1. Introduction
  2. British Legacy: Railways
  3. Gauges
    1. Project UniGauge
    2. Bigger to smaller
  4. PSU under Railways ministry
    1. Konkan Railways
  5. Separation of Railway budget
  6. UNESCO World heritage: Indian Railways
  7. Trains: Luxury
  8. Trains: normal
  9. Railway Police
  10. Metro Rail Amendment Act 2009
  11. Kisan Vision Project
  12. Bullet trains
  13. bio-toilets
  14. Rail Budget 2013
    1. SPART
    2. Azadi Express
    3. Next Generation e-ticketing system
    4. Adarsh Station
    5. Anubhuti coaches
    6. LHB Coaches
    7. For women
    8. IT initiatives
    9. Customer satisfaction
    10. for Handicapped passengers
    11. Rail Tourism
    12. Green Energy Initiatives
    13. For its own staff
    14. Fiscal discipline, future plans
  15. Transport Overall Challenges
  16. 12th FYP: Railways
    1. Inclusiveness
    2. Economy
    3. Safety
    4. Pollution
    5. high-speed trains
    6. Rationalize tariffs
  17. Mock Questions


Let’s recap, where were we? Economic Survey ch 10: services (+yearbook + 12th FYP + pib.nic.in) under that, four articles already done

  1. Tourism, lawyers and CAs
  2. Postal
  3. Electronics and IT
  4. Transport, shipping and aviation

now time for the 5th and last article under that series: on Railways

by the way, Dedicated freight corridor, railway tarrif authority, Train Collision Avoidance systems (TCAS) etc. already covered under earlier article: click ME

British Legacy: Railways

1853 Mumbai to Thane (34kms)
1854 Calcutta to Raniganj
1856 Madras to Arkonam
  • Lord Dalhousie was the g/g during this time. He was succeeded by Lord Canning.
  • India railways is divided into 17 zones (old books would say 16) but in 2010, Metro Railway of Kolkata was declared 17th zone.


  • broad gauge: 1,676 mm (=5 ft 6 inch)
  • meter gauge: 1,000 mm (=~3 ft 3 inch)
  • narrow gauge: 762 mm and 610mm
  • (in some books,610 mm is listed is lift gauge)
  • The British had designed these gauges keeping in mind the volume of goods and traffic
  • Broad Gauge was used for transporting raw material from Indian hinterland to port cities (and then to factories in Britain).

Project UniGauge

  • to convert selected routes into broad gauge (1.676 mm)

Bigger to smaller

  • In terms of total track length in India (bigger to smaller): broad > meter > narrow
  • No. of trains (bigger to smaller): diesel > electrical > steam

PSU under Railways ministry

  • Dedicated freight corridor Corporation of India
  • Container Corporation of India Limited (Concor)
  • Bharat Wagon
  • Burn Standard company
  • Braithwaite and Company

(and some few other PSUs too but they’ve “railway” in their name, hence unworthy of tricky MCQ hahaha)

Konkan Railways

  • PSU under Railways ministry
  • ~750kms line, Connects Mumbai to Manglore (Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka States)
  • Broad gauge

Separation of Railway budget

  • Since 1924 – 25, railway finances are separated from general finances. (Acworth Committee)
  • Railway budget is presented separately to the Parliament (before the General budget)
  • but Railway has to contribute a dividend to the general revenue.
  • the quantum of contribution (from Railways to general budget) is reviewed by Parliamentary convention committee

UNESCO World heritage: Indian Railways

At present, India has 29 world heritage sites — 23 cultural and six natural properties. Let’s look @the railway related:

  1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus): designed by British architect F. W. Stevens, Gothic style.
  2. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  3. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
  4. Kalka Shimla Railway

By the way, this year Indian Government has nominated following sites to UNESCO

  1. six hill forts in Rajasthan  (Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Ranthambore, Gagron, Amber, and Jaisalmer)
  2. Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh

Trains: Luxury

Palace on wheels

Delhi, UP, Rajasthan

Golden chariot

Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry

Deccan Odyssey

Maharashtra, goa

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels

Lolz, As the name suggests Rajasthan.

