There are very few places in the world that are as diverse and varied as India. There are 29 states and India and as many different identities, each of whom speaks different languages and follow very a different set of cultures. This diversity is most visible in public places and transportation systems, where everyone mingles and come together, each of them going about in their own lives. The railways are a very old system, which has been in existence for decades and yet continues to be the very pillars of our economy and the livelihood of millions.
The History and Impact of IR
The British can be given the credit for the introduction of the railways in our country and thus helping us reshape transportation and ferrying of goods around the country in the most efficient manner possible. It was back in 1837 when the East India Company laid the first tracks in order to carry granite for building roads. The first passenger train in India ran in 1853 between Mumbai and Bori Bandar. Ever since then it has quite taken off; in the last century or so between the independence of our country and to become one of the leading economies in the world the railways have had a historic role to play.
Current state and Future
In its present iteration, the Indian Railways is the 4th largest system in the world and also the 8th largest employer in the world. Its relevance in numbers is quite staggering; the IR carries over 8.2 billion people annually and employs over 2 million people. As the population of India is set to overtake China and effectively become the most populous nation in the world; the railways will have an even more important and crucial role to play. In order for the country to fully become the superpower that it can be, transportation of supplies and people in the fastest possible way is vital. With over 150 billion dollars in projected investment by the government, the railways are all set to be overhauled with technology and innovations.
With so much to offer, it is only a wonder why some people have not yet packed their bags and booked their tickets. From the beautiful vast deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat to the rainforests in the Ghats down south; and from the beautiful blue waters near Rameswaram to the high altitude Darjeeling Mountain Railways, there is always something for everyone. With comfort a paramount feature in all trains that run through India, locomotives are very relaxing to travel and one can unwind quite peacefully. Technology has also made the IR reasonably modern, with features such as train timing enquiry, online train ticket, train status, and much more; it is easy to see why more people are starting to prefer trains. Its convenience is also much understated and a wide network of stations and routes that general transportation may not be able to offer, the railways stand alone. It should be on everyone’s bucket list to hop on a train and soak in all the experiences and sights it offers.