, Bhusawal, Pune, Solapur, Nagpur.
  • Western Railway : Mumbai Central, Baroda, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar.
  • Northern Railway : Delhi, Ambala, Firozpur, Lucknow, Moradabad.
  • North Eastern Railways : Izzatnagar, Lucknow, Varanasi.
  • Eastern Railway : Howrah, Sealdah, Asansol, Malda.
  • South Eastern Railway : Adra, Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Ranchi.
  • Northeast Frontier Railway : Alipurduar, Katihar, Lumding, Rangia, Tinsukia.
  • South Central Railway : Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Guntakal, Guntur, Nanded, Vijayawada.
  • East Coast Railway : Khurda Road, Sambalpur, Visakhapatnam.
  • North Western Railway : Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur.
  • South East Central Railway : Bilaspur, Raipur, Nagpur.
  • East Central Railway : Danapur, Dhanbad, Mughalsarai, Samastipur, Sonpur.
  • North Central Railway : Allahabad, Agra, Jhansi.
  • South Western Railway : Hubli, Bangaloru, Mysore.
  • West Central Railway : Jabalpur, Bhopal, Kota.

Railway Production Units

Locomotives are built in Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, Chittaranjan, Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi and BHEL, Bhopal. Chittaranjan has built an indigenous 3 – phase state – of – art 6000 HP freight electric locomotive ‘Navyug’.

Passenger coaches are manufactured in Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, Chennai and Rail Coach Factory, Kapurtala. In addition, two more units in public sector, M/s Jessops, Kolkata and Bharat Earth Movers Limited, Bangalore, also manufacture coaches and electrical multiple units. Diesel Component Works at Patiala manufactures components of diesel locomotives. Wheel and Axle Plant, Yelahanka ( Bangalore ), went into production in 1983. A wheel and Axle Plant, Chapra in Bihar will be setup. New Integral Coach Factory was set up at Alapuzha, Kerala ( in 2007 – 2008 Railway Budget ). Another one Integral Coach Factory was set up at Kanchrapara, West Bengal ( in 2009 – 2010 Railway Budget ). By the 2011 – 2012 Railway Budget 56 new trains are to be introduced. Nine new Duronto trains are also to be introduced. The number of trains introduced in last three years i.e., from 2007 to 2010.

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On 19th October, 2011 Real Time Information System ( RTIS ) project, CPS based SIMRAN technology was introduced.
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Public Undertakings

The Ministry of Railways has 11 undertakings under its administrate control. They are

  1. Rail India Technical and Economic Services Limited;
  2. Indian Railway Construction Company Limited;
  3. Indian Railway Finance Corporation Limited;
  4. Container Corporation of India Limited; and
  5. Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.
  6. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd.
  7. Raitel Corporation of India Ltd.
  8. Mumbai Railvikas Nigam Ltd.
  9. Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd.
  10. Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd.
  11. Bharat Wagon and Engineering Co. Ltd.

Centre for Railway Information System was set up as a registered society to design and implement various railway computerisation projects. There is also a Research, Design and Standards Organisation at Lucknow which is an attached office of the Railway Board and is headed by a Director General.

Freight Traffic

Rapid progress in industrial and agricultural sectors has generated higher level of demand for rail transport, particularly in the core sectors lira coal, iron and steel ores, petroleum products and essential commodities such as foodgrains, fertilizers, cement, sugar, salt, edible oils, etc.

Revenue freight traffic increased from 73.2 million tonnes in 1950 – 1951 to 833 million tonnes. Transport effort measured in terms of Net Tonne Kilometres ( NTkm ) increased from 38 billion in 1950 – 1951 to 551.0 billion. Freight trains carry over 20 million tonnes of originating goods traffic.

Container Service : A new marketing strategy of container services was introduced in the year 1989 with 7 container depots. In 1996 it was expanded to 32 locations.
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Passenger Traffic

There has been an impressive increase in volume of passenger traffic both in terms of number of passengers and passenger kilometres, which is a product of passengers carried and average distance traversed. Each day, more than 7,575 passenger trains carry more than 136 lakh passengers.