Fairy Queen

is the world’s oldest steam locomotive in regular operation,Between New Delhi and Alwar (Rajsthan)

Maharaja Express

owned by IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd), a PSU under Railways.Runs through various routes: places covered are : Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Mumbai (MH)

Trains: normal


Diesel multiple unit


Electrical Multiple unit


Mainline Electric Multiple Unit


long distance trains run by the Indian Railways.they run non-stop from source to destination,


Connects Delhi with state capitals. Started in 69.


Connects Metro cities with other cities.They’re called “Shatabdi” because it was first was started in 1988 on Nehru’s centenary.

Jan Shatabdi Express

is a more affordable variety of the Shatabdi Express,

Garib Rath

Air conditioned trains for poor men

Red Ribbon

Already covered: https://mrunal.org/2013/04/public-health-current-affairs-2012-13-diseases-drugs-and-research-part-2-of-3.html/comment-page-1#503

Lifeline Express

or Jeevan Rekha Expressmobile hospital train run by the Impact India Foundation (UK)provides sophisticated medical services in remote areas of India.

Sampark Kranti Express

quick connectivity from a particular state to the national capital, New Delhi.

Vivek Express

  • Longest rail journey: Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari (~4,300 kms)
  • Himsagar= 2nd longest (Jammutawi to Kanyakumari=~3700 kms)

Guru Parikarma

  • special trains to cover Sikh pilgrimage centres of Amritsar, Patna and Nanded.

Railway Police

  • Railway Protection Force is an ‘Armed Force of the Union’ constituted by the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957.
  • Although Policing on the Railways being the constitutional responsibility of State Governments,
  • Hence State Police have a separate wing called the Government Railway Police (GRP) for the registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order within Railway premises as well as running trains.
  • 50% of the cost of Government Railway Police is borne by the Railways and the balance is paid by the State Government concerned.

Metro Rail Amendment Act 2009

It provides umbrella ‘statutory’ safety cover for metro rail work in all the metro cities of India.

The Act has been extended to the

  1. Delhi National Capital Region
  2. Bengaluru
  3. Mumbai
  4. Chennai
  5. Hyderabad
  6. Kochi
  7. Jaipur metropolitan areas.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Project of ~42 km length is targeted for completion by December 2013.

Kisan Vision Project:

  • To encourage setting up of cold storage and temperature-controlled perishable cargo centres through PPP mode

Bullet trains

  • Railways is doing pre-feasibility studies for running high-speed trains (popularly referred to as bullet trains) at speeds above 350 kmph.
  • Initially, the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor has been taken up for which the pre-feasibility study has been completed.
  • A study is also being done on the Delhi-Mumbai route for raising the speed of passenger trains from 160 kmph to 200 kmph, i.e. for running semi-high speed trains
  • These corridors will be set up through PPP route


  • Indian Railways along with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed
  • environment-friendly bio-toilets for its passenger coaches.
  • Indian Railways has targeted elimination of direct discharge passenger coach toilet systems by the end of the Thirteenth Five Year Plan (2021-22).

Rail Budget 2013

  • Railways budget is always setting up wagon plants/ factories (usually in the Constituency of the ruling party’s chiefs) + new trains here and there.
  • Anyways, Not much point in mugging up all that data (especially when few days are left hahaha.)
  • So let’s just get an overview of terms important from MCQ point of view.

Indian Railways is set to entering the one Billion Tonne Select Club, joining Chinese, Russian and US Railways.


  • Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains (SPART)
  • Railways aims to put SPART trains in all divisions by 2017
  • These SPART trains will have
    • Speed of ~160kmph
    • advanced medical facilities,
    • surgery theatres and
    • drug storage
    • kitchen to cook basic foods for distribution during relief operations.
  • they will help in fast and reliable disaster management after train accidents.

