Rail transport in India


Rail transport in India

:"This article is about the technical workings and operations of railways in India which are run by the Indian Railways.
See also History of rail transport in India."

Rail transport is a commonly used mode of long-distance transportation in India. Almost all rail operations in India are handled by a state-owned company, Indian Railways, under the federal Ministry of Railways. The rail network traverses the length and breadth of the country, covering a total length of of the total convert|63465|km|mi|0|sing=on|abbr=on route length is electrified.cite web |url=http://www.core.railnet.gov.in/general/general1.htm |title=General Information |accessdate=2007-06-25|work=Central Organisation for Railway Electrification |publisher=Ministry of Railways, Government of India] Most places use 25,000 V AC through overhead catenary delivery.Cite web
title = Electric Traction - I
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-elec.html | accessdate = 2007-06-19
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] A major exception is the entire Mumbai section, which uses 1,500 V DC. This is currently undergoing change to the 25,000 V system, and is scheduled for completion by 2008. Another exception is the Kolkata Metro, which uses 750 V DC delivered through a third rail.

Traction voltages are changed at two places close to Mumbai. Central Railway trains passing through Igatpuri switch from AC to DC using a neutral section that may be switched to either voltage while the locomotives are decoupled and swapped. Western Railway trains switch power on the fly, in a section between Virar (DC) and Vaitarna (AC), where the train continues with its own momentum for about 30 m through an unelectrified section of catenary called a "dead zone". All electric engines and EMUs operating in this section are the necessary AC/DC dual system type (classified "WCAM" by Indian Railways).

ignalling systems

The Indian Railways makes use of colour signal lights, but in some remote areas of operation, the older semaphores and discs-based signalling (depending on the position or colour) are still in use.Cite web
title = Signalling System
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-signal.html | accessdate = 2007-06-04
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] Except for some high-traffic sections around large cities and junctions, the network does not use automatic block systems. Safety therefore depends completely on the skill and vigilance of the personnel operating the individual signals and the drivers.

Coloured signalling makes use of multi-coloured lighting and in many places is automatically controlled. There are three modes:
* Two aspect signalling which makes use of a red (bottom) and green (top) lamp
* Three aspect signalling which makes use of an additional amber lamp in the centre
* Four (multiple) aspect signalling makes use of four lamps, the fourth is amber and is placed above the other three.

Multiple aspect signals, by providing several intermediate speed stages between 'clear' and 'on', allow high-speed trains sufficient time to brake safely if required. This becomes very important as train speeds rise. Without multiple-aspect signals, the stop signals have to be placed very far apart to allow sufficient braking distance and this reduces track utilisation. At the same time, slower trains can also be run closer together on track with multiple aspect signals.

Semaphores make use of a mechanical arm to indicate the line condition.Several subtypes are used:
* Two aspect lower quadrant
* Three aspect modified lower quadrant
* Multiple aspect upper quadrant
* Disc-based: These signals are located close to levers used to operate points. They are all two-aspect signals.

Production units

Locomotives and coaches are produced in the following locations in India.
* CLW: The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in Chittaranjan makes electric locomotives.
* DLW: The Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi makes diesel locomotives.
* ICF: The Integral Coach Factory in Perambur makes integral coaches. These have a monocoque construction, and the floor is an integral unit with the undercarriage.
* RCF: The Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala also makes coaches for the Indian Railways.
* RWF: The Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka manufactures wheels and axles.
*Others: Some electric locomotives have been supplied by BHEL, Jhansi, and locomotive components are manufactured in several other plants around the country.

