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India - Infrastructure Railways


Indian Railways - Introduction

The first railway on Indian sub-continent ran over a stretch of 21 miles from Bombay to Thane. The idea of a railway to connect Bombay with Thane, Kalyan and with the Thal and Bhore Ghats inclines first occurred to Mr. George Clark, the Chief Engineer of the Bombay Government, during a visit to Bhandup in 1843.

The formal inauguration ceremony was performed on 16th April 1853, when 14 railway carriages carrying about 400 guests left Bori Bunder at 3.30 pm "amidst the loud applause of a vast multitude and to the salute of 21 guns."

The first passenger train steamed out of Howrah station destined for Hooghly, a distance of 24 miles, on 15th August, 1854. Thus the first section of the East Indian Railway was opened to public traffic, inaugurating the beginning of railway transport on the Eastern side of the sub-continent. In south the first line was opened on Ist July, 1856 by the Madras Railway Company. It ran between Veyasarpandy and Walajah Road (Arcot), a distance of 63 miles. In the North a length of 119 miles of line was laid from Allahabad to Kanpur on 3rd March 1959. The first section from Hathras Road to Mathura Cantonment was opened to traffic on 19th October, 1875.

These were the small beginnings which is due course developed into a network of railway lines all over the country. By 1880 the Indian Railway system had a route mileage of about 9000 miles.


Freight and passenger traffic carried by Indian Railway has recorded an impressive growth. This has been possible due to conscious efforts put in by the railways in improving the productivity of the assets and modernization and technology upgradation in various fields. In some areas like track, signalling, communication systems, computerization, etc., the technology in use is comparable to that in the very advanced countries. We have attempted modernization and technological upgradation of the system to generate maximum capacity with minimum investment and to provide rail transport at the least cost to our users.

Production of Rolling Stock

After Independence, Indian Railways have set up production units for manufacture of diesel locomotives, electric locomotives, coaches, wheels and axles, diesel components, springs, etc. Technology transfer agreements have also been signed or manufacture of the latest design of electric locomotives (6000 hp), diesel locomotives (4000 hp) and light weight coaches.

Metro Railway

Indian Railways can also take the credit for introducing an "Underground Metro Railway" for Calcutta. The whole route from Dum Dum to Tollygunge has been commissioned and opened for commercial operation in 1995. Similarly, the country's first elevated Mass Rapid Transit System at Chennai has also been completed; the system connects Chennai Beach to Luz.

Konkan Railway

The 760 km long Konkan Railway from Roha to Mangalore is nearly complete. This section has 169 major and 1630 minor bridges and 88 tunnels with the longest one being 6.5 km long.


Electric traction is a pollution-free and energy efficient mode of transportation. About 21 percent of the total route km of Indian Railways, i.e.13,509 route km, has been electrified up to March 31, 1997.

Gauge Conversion

Project uni-gauge has been undertaken to develop alternative routes to connect important places with the broad gauge network, develop backward regions and avoid problems faced at transshipment points. During the Eighth Plan, 6,733 km of meter and narrow gauge track were converted. In the Ninth Plan, conversion of another 6,200 km has been planned.

Doubling/Quadrupling of Railway Lines

Doubling/quadrupling of railway lines is being carried out on the saturated sections of Indian Railways to increase freight and passenger carrying capacity on these sections. Doubling of 1089 km of track was completed in the Eighth Plan. It has been planned to complete another 2,500 km in the Ninth Plan.

Computerised Passenger Reservation Facility

"Computerised passenger reservation" facility has been extended to cover over 92 percent of all reservations done on the system. A major step in this direction is the extension of this facility even to state capitals not having a direct rail links, e.g., Shillong, Itanagar, Kohima, Gangtok, Port Blair, etc.                                                         