Azadi Express

  • educational tourist train
  • to enable our youth to travel to important places connected with the freedom movement.
  • tickets will be given @concessional price.

Next Generation e-ticketing system

  • The system shall be able to support 7200 tickets per minute
  •  It will support 1,20,000 simultaneous users at any point in time
  • The system will make use of advanced fraud control and security management tools

Adarsh Station

  • Introduced in 2009.
  • Adarsh stations are provided with basic facilities such as drinking water, functioning toilets, catering services, waiting rooms and dormitories especially for lady passengers, and better signage.

Anubhuti coaches

Anubhuti coach

  • special AC luxury class proposed in this year’s rail budget, providing higher travel comfort to passengers.
  • ergonomically designed cushioned seats, LCD screens, modular toilets and stylish interiors,
  • Chandigarh Shatabdi will be the first train to have “Anubhuti” coaches
  • They’re “LHB” coaches.

LHB Coaches

  • Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB)
  • LHB coaches have higher carrying capacity,
  • better riding comfort,
  • higher-speed potential,
  • longer life,
  • upgraded amenities,
  • control discharge toilet system,
  • lower maintenance requirement,
  • enhanced safety features, and
  • aesthetic interiors
  • A rail coach factory at Palakkad has been sanctioned in PPP mode for production of such coaches

For women

  • Railways have already created four companies of women RPF personnel and another eight would be set up.
  • 10% vacancies reserved for women in RPF recruitment
  • hostel facilities for single women railway employees at all Divisional headquarters;

IT initiatives

  1. Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS), Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), Coin-operated Ticket Vending Machines (CO-TVMs)
  2. use of Aadhars/UID for booking of tickets, validation of genuine passengers with GPS enabled handheld gadgets in trains
  3. e-ticketing possible through mobile phones
  4. SMS Alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status
  5. covering larger number of trains under Real Time Information System (RTIS), whereby rail-users will be able to access information through nominated websites and mobile phones

Customer satisfaction

  • Toll free number for passengers to lodge food-related complaints
  • contact on-board staff through SMS/phone call/e-mail for prompt response for coach cleanliness
  • free Wi-Fi facility on several trains
  • voluntary organisations for providing first aid services etc. at railway stations

for Handicapped passengers

  • affixing Braille stickers indicating the layout of coaches including toilets,
  •  provision of wheelchairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations
  • making coaches wheel-chair friendly.
  • Reservation for PH candidates in Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevak (JTBS)

Rail Tourism

  • Mountain Railways of India are the World Heritage Sites – it places India in exclusive club of nations that include only Switzerland and Austria.
  • Executive Lounge at New Delhi, setting up of such facility at more stations
  • multi-modal travel package with cooperation of State Government of Jammu & Kashmir enabling passengers to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund toSrinagar and Baramulla on a common rail-bus ticket;
  • Amongst the five Sikh Takhts, it is only Takht Shri Damdama Sahib at which is not connected by a rail link, it’ll be given rail connectivity

Green Energy Initiatives

  1. Railway Energy Management Company (REMC) to harness potential of solar and wind energy;
  2. setting up of 75 MW windmill plants
  3. energizing 1000 level crossings with solar power;
  4. new generation energy efficient electric locomotives and electrical multiple units (EMUs) saving about 60 crore units in 2011-12.
  5. more usage of agro-based and recycled paper and ban use of plastic in catering.

For its own staff

  • provide water closets and air condition for loco-pilots
  • Better barracks for RPF

Fiscal discipline, future plans

  • for the first time in the last 25 years, railways did not present any supplementary demands for grants either in Monsoon Session or Winter Session of Parliament in 2012.
  • Proposal to create new Debt Service fund, to arrange money for replaying loans to JICA and World Bank loans taken for the DFC Project.
  • Operating Ratio is estimated at 88.8%.
  • Railways will complete electrification of 1200 route km.
  • targeted to convert 450 km of MG/NG lines to broad gauge during 2013-14

Transport Overall Challenges

Freight traffic

  • overall slowdown in the economy
  • ban on iron ore exports from Karnataka
  • reduced imports of fertilizers.
  • =the growth in railway’s freight traffic has been moderate.