Passengers originating had risen from 1,284 million in 1950 – 1951 to 6920 million and passenger kilometre from 66.52 billion in 1950 – 1951 to 838 billion. Railway Budget 2011 – 2012, Indian Railways introduces 56 new trains for 2011. Long distance non – stop point – to – point high speed train “Duronto Express” have been introduced from 2009 / 2010. Every year, new trains on long distance as well as trains with high speed are introduced.
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Handicaps to Railway Revenues

The Railways suffer from serious handicaps which erode the revenue on four counts.

  1. If Ticketless travel
  2. Uneconomic lines
  3. Social burdens and
  4. Separate Coaches.

Konkan Railway

Headquarters – Navi Mumbai. The 760 – km Konkan Railway has become fully operational on Roha to Mangalore section from 26th January, 1998. Konkan Railway is jointly owned by Indian Railways and four states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Kerala. Konkan Railway Corporation has invested ₹ 3,500 crore, now it generates a revenue of around ₹ 90 lakhs a day from passenger fares and freight charges. It is the longest rail line laid in the country, which has 179 major bridges, 1,819 minor bridges, 92 tunnels 83.4 km added length and 88.77 million cubic metres of earthwork in cuttings and embankments.

Metro Railways

Metro Railways, in India, holding the status of Zonal Railways, are functioning independently on a corporate basis. Kolkatta ( 22.3 km ) was the first Metro Rail to be started in India in 1984, and followed by Delhi Metro in 2002. In Chennai, Mass Rapid Transit System, in partly elevated structure, is operating from 1997, as part of Southern Railway. Construction work is on for Bengaluru and Chennai Metro Railway System.

Mountain Railways

  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway ( 1881 ) – runs between Siliguri and Darjeeling ( West Bengal ) for 86 kms at an attitude of 2200 mtrs at its highest point. It is a World Heritage Site from 1999.
  • Kalka Shimla Railway ( 1898 ) – runs between Kalka and Shimla ( HP ) for 96 kms, at an altitude of 2076 mtrs at its highest point. It is a World Heritage Site since 1999.
  • Kangra Valley Railway ( 1924 ) – between Pathankot ( Punjab ) to Palampur ( Himachal Pradesh ) runs for 164 km at an elevation of 733 mtrs at its highest point, It is a World Heritage Site.
  • Nilgiri Mountain Railway ( 1908 ) – runs between Mettupalayam to Ooty ( Tamil Nadu ) for a distance of 41.8 kms at an elevation of 2203 mtrs at its highest point. It is a World Heritage Site from 1999.
  • Matheran Hill Railway ( 1907 ) – runs from 20 km between Neral to Matheran in Maharashtra.

Luxury Trains

  • Palace on Wheels : India’s first Luxury train started on 26th January, 1952 – Promoted by Rajasthan Government. The train starts from Delhi and covers all important places of interest in Rajasthan and Agra. Highlight of the train is the ambience, facilities, and the 14 coaches named after the former Rajput states.
  • Golden Chariot : Commenced Service from 10th March, 2008. Starts from Bangalore and covers important tourist places of Karnataka and also Goa. Comprises of 11 coaches named after the dynasties that ruled the Karnataka region. Facilities, besides various cuisines and comfort, live TV coverage is also provided.
  • Deccan Odyssey : Maharashtra Government sponsored luxury train, starts from Mumbai and covers important tourist places of Maharastra and a few places on the Konkan Railway.
  • Royal Rajasthan : Indian Railways sponsored luxury train operating on the same route of Palace on Wheels, launched in 2009.

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OFC Networking

Till July, 2010, Optical Fibre Cable ( OFC ) network with a bandwidth capacity of 2 : 5 Giga bits per second ( Gbps ) has been setup on 35948 route kilometers by Rail Tel Corporation of India. As of 31st July, 2010 a total number of 3786 stations are connected on OFC network.