  1. Indian Railways propose to meet the challenge through implementations of following thrust areas during the Ninth Plan period:
2. Generation of adequate rail transport capacity for handling increasing freight and passenger traffic with special emphasis on development o terminals.
3. Completion of the process of rehabilitation, replacement and renewal of over aged assets.
4. Modernisation and upgradation of the rail transport system to reduce costs and improve reliability, safety and quality of service to the customers.
5. Continue with the policy of unigauge.
6. Introduction of 6000 hp Electric locomotives and 4000 hp Diesel Locomotives employing State-of-Art technology.
7. Expansion and upgradation of inter-modal operations, including containerisation.
8. Improvement of manpower productivity, work culture and staff morale. The broad details of the action plans, discipline-wise, to achieve these objectives are as under:
High horse power (4000 hp) diesel locomotives with AC/AC transmission and State-of -the-Art technology are being imported with transfer of technology for their indigenous manufacture at Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, Modern light weight passenger coaches are also being imported with transfer of technology for indigenous manufacture. Improved pay load to tare freight wagons are wagons are also being planned for the Indian Railways.
Three-phase drive AC electric locomotives of 6000 hp have been imported along with transfer of technology for indigenous manufacture at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, Chittaranjan. Electrification of high-density corridors in order to conserve fossil fuels and provide pollution-free and energy-efficient mode of transportation will also be pursued.
Latest design concrete sleepers, modern rail fastenings and head hardened rails are being utilised to strengthen the track. Track maintenance is being increasingly mechanised to improve quality and to reduce the cost and time for maintenance.
For enhancing safety, auxiliary warning system, route relay interlocking, solid state interlocking, and track circuiting are being extended over the system. Modernisation of telecommunications, including gradual switching over from analogue system to digital system, which include digital microwave, optical fibre and digital telephone exchanges, are being progressively adopted. Railways are also introducing universal train radio communication system between driver, guard and the nearest station to enable immediate response in case of emergencies and accidents.
Line capacity works such as new lines, gauge conversion, railway electrification, doublings, improved signaling, etc., would be carried out on the identified sections so that Indian Railways could carry the projected freight traffic in the Ninth Five Year Plan. It has also been planned to introduce low tare and high pay load wagons with increased axle loads and track loading densities and high horse power locomotives to improve the through-put and average speeds of the trains.
More than 94 per cent of the total reservation requirement of Indian Railways is being done by the computerized reservation facilities at present. There are plans to extend these facilities to more stations, satellite locations, city booking offices and the remaining non-rail head state capitals. It has also been planned to do networking of the computerized reservation services. Interactive inquiry systems are being introduced on more and more stations. Self-printing ticketing machines are also being introduced on more and more stations to reduce the time required for obtaining a ticket. With the introduction of light weight modern coaches and high horse power diesel and electric locomotives, it would be possible to increase the number of coaches in many trains. Average speeds to the trains would also improve.

New Initiatives in Resource Mobilization for the Ninth Plan

Due to dwindling budgetary support over the plan periods and difficulty in raising internal generation of resources beyond a certain limit-mainly due to ever increasing Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC) lease charges and government control over the tariff structure the railways have adopted a number of initiatives to finance the Annual Plans and the Ninth Five Year Plan.

One of such initiatives is Build, Own, Lease and Transfer (BOLT) which route is already being used to a limited extent for gauge conversion and for procurement of locomotives and wagons. After discussions with the private sector, the railways are introducing changes to make the scheme more user-friendly. An outstanding example of Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) is the 760 km Konkan Railway, which is due to open to traffic very shortly. The present cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 3060 Crore. Out of this, Rs. 800 crore is through equity participation of five partners, viz., Indian Railways and the four beneficiary states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. The balance sum is being raised through market borrowings.

The Own-Your-Wagon-Scheme (OYWS) involves the user of rail freight to fund the procurement of wagons. The wagons are then leased to the railway on condition that the supply of wagons required to move the traffic is guaranteed. The response of the private sector to OYWS has been encouraging.



The Government of India has given a high priority to rapidly developing Information Technology and world-class telecom services in the country. To supplement the national telecom and IT infrastructure and to facilitate the growth of telecom, Internet and IT-enabled services, the Minister for Railways has announced the Railways' plan to build a Nationwide Broadband Telecom and Multimedia Venture. This will be made possible by laying an Optical Fibre Network along the 62,800 route-km-long track connecting over 7,000 stations in small, medium and large towns, metros, remote places and rural areas. Indian Railways aspires to develop a business plan, to be implemented in collaboration with appropriate joint venture partners. This venture will be professionally managed by a corporate body.

The venture aims at -
Fulfilling the need for communication and safety of the Railways at the earliest.
Creating a nationwide Broadband Telecom infrastructure, accelerating the growth of telecom, internet and IT-enabled value added service across the county, especially in rural, remote and backward areas in order to contribute significantly to the realisation of the goals and targets of the National Telecom Policy, 1999.
To harness the considerable income-generating potential of this venture, in keeping with the Railways' priority to mobilise non-traditional sources of additional revenue to rapidly implement the Railways' developmental plans.

