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Railway UPSC| Transport, Communication, and Trade | Geography of India

Mahatma Gandhi said, the Indian Railways brought diverse cultures together and contributed to the Indian freedom struggle. At present, it is also true.

  • Railway provides cheap transportation means for freight and passenger for the larger Indian Population.
  • Railway also makes it possible to conduct multifarious activities like business, sightseeing, and pilgrimage.
  • Transportation of goods over a larger distance
  • The railway is also a great integrating force for more than 150 years
  • Binds economic life of the country
  • Accelerate the development of the industry and agriculture 

Present Status:

  • Indian railway is the largest public sector undertaking in India.
  • The first train; Mumbai to Thane in 1853; covered 34 km.
  • As of March 2015, the railway network is comprised of 66030 km. 

Due to such a big size and for efficient management, the Indian railway system is organized into 16 zones.

In northern India:

Northern Railway Zone ( New Delhi)

  • NorthWestern( Jaipur)
  • North Central( Allahabad)
  • North-Eastern ( Gorakhpur)
  • North-East Frontier ( Guwahati)

Central India:

  • Central Railways ( Mumbai CST)

Eastern India:

  • Eastern Railways( Kolkata)
  • East Central ( Hazipur, Bihar)
  • East Coast Railways( Bhubaneshwar)

Western India:

  • Western Railways Zone( Church Gate)
  • West Central( Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh)

Southern India:

  • Southern Railways Zone ( Chennai)
  • South Central Railways( Secunderabad, Telangana)
  • South Eastern Railways( Kolkata)
  • South East Central ( Bilaspur, Chhatisgarh)
  • South Western Railways zone( Hubli Karnataka)

Factors affecting Indian Railways:

  • The distribution pattern of the Railways Network is largely influenced by physiographic, economic, and administrative factors.
  • Northern Plain; vast plain land; high population density and rich agricultural resources provide the most favorable condition for growth.
  • However, a large number of rivers require the construction of Bridges to create obstacles.
  • In the Hilly terrain of peninsular regions, tracks are passed through low hills, gaps, or tunnels.

The following regions have difficulty making railway tracks;

  • Himalayan region due to high relief, low population, and lack of economic opportunities.
  • Western Rajasthan, difficult to construct on sandy desert
  • Swamp Gujarat
  • Forest areas of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Jharkhand.
  • Western Ghats

Konkan Railways:

  • Konkan railways are the most dangerous and important railway that connects the most important economic region Roha in Maharastra to Mangalore in Karnataka.
  • It is 760 km long
  • Cross 146 river stream
  • 2000 bridge
  • 91 Tunnel along with Asia's largest Tunnel 6.5 km
  • States Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka are parter

Railways Track types:

  • Based on the Gauge, there are three types of railways tracks:
  • Broad gauge( 1.676 meters): 60,510 km 
  • Metro Gauge: 1 meter; 3,880 km
  • Narrow Gauge; 0.76 or 0.610 meter; 2,297 mostly in hilly areas.

Development Program:

  • Conversion of Metro and Narrow gauge to broad gauge
  • Replacement of Steam engine to diesel and electric engine; speed increase and clean environment
  • Metro rail in major cities also replacing diesel buses which is good for the environment

Railway occurs losses and faced the following problems;

  • Many passengers travel without a ticket
  • Theft and damaging of railways property
  • Stop and pull of train unnecessary.

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