Indian Railway’s Salient Features

  • World’s fourth largest railway network.
  • One of the world’s largest single employer.
  • India’s largest single employer, having more than 1.6 million ( 16 lakh ) employees.
  • Kharagpur ( West Bengal ), South Eastern Railway is the world’s longest railway platform ( 1072 mtrs ).
  • Jammu & Kashmir tunnel is Indian Railway’s longest tunnel. ( 10.96 km ) ( October, 2011 )
  • Transports daily more than 20 million passengers and 2 million tonnes of freight.
  • Fastest train in India is the Delhi – Bhopal Shatabdi Express, running at a speed of more than 160 kms.
  • The Longest train route in India is the Kanyakumari to Jammu covering a distance of 3738 kms.
  • Four of the five mountain railways are World Heritage Sites.
  • “Fairy Queen” the world’s oldest Steam Locomotive is still in operating conditions. It was built in 1855.

Modernisation of railways, replacement and renewal of assets, particularly track renewal, safety of passengers, cleanliness, improvement in passenger amenities, control over expenditure and prevention of leakage of revenue would be the thrust areas. Over 1,280 unmanned level crossings would be manned over a period of time. Train protection and warning system and provision of anti – collision device were other measures planned. An institute of rescue and medical relief would be set up in Bangalore with training modules on disaster management.
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A target of completion of 1,300 kms of gauge conversion had been fixed for the current year along with 700 kms of doubling. The target for new electrification had been kept at 1299 kms in 2009. Setting – up of a Wheel and Axle plant at Chapra, Bihar and Integral Coach Factory also to be set up in Alapuzha, Kerala.

Civil Aviation

The Ministry of Civil Aviation looks after the department of Civil Aviation. There are two corporations in India namely ‘Indian Airlines’ ( recently named Indian ) and ‘Air India’ which came into existence on 15th June, 1953. Indian Civil Aviation celebrated its golden jubilee in October, 1982. To commemorate the occasion, Mr. J.R.D. Tata repeated the historic first flight from Karachi to Mumbai ( Bombay ), in his ‘Leopard Moth’ on 15th October, 1982. The Indian Airlines Corporation provides services within India and also to the neighbouring 14 countries.

There are about 12 international, 88 domestic aerodromes and 25 civil enclaves at defence air fields controlled and operated by the Airports Authority of India.

Twelve aerodromes at Mumbai ( Chatrapathi Sivaji ), Delhi ( Indira Gandhi ), Kolkatta ( Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose ), Chennai ( Arighar Anna ) and Amritsar ( Raja Sansi ) are International Airports etc. to which aids and services are provided by International Airports Authority of India Limited. The aerodromes at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Mumbai, Kolkatta, Delhi, Chennai, Port Blair, Tiruchirapalli and Thiruvananthapuram have been declared as customs aerodromes.

There are 18 flying clubs and seven gliding clubs. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy was set up on 7th November, 1985 at Fursatganj ( Uttar Pradesh ) to standardise and improve training facilities for commercial pilots.

On 18th February, 1911, the first official airmail was flown from Uttar Pradesh Exhibition grounds Allahabad to Naini.

Air India has the following fleets : Airbus 310 – 300 ( 6 ); Airbus 330 – 200 ( 2 ); Boeing 747 – 400 ( 6 ); Boeing 777 – 200 ( 1 ); Boeing 777 – 200 ER ( 3 ); Boeing 777 – 200 LR ( 8 ); and Boeing 777 – 300 ER ( 10 ); Dornier – 228 and one of the biggest Aeroplane Airbus – A380 will be built in 2011 in India.

Airports Authority of India ( AAI ) : AAI was formed on 1st April, 1995 by the merger of the International Airports Authority of India and the National Airports Authority. Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited has been providing helicopter support services to the petroleum sector, certain State governments and public sector undertakings and in the north – eastern States. Sahara Airlines, Jet Airways, Gujarat Airways, and UP Airways are the private air taxi operators.

