160 Glorious years of Indian Railways
In the year 2013, the Indian Railways completed 160 years. Since its beginning in 1853, Indian railways have grown as the second largest network in the world, after Russian Railways.
To improve the transport system in South India, the idea of railways in India was first imagined in 1832 in Madras. Due to many administrative and technical problems, this idea could not succeed. However, on 1st July 1856, the first railway line was opened between Veyasarpady and Walajah Road. It was opened under the name of Madras Railway Company.
In 1850, the newly formed Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company started the work of constructing the Bombay-Kalyan line. In February 1852, the first locomotive was seen shunting in Bombay.
The official inaugural ceremony of the first train in India took place in 1853. Fourteen railway carriages, carrying about four hundred guests left from Bori Sunder with the salute of twenty-one guns. The train reached Thana in about seventy-five minutes. The train crossed a distance of about 34 kilometers. The train was pulled by three locomotives named Sultan, Sindh and Sahib. Today the Indian Railways have grown into a network with 63,000 kilometers route length. It covers a vast distance from the Himalayan foothills in the North to Cape Comorin in the South.
The Indian Railway system is divided into sixteen zones. Each zone has various powers differing between certain thousand kilometers. Some of the zones are Central Railway, Eastern Railway, and East Central Railway. East Coast Railway, Northern Railway, North Central Railway and North Eastern Railway. The zonal railways take care of the railway business in their respective areas. They are responsible for management and planning of works.
Indian Railways have six production units. Some of them are Rail Couch Factory at Kapurthala, Rail Wheel Factory at Bangalore and Diesel Locomotive Factory at Varanasi. These units manufacture locomotives, coaches. diesel components. wheels, etc. Indian Railways have also established the National Rail Museum at New Delhi. The museum has a wonderful collection of old steam locomotives, tracks, equipment, coaches and other items.