Passenger fares

  • Indian passenger ticket prices are 1/4th of China and are 1/9th of Russia, 1/20th of Japan’s ticket prices. Even in Purchase Price Parity (PPP) terms, the tariffs bear no comparison.
  • In terms of freight rates, however, the Indian freight rates are the highest whereas those of China, Russia and the USA are 58 per cent, 75 per cent and 51 per cent of the Indian rates adjusted for PPP.
  • passenger fares remained unchanged or were even reduced in lower classes.
  • But railway needs truckload of cash for replacement /renewal of assets, operation and maintenance activities, and critical safety and passenger amenity works.

Cross subsidization

  • Earlier railway used to “Cross subsidized” passenger fares through freight business.  (Cross subsidy means strategy where support for a product (passenger services) comes from the profits generated by another product (freight-goods transport.)
  • But cross-subsidy through the freight business is no longer viable due to fast evolving competition from private cargo operators.

Service tax

  • Railways no longer enjoys exemption from service tax- Government implemented service tax on railways (first class or an air conditioned coach) from 1st October 2012.

Keeping these factors in mind, an increase in passenger fares was announced on 9 January 2013. But that’s more like a firefighting solution – permanent solution is national tariff authority.


  • transport access is critical for inclusive growth, economic development, access to markets and participation in the political process
  • Every minute a woman dies in child birth, but many of these deaths could be avoided with timely access to transport.
  • Gender responsive infrastructure interventions can free up women’s time by lowering their transaction costs. This, in turn, will increase girls’ school enrollment and facilitate women’s participation in income generation and decision making activities.

National integration

  • A number of airstrips in the NE region are not in use. While there have been efforts to expand the airlines network and the number of flights to the North East Region, its intra-regional connectivity is still low.
  • Railways expansion in the North East and several other parts of the country has been limited in the last six decades.
  • Large areas of Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan have no access to rail network
  • States of Uttarakhand and Jammu & Kashmir, the network, particularly in the Hilly areas, is nonexistent.
  • These areas require extensive road and rail network for their integration with the markets. Only then their local economy will improve.


  • Of India’s National Highways, less than one-third are two- or four-lane and a very large length of these are not able to support the 10.2 tonne permissible load per axle trucks are allowed to carry
  • Apart from transport, there is severe lack of capacity in the allied activity of warehousing.
  • The cost of rail and coastal shipping in the country is higher than many economies.


  • Average speeds of movement of all the modes: Rail, Road, Coastal Ships is lower than those in more efficient economies. The average speed of freight trains is 25 km per hour which is nearly half that of the U.S.

Goods transport by road>railways

  • India transports more than 50% the total goods by road (instead of railways). This is imposing high cost on the economy by way of much higher dependence on fossil fuels and high level of green house gas emissions. In China only 22% and USA only 37% of goods are transported by road. (=they use railways more0).
  • heavy use of road for goods transport= imposing high cost on the economy, higher dependence on fossil fuels + high level of green house gas emissions

Safety: road + railways

  • unmanned train crossing are responsible for almost 40% train accident fatalities.
  • Over 1.3 lakh people are known to die annually in road accidents alone.
  • This is about 10 per cent of the world figure, though India’s share in number of vehicles in the world is only 1 per cent.
  • The World Health Organisation has forecasted road traffic injuries to rise and become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.
  • the recommendations of the Sundar Committee on Roads and the Kakodkar Committee on Railways safety= not yet implemented.
  • To increase safety at level crossing, railways needs ~5000 crores annual, but from Central Road Fund they get only Rs 1,100 crore.