Research and development

The Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) at Lucknow is the research and development wing of the Indian Railways.cite book |title=India Yearbook 2007 |publisher=Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India |isbn=8123014236 |pages=p.819 ] cite journal
last = Wadhwa | first = Gopal Krishan | year = 2003 | month = September
title = An Overview of the R&D Center of Indian Railways | journal = Japan Railway & Transport Review | volume = 36 | issue = September | pages = pp.26–28 | issn =
url = http://www.jrtr.net/jrtr36/pdf/f26_wad.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007-06-29
] It functions as a consultant to the Indian Railways on technical matters. It also provides consultancy to other organisations connected with railway manufacture and design. RDSO has been reorganized with effect from January 1, 2003 by elevating its status from ‘Attached Office’ to ‘Zonal Railway’ to give it greater flexibility and a boost to the research and development activities.

Accommodation classes

A standard passenger rake contains many coaches of different classes. The following table lists the classes in operation. Not all classes may be attached to a rake though.

At the rear of the train is a special compartment known as the guard's cabin. It is fitted with a transceiver and is where the guard usually gives the all clear signal before the train departs. A standard passenger rake generally has four general compartments, two at the front and two behind, of which one is exclusively for ladies. The exact number varies according to the demand and the route. A luggage compartment can also exist at the front or the back. In some trains a separate mail compartment is present. In long-distance trains a pantry car is usually included in the centre.

Nomenclature

Trains are sorted into various categories which dictate the number of stops along their route, the priority they enjoy on the network, and the fare structure. Each express train is identified by a four-digit numberCite web
title = The system of train numbers
work= Train numbers
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-number.html
accessdate = 2007-06-03
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] —the first digit indicates the zone that operates the train, the second the division within the zone that controls the train and is responsible for its regular maintenance and cleanliness, and the last two digits are the train's serial number.

For super-fast trains, the first digit is always '2', the second digit is the zone, the third is the division and only the last digit is the serial number within the division. Trains travelling in opposite directions along the same route are usually labelled with consecutive numbers. However, there is considerable variation in train numbers and some zones, such as Central Railway, has a less systematic method for numbering trains. Most express trains also have a unique name attached to them which are usually exotic and are taken from landmarks, famous people, rivers and so on.Cite web
title = Train names
work=
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-name.html
accessdate = 2007-06-03
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] cite news
first = Pankaj
last = Sekhsaria
title = What's in a Train Name?
url = http://www.blonnet.com/life/2005/06/24/stories/2005062400010100.htm
format =
work =
publisher = The Hindu Business Line
date = June 24, 2005
accessdate = 2007-06-04
] Some notable examples are:
# Charminar Express between Hyderabad and Chennai, named after the Charminar monument in Hyderabad.
# Deccan Queen between Pune and Mumbai
# Ashram Express between Ahmedabad and New Delhi, after Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram
# Gitanjali Express between Mumbai CST and Howrah (Kolkata), after Rabindranath Tagore's famous work.
# Parasuram Express between Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram, after Parasurama.
# Prayag Raj Express between Allahabad and New Delhi, after Prayag, a sacred pilgrimage spot and the ancient name of Allahabad.
# Lal Bagh Express between Bangalore and Chennai, after the famous Lal Bagh botanical gardens in Bangalore.
# Godavari Express between Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam after the Godavari River in South India.
# Nilgiri (Blue Mountain) Express between Chennai and Coimbatore after the Nilgiri hills.
# Purshottam Express (New Delhi-Puri)
# Kashi Vishwanath Express (New Delhi-Varanasi)
# Mangla Express
# Bagh Express (Howrah-Kathgodam)
# Ala Hazarat Express (Bareilly-Bhuj)

Hierarchy of trains

Trains are classified by their average speed.Cite web
title = railway operations - I
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-ops.html
accessdate = 2007-06-11
work= IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] A faster train has fewer stops ("halts") than a slower one and usually caters to long-distance travel.