Some Principal Airlines of the World

  • Aeroflot ( Russia )
  • Air India ( India )
  • Air Lanka ( Sri Lanka )
  • Air France ( France )
  • Alitalia ( Italy )
  • Ariana Afghan Airlines ( Afghanistan )
  • British Airways ( England )
  • Cathay Pacific ( Hongkong )
  • Finnair ( Finland )
  • Garuda Airways ( Indonesia )
  • Japan Airlines Limited ( Japan )
  • K.L.M.Royal Dutch ( Netherlands )
  • Lufthansa ( Germany )
  • Pan American Airways ( USA )
  • Qantas Empire Airways ( Australia )
  • Royal Nepal Airlines ( Nepal )
  • Sabena ( Belgium )
  • Scandinavian Airlines System ( Sweden )
  • Swissair ( Switzerland )
  • Thai Airways International ( Thailand )
  • Trans – World Airlines ( USA )
  • Olympic Airways ( Greece )

Roads Transport in India

Until 1920s, little attention was paid for the development of roads in India. After the First World War when motor transport movements started increasing in India, the need for developing roads received due attention. With a developing economy allowing only marginal growth on infrastructure until the end of 20th century, there was no fast track developments.

However, with liberalisation and globalisation of various sectors in India, in the mid 1990s, the need for developing infrastructure became inescapable. Thus, came the urgent need to develop roads, be it between cities or between towns, in order to keep pace with the industrial development.
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Gradually, the government increased its plan outlay for central sector road programs’. In 2009 – 2010 the central allocation for road development was ₹ 16680 crores and in 2010 – 2011 it has been raised to ₹ 19894 crores. Thus it is evident that road development is receiving due attention.

The government is also equally concerned about the development of rural connectivity. Pradhan Mantri Gramma Sadak Yojana was launched in 2000 to build all weather roads to connect all rural villages with a population of 500 and above ( 250 and above in hilly areas ).

The high point of road development is the implementation of the “Golden Quadrilateral” – connecting India’s, four major metros – Delhi Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, 5846 kms of four / six Lane express ways at a cost of about 60000 crores – in 1999. As of October, 2010, 5806 kms of the entire stretch has been completed and the remaining is also expected to be completed soon.

The National Highways Authority of India, is also developing other National highways into Four or Six Lanes under BOT scheme ( Build, Operate and Transfer ) by involving private sector companies. The “expressway” built in India was Mumbai – Pune covering 93 kms and became fully operational in 2002.

Roads in India are classified as ( 1 ) National Highway, ( 2 ) State Highway, ( 3 ) Major District Roads, ( 4 ) Major District and Rural Roads.

As of 2010 the total Road Length in India was 35,16,452 km, making Indian Road Network the third largest in the world. Of this 200 kms stretch ( Mumbai – Pune & Delhi – Noida stretch ) is Express way. The remaining are under the four categories :

National Highways ( 70,934 kms ) : With the framework of the road system, predominant role is played by the National Highways, which are the main arteries running through the country connecting state capitals, major ports, industrial complexes, etc. Total length of National Highways is 70,934 kms. National Highway No. l runs between Delhi and Pakistan Border ( near Amritsar ). Roads of strategic importance for defence are also included in National Highways. Though the national highways constitute only two percent of the total road length, they carry nearly 40 percent of road traffic.

State Highways ( 1,37,711 kms ) : These are trunk roads interlinking State capitals With important areas in the district and intersect National and State Highways or railways passing through the district.

Major, Minor District Roads and Village Roads ( 4,67,763 kms ) : These connect different towns, villages to one another and to the nearest district road and inland water – way.

