Indian Railways (IR) is a state-owned railway company, responsible for rail transport in India. It is owned and operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways. It is fourth largest railway network in the world comprising 119,630 kilometres (74,330 mi) of total track and 92,081 km (57,216 mi) of running track over a route of 66,687 km (41,437 mi) with 7,216 stations at the end of 2015-16. In 2015-16, IR carried 8.107 billion passengers annually or more than 22 million passengers a day and 1.101 billion tons of freight annually.

Railways first introduced to India in 1853 from Bombay to Thane. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, the Indian Railways, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems predominantly on a network of broad gauge. Small stretches of its network use metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities at several places in India, with assigned codes identifying their gauge, kind of power and type of operation. Its services cover twenty-six states and three union territories across India, and also has international connectivity to Bangladesh (with Bangladesh Railway) and Pakistan (with Pakistan Railways).

Indian Railways is the world's eighth biggest employer and had 1.331 million employees at the end of 2015-16. In 2015–2016 Indian Railways had revenues of ₹1.683 trillion (US$26 billion) which consists of ₹1.069 trillion (US$17 billion) freight earnings and ₹442.83 billion (US$6.9 billion) passengers earnings. It had operating ratio of 90.5% in 2015-16. As on the end of 2015-16, IR's rolling stock comprises over 251,256 Freight Wagons, 70,241 Passenger Coaches and 11,122 Locomotives (39 steam, 5,869 diesel and 5214 electric locomotives).

Indian Railways run on average 13,313 passenger trains daily in 2015-16. Mail or Express trains, most common type, run at average speed of 50.9 km/hr. The trains have a 5 digit numbering system. As of at the end of 2015-16, of the total 68,525 km (42,579 mi) route length, 28,327 km (17,602 mi) (45%) was electrified and 28,371 km (17,629 mi) (37%) was Double or Multiple line route.

·         History

The history of railway transport in India began in the mid-nineteenth century. The core of the pressure for building railways In India came from London.

A plan for a rail system in India was first put forward in 1832 by the British East India Company. The first rail line of the Indian sub-continent came up near Chintadripet Bridge (presently in Chennai) in Madras Presidency in 1836 as an experimental line. In 1837, a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) long rail line was established between Red Hills and stone quarries near St. Thomas Mount. A rail line was established on 22 December 1851 for localised hauling of canal construction material in Roorkee.

The Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) was established in 1845. The country's first passenger railway, built by the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR), opened in 1853, between Bombay and Thane. The East Indian Railway Company was established 1 June 1845 in London by a deed of settlement with a capital of £4,000,000, primarily raised in London. The Great Southern India Railway Co. was founded in Britain in 1853 and registered in 1859. Construction of track in Madras Presidency began in 1859 and the 80-mile link from Trichinopoly to Negapatam was opened in 1861. The Carnatic Railway founded in 1864, opened a Madras-Arakkonam-Kancheepuram line in 1865. The Great Southern India Railway Company was subsequently merged with the Carnatic Railway Company in 1874 to form the South Indian Railway Company. 

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