Ticketing

India has some of the lowest train fares in the world, and passenger traffic is heavily subsidised by freight.cite book |last=Joshi |first=V |coauthors= I. M. D. Little |title=India's Economic Reforms, 1991-2001 |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=r31MYIrISFMC&pg=PA184&ots=mYUZDCBGxI&dq=indian+rail&as_brr=3&sig=DXx4Fwi-7b5zV7bvWF6quBT_3i0 |accessdate=2007-06-25 |date= 1996-10-17 |publisher=Oxford University Press |location=USA |isbn=0198290780 |pages=p.184 |chapter=Industrial Policy and Factor Markets ] Until the late 1980s, Indian Railway ticket reservations were done manually. In late 1987, the Railways started using a computerised ticketing system. The entire ticketing system went online in 1995 to provide up to date information on status and availability. Today the ticketing network is computerised to a large extent, with the exception of some remote places. Computerized tickets can be booked for any two points in the country. Tickets can also be booked through the internet and via mobile phones, though this method carries an additional surcharge.

Discounted tickets are available for senior citizens (above sixty years) and some other categories of passengers including the disabled, students, sportspersons, persons afflicted by serious diseases, or persons appearing for competitive examinations. One compartment of the lowest class of accommodation is earmarked for ladies in every passenger carrying train. Some berths or seats in sleeper class and second class are also earmarked for ladies.cite web |url=http://www.indianrail.gov.in/resrules.html |title= Reservation Rules|accessdate= 2007-06-25 |publisher= Indian Railways] Season tickets permitting unlimited travel on specific sections or specific trains for a specific time period may also be available. Foreign tourists can buy an Indrail Pass,Cite web
title = General Information on travelling by IR
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-travel.html
accessdate = 2007-06-11
work=Travelling by Train in India, IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] which is modelled on the lines of the Eurail Pass, permitting unlimited travel in India for a specific time period.For long-distance travel, reservation of a berth can be done for comfortable travel up to two months prior to the date of intended travel. Details such as the name, age and concession (if eligible) are required and are recorded on the ticket. The ticket price usually includes the base fare which depends on the classification of the train (example: super-fast surcharge if the train is classified as a super-fast), the class in which one wishes to travel and the reservation charge for overnight journeys.

If a seat is not available, then the ticket is given a wait listed number; else the ticket is "confirmed", and a berth number is printed on the ticket. A person receiving a wait listed ticket will have to wait until there are enough cancellations to enable him to move up the list and obtain a confirmed ticket. If his ticket is not confirmed on the day of departure, he may not board the train. Some of the tickets are assigned to the RAC or Reservation against Cancellation which is between the waiting list and the confirmed list. These allow the ticket holder to board the train and obtain an allotted seat decided by a ticket collector, after the ticket collector has ascertained that there is a vacant (absentee) seat.

Reserved Railway Tickets can be booked through the website of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited,cite web |url=http://www.irctc.co.in/ |title= Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited|accessdate= 2007-06-03|publisher= www.irctc.co.in] and also through mobile Phones and SMS. Tickets booked through this site are categorised in to iTickets and eTickets. iTickets are those, which are booked by a passenger and then printed and delivered to the passenger for carrying during journey. eTickets are those, which the passenger can print himself at his end and carry while travelling. For booking an eTicket, one needs one of the authorised valid Photo Identity Card. Cancellation of eTickets are also done online, without the requirement for the passenger to go to any counter. Non-reserved tickets are available for purchase on the platform at any time before departure. A non-reserved ticket holder may only board the general compartment class. All suburban networks issue non-reserved tickets valid for a limited time period. For frequent commuters, a season pass (monthly or quarterly) guarantees unlimited travel between two stops.

