Started in 1853, the Indian Railways has grown into the largest railway network in the world. It has spread rapidly across the country and has become the principal mode of transport for Indians connecting remote corners of the country. Over time, railway operations have been modernized in terms of technology, ticketing and overall management, making it possible for the network to cater to the ever increasing volumes of passenger and freight traffic.
The Indian Railways covers 81,511 kms touching 6,896 stations en-route. The network operates on three gauges – broad (1676 mm), meter (1000 mm) and narrow (762 and 610 mm) carrying over 12 million passengers and more than a million tonnes of freight every day. Broad gauge although forming 64.5 per cent of the route, generated 96 per cent of freight output and 89.6 per cent of the passenger output during 1998-99. Almost all the double/multiple track sections and electrified routes lie on broad gauge. 14,579 route kms constituting over 19.5 per cent of the total network and 30 per cent of broad gauge network on Indian Railway is electrified. This carries approx. 41 per cent of the passenger traffic and 52 per cent of the freight traffic on Indian Railways.