Reputed consulting firms with requisite experience and expertise in successfully completing the assignments to set up large telecom/optical fibre network/internet/multimedia projects in India or abroad valued at not less than Rs.500 crore (or equivalent) during the preceding four years are invited to submit Expression of Interest for selection as consultant, singly or as a consortium, before March 31, 2000. Individual consultants of proven merit, who have either singly or as principal consultants completed assignments for setting up similar projects or have themselves set up such projects are also eligible to submit Expressions of Interest for selection as consultant, singly or as a consortium.

Interested parties must submit a their Expressions of Interest along with details of consultancy assignments completed by them during the preceding four years, year-wise annual turn-over from consultancy business alone, personnel to be used for consultancy with their qualifications and experience.

Interested parties should submit a Demand Draft of Rs.25, 000.00 in favour of "FA & CAO, Northern Railway" along with their Expressions of Interest to :
Executive Director(Telecom Development),
Railway Board, Rail Bhawan, Raisina Road,
New Delhi-110 001, India.
Tel.: 3383138, Fax : 3303532 e-mail : [email protected]




Indian Railways is the largest rail network in Asia and Worlds second largest under one management, Indian Railways comprise over one hundred thousand track kilometers and run about 11000 trains every day carrying about 13 million passengers and 1.25 million tones of freight every day.  Despite being reliable, safe, eco-friendly and economical mode of transport, its share in both fright and passenger traffic has comedown significantly over the years.  The scope for public private partnership is enormous in railways, ranging from commercial exploitation of rail space to private investments in railway infrastructure and rolling stocks.  In order to have an integrated development of Transport system, National Rail Development Programme has also been launched in December 2002 envisaging an investment of about US$ 3.5 billion in next 5 years.  The programme envisages removal of capacity bottlenecks in the critical sections of railway network.  The Golden quadrilateral is proposed to be strengthened to enable running of more long distance passenger trains and freight trains at a higher speed.  Programme also envisages strengthening of rail connectivity to ports and development of multi-model corridors to hinterland.  Construction of 4 mega bridges costing about US$ 750 million is also included in the programe.  Construction of a new Railway Line to Kashmir valley in most difficult terrain at a cost of US$ 1.5 Billion and expansion of rail network in Mumbai area at a cost of US$ 900 million has also been taken up.
























Indian railway is a department of Government and the Ministry of railways functions under the guidelines of Minister for railways and assisted by Minister of State for railways.

The policy formation and management of Indian railway board comprises of Chairman and six functional members.  Wide powers are vested in the Board to effectively supervise the running of 15 zonal railways, metro railway (Calcutta), production units, construction organization and other rail establishments. 

These are generally headed by General Managers.  Four subsidiary organizations under the Ministry of Railways viz. IRCON, RITES, CONCOR and CRIS, undertake specialized jobs in India and aborad, contributing to Indian railways growth and progress. 

The Indian Railways (IP) network is one of the largest in the world with 63,000 kms of track and employing 1.6 million people.  Operating on three gauges board guage (1676 mm), meter guage (1000 mm) and narrow guage (762 mm), Railways move 12 million passengers and over 1 million tones of freight traffic daily.  Nearly, 60% of freight and 48% of passenger traffic is presently hauled on electric traction. 

The rail network is divided into nine operating zones (based on geographical regions) and various production units, including:


  • Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala;

  • Diesel Loco Works Varanasi;

  • Integral Coach Factory Chennai; and

  • Wheel & Axle Plant Bangalore. 

In addition to the above four manufacturing / production units, Indian Railways also has a number of other important elements to its structure, as follows:

  • IRCON responsible for IR construction and civil engineering;

  • RITES IRs consultancy division;

  • Research, Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO) IRs research and development division and also theapproval body for new technology / products.

  • Central Organization for Rail Electrification (CORE) Overseas major rail electrification projects.

Indian Railways has a large number of projects in the pipeline but progress is sloe due to resource constraints. The Govt. has drawn up a development plan to improve and enhance capacity across the network called the National Rail Vikas Yojana (NRVY).

The Plan was launched in August 2002 and involves an estimated investment of Rs.15000 r over the next five years and comprises three main elements.

There are also ongoing projects to improve suburban metro system in Calcutta, Chennai, and Mumbai.  There are being taken forward by separate mass transit organizations. In Delhi construction work is underway for a new metro system.

The Indian Railways reserves the right to accept or reject any or all Expressions of Interest without assigning any reasons thereof.



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