The Indian Railways or Bhartiya Rail network is the bloodline of Indian mobility. It binds the social, cultural and economical fabric of India from Udhampur, Jammu in the North to Kanniyakumari, Tamil Nadu in the south, and from Ledo, Assam in the east to Dwarka, Gujarat in the west. The rail system transports passengers, animals, commercial goods, and the army also uses it to transport weapons and other top-secret cargo.
The first passenger line in India was inaugurated in December of 1851 running 34 km between Bori Bunder (now Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus) and Thane. By 1854 the governor of India Lord Dalhousie formulated a vision to connect all the principle regions of India and by 1867 there was a direct line between Bombay and Calcutta, and a route all the way to Chennai was completed by 1880.
This network demanded a lot a manpower and soon India began producing its own railway locomotives and carriages and had begun exporting engineers to build railways for other British colonies within a few years of operation.
The earliest type of engines were steam engines where coal was burnt to heat water and create steam to turn the pistons. All in all it was a very elaborate process until the introduction of the diesel engine, and finally the electric line. Initially coaches were made of wood, but was replaced with other metals with the advancement of technology.
The Indian Railways is a department owned and controlled by the Government of India, via the Ministry of Railways. In 1947 independent railway Ministry was setup to handle it’s affairs. Private investors remaining after British rule were bought out and the entire network was nationalised into the Bhartiya Rail in 1951. It remains the most expansive rail network and the second biggest employer in the world!
GK Questions – Indian Railways
Q. What is the Northern and Southern most stations in the Indian rail network?
A. Udhampur in Jammu (north) and Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu (south)
Q. What is the eastern and western most stations within the Indian railway system?
A. Dwarka, Gujarat (west) & Ledo, Assam (east)
Q. Between which two stations did the first ever passenger train run in India?
A. Between bori Bunder (Chattrapathi Shivaji Terminus) and Thane.
Q. In which year was the Mumbai – Kolkata line complete?
Q. What are the three different types of engines that were used by the Indian Railways?
A. Steam, diesel, and electric.
Q. In which year was the railway system in India nationalised?