12th FYP: Railways


  • Gender equal Railway Transport System to meet the needs of both men and women.
  • Priority to women’s safety and security.
  • Rail-network to uncovered areas especially in the Himalayan region and some of the tribal areas.


  • to enhance rail share in freight traffic by at least 2 per cent
  • Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors would be completed during the Twelfth Plan period
  • planning for other DFCs—North-South, East-South, East-West and South-West
  • Investment needs to be prioritised in the important areas, viz. Dedicated Freight Corridors, high capacity rolling stock, last mile rail linkages and port connectivity
  • Enhancing speed of trains
  • Enhancing accommodation in trains


  • Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS)
  • Anti Collision Device (ACD)
  • Trains Collision Avoidance System (TCAS),
  • GPS-based Fog Safety Device
  • Biometric Drivers Vigilance Elementary Control System.
  • transfer of technology from USA for track-friendly bogies
  • complete switchover to new manufacture of only LHB design coaches by the end of Twelfth Plan.
  • achieving zero accidents at level crossings, minimum detention to road and punctual train operation.
  • Indian Railways Vision: 2020 envisage elimination of all unmanned level crossings
  • Intelligent fire surveillance and Extinguishing system of locos
  • furnishing materials in the coaches to have superior fire retardant properties
  • Railways have also appointed a High Level Safety Review Committee (Kakodkar Committee) for suggesting measures on Railways safety


  • Grid connected Solar Panels at major stations;
  • Provision of roof top Solar Panels on passenger coaches

high-speed trains

  • set up a National High Speed Rail Authority (NHSRA), an autonomous body through a Bill in Parliament for implementation of High Speed Rail Corridor projects of Indian Railways.

Rationalize tariffs

  • The low passenger fares, which have not been revised for several years, have led to huge losses in passenger traffic operations.
  • And Rail targets for 12th FYP will require more than 5 lakh crore rupees.
  • Therefore, urgent need to setup Railway tariff authority to rationalize the ticket prices, consistent with the level of feasible cross-subsidies.

Mock Questions

  1. A Narrow gauge is
    1. narrower than only Broad Gauge
    2. narrower than only Meter Gauge
    3. narrower than both broad and meter guage
    4. narrower than neither broad nor meter guage
  2. In terms of total railway tracklength, which of the following is highest in India?
    1. Broad Gauge
    2. Meter Gauge
    3. Narrow Gauge
    4. Lift Gauge
  3. Project unigauge aims to convert railways tracks to ____ Gauge
    1. Broad Gauge
    2. Meter Gauge
    3. Narrow Gauge
    4. Lift Gauge
  4. Container Corporation of India, is a PSU under the ministry of
    1. Railways
    2. Heavy industries
    3. Shipping industries
    4. None of above.
  5. Find the odd term among following four
    1. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
    2. Nilgiri Mountain Railway
    3. Konkan Railway
    4. Kalka Shimla Railway
  6. Bio-toilets for railways, are designed by
    1. CSIR
    2. DRDO
    3. Ministry of drinking Water and Sanitation
    4. None of Above
  7. SPART trains are meant for
    1. Soldiers returning to home
    2. victims of train accident
    3. Pilgrims visiting Maha Kumbh and other religious places
    4. None of above
  8. Correct Statement about Anubhuti coaches
    1. They’re designed specially for the SPART trains
    2. They’re exempted from Service tax
    3. Both
    4. None
  9. Biometric VCD are meant for ___ in the train
    1. Locopilots
    2. Physically challenged travelers
    3. ticket checker in the train
    4. Catering staff
  10. Correct Statements
    1. Lord Canning was the governor general of India when first railway started operation from Mumbai to Thane
    2. Railway budget was separated from General budget on recommendations of Acworth Committee
    3. both
    4. none
  11. Incorrect match
    1. Taxes on goods and passengers carried by roads or inland waterways: Concurrent list
    2. Terminal taxes on goods or passengers carried by railways: Union List
    3. Both
    4. None