Rural and Other Roads ( 26,50,000 ) kms.
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Shipping Transport

Shipping has been in vogue in India from the ancient / medieval days when the Indian Kings, specially from the southern part of India, not only had trade links with some of the eastern countries, but also ventured into acquisition and ruling of eastern countries, most notably Kampuchea ( formerly Cambodia ), Srilanka, where Hindu Kings ruled and flourished.

However, the credit of founding the Indian Shipping Industry goes to the Tamil Nadu freedom fighter and patriot Shri. V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, who started the “Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company”, in November, 1906. With the advent of time, the shipping industry grew steadily and in 1961 ( 2nd October, 1961 ) The Shipping Corporation of India was started by taking over two shipping companies and later to include two more companies in 1973 & 1986. Now SCI is the only public sector shipping company in India with a number of other private shipping companies operating internationally and also along Indian Coastal and Island water ways. Now the SCI has a fleet of 84 vessels, totaling 4.93 million DWT. It also manages 53 vessels, in total managing 63,000 DWT on behalf of various Government and other organizations. It owns and operates nearly 40% of Indian tonnage. Simultaneously, the Government is also concentrating on development of Ports. At present there are 13 major ports and more than 180 minor ports with a few of the handling cargo.

On the Inland waterway front, with about 14500 kms of navigable length available for transportation, the Government is keen to develop the same and for this purpose formed the “Inland Waterways Authority of India” in 1986. It has its headquarters at Noida.
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At present, there are six National Waterways :

  1. Allahabad to Haldia – 1620 kms – over Ganges – Hooghly rivers Established in 2986.
  2. Sadiya – Dhubri – 891 kms. Over Bhrahmaputra river. Established in 1982.
  3. Kottapuram – Kollam – 205 kms. Over West coast, Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals. Established in 1993.
  4. Kakinada – Puducherry – 1095 kms. Over Puducherry stretch of Canals, Kaluvelly Tank, Bhadrachalam – Rajahmundry stretch of Godavari and Wazirabad – Vijayawada stretch of Krishna river. Established in 2008.
  5. Talcher – Dhamra Stretch of Brahmani, Geonkhali – Charbatia stretch of East coast canal, Charbatia – Dhamra stretch of Matai riven and Mangalgadi – Paradip stretch of Mahanadi delta rivers covering 623 kms. Established in 2008.
  6. Lakhipur – Bhangra stretch of river Barak – 121 kms. Under proposal, The Dredging Corporation of India, established in 1976, headquartered at Visakhapatnam, takes care of the dredging maintenance of Indian ports.

The Tenth Plan outlay for Port development was ₹ 5418 crores and a substantial amount has been allocated in the 11th plan and 2011 – 2012 Union budget under the infrastructure development heading.

Tourism Transport

India’s rich and varied cultural background and its timeless civilisation have been a major force in inviting tourists both from abroad and across our country itself : Tourism is the largest service industry in India with a contribution of about 6.3% to the national GDP and employment potential is 8.8%. India witnesses the visit of more than 5 million foreign tourists annually apart from domestic tourist flow reaching 562 million. The Indian tourism industry has generated more than 14 billion US Dollars in 2010 and is estimated to grow by 9.4% annually. At this rate of growth, Indian tourism industry is expected to generate 275.5 billion US Dollars by 2018. To add to this growth, medical tourism has also started contributing gradually with foreigners opting for treatment in Indian Hospitals, more specifically in South Indian Super Specialty Hospitals. International events like, Commonwealth Games 2010 International conferences also contribute to the growth of tourism in India. The Ministry of Tourism is the nodal agency for the development and promotion of tourism in India. India Tourism Development Corporation ( ITDC ) was established in October, 1966. The ITDC Operates and maintains a number of Hotels, Beach Resorts, Transport Services, Duty Bee Shops, travel agencies etc. It has regional and field offices at important tourist centres in India. ITDC also has a few field officers overseas to market Indian tourism. The state Governments are also having their own tourism development corporations, and are also operating luxury trains like Palace on Wheels etc., in collaboration with the Indian Railways.

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