International links

India has rail links with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.Cite web
title = Geography : International
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-inter.html
accessdate = 2007-06-23
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] It also plans to install a rail system in southern Bhutan. Before the Partition of India there were eight rail links between what are now India and Pakistan. However, currently there are only two actively maintained rail links between the two countries. The first one is at Wagah in Punjab. The "Samjhauta Express" plies on this route from Amritsar in India to Lahore in Pakistan. The second one, opened in February 2006 runs between Munabao (in Rajasthan in India) and Khokhrapar (in Sindh in Pakistan). Other disused links are:Cite web
title = International Links from India
url=http://www.irfca.org/docs/international-links.html
accessdate = 2007-06-23
last=Bhuyan
first=Mohan
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
]
*Ferozepur–Fazilka–Bahawalnagar–Samasata (through Anupgarh (India) / Amruka & Fort Abbas (Pakistan) near the border). (Punjab)
* Ferozepur–Kasur–Raiwind–Lahore (Punjab)
* Amritsar–Attari–Lahore (Punjab)
* Amritsar–Dera Baba Nanak–Narowal–Sialkot (Punjab)
* Jammu–Sialkot

After the creation of East Pakistan (later Bangladesh), many trains that used to run between Assam and Bengal had to be rerouted through the Siliguri Corridor (Chicken's Neck). However as of 2005 there are no passenger links between India and Bangladesh. A metre gauge link exists between Mahisasan (Mohishashon) and Shahbazpur. Another link is between Radhikapur and Birol. These last two links are used occasionally for freight.
*SealdahBongaonPetrapolBenapolJessore
*Sealdah–Banpur–Gede–Abdulpur–Parbatipur–HaldibariSiliguri
*Katihar–Radhikapur–Biral–Parbatipur–Tista–Eetaldaha–Golakganj–Fakiragram
*Geetaldaha–Alipur duar
*Mogalhat–Changrabandha–Domohani
*Badarpur–Kalaura (Sylhet)

There are two links between India and Nepal: Raxaul Jn., Bihar–Sirsiya, Parsa and Jaynagar, Bihar–Khajuri, Dhanusa. The former is broad gauge, while the latter is narrow gauge. A move to link the Indian and Sri Lankan railways never materialised. A ferry service however connects the closest railheads between Indian and Sri Lanka.

Private railways

Though the Indian Railways enjoys a near monopoly in India, a few private railways do exist, left over from the days of the Raj, usually small sections on private estates, etc. There are also some railway lines owned and operated by companies for their own purposes, by plantations, sugar mills, collieries, mines, dams, harbours and ports, etc. The Bombay Port Trust runs a BG railway of its own, as does the Madras Port Trust.Cite web
title = Railways other than IR in India
url=http://www.irfca.org/faq/faq-nonir.html
accessdate = 2007-06-18
work=IRFCA.org
publisher=Indian Railways Fan Club
] The Calcutta Port Commission Railway is a BG railway. The Vishakhapatnam Port Trust has BG and NG (2 ft 6 in) railways.

The Bhilai Steel Plant has a BG railway network. The Tatas (a private concern) operate funicular railways at Bhira and at Bhivpuri Road (as well as the Kamshet–Shirawta Dam railway line which is not a public line). These are not common carriers, so the general public cannot travel using these. The Pipavav Rail Corporation holds a 33-year concession for building and operating a railway line from Pipavav to Surendranagar. The Kutch Railway Company, a joint venture of the Gujarat state government and private parties, is involved (along with the Kandla Port Trust and the Gujarat Adani Port) to build a Gandhidham–Palanpur railway line. These railway lines are principally used to carry freight and not for passenger traffic.

Although generally IR has decided the freight tariffs on these lines, recently (February 2005) there have been proposals to allow the operating companies freedom to set freight tariffs and generally run the lines without reference to IR.

ee also

* Fastest trains in India
* High-speed rail
* History of rail transport in India
* Indian Railways
* Indian locomotives
* List of Indian rail accidents
* Rail transport
* Railway signal
* Railway signalling
* Trains

Notes

References

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External links

* [http://www.indianrail.gov.in/ Indian Railways Online] Official site
* [http://in.geocities.com/trainsataglance/ Trains At A Glance]
* [http://www.irctc.co.in/ Book tickets Online]
* [http://www.indiarail.info Indian Railways Information]
* [http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/mumbai-metro/ Information and pictures on the Mumbai Metro]
* [http://irfca.org/ The Indian Railways Fan Club]


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