India proudly boasts of world’s largest railway network. Not only that, but the India railways itself can boast as the biggest employer in India.
Railways is a major part of India, not only because of its importance as a means of transportation but also because of its political and economic significance.
Here are some interesting facts about Indian Railways which might surprise you :
The New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express is the fastest train in India. The train runs at an average speed of 91 kmph and touches a top speed of 150 kmph on the 195 km Delhi-Agra stretch. The Nilgiri Express with an average speed of 10 kmph is said to be India’s slowest train.
Indian Railways-owned the longest railway platform in the world at Kharagpur with a length of 2,733 feet. Now, breaking the record, Gorakhpur station has recently taken its place with a length of 4,430 feet.
Two historical railway elements are included in the UNESCO’ World Heritage site list – the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and the Indian Mountain Railways.The Indian Mountain Railways includes three railways – the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, Nilgiri Mountain Railways and Kalka Shimla Railway. All three trains have been functional for some 100 years. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is famous for its classic fusion of Gothic art with Indian architecture.
The Vivek Express (Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari) travels the longest distance of 4273 km. The shortest run is taken by a few scheduled services between Nagpur and Ajni – a total of 3 kms.
Mathura junction has the maximum number of routes emerging from it. The 7 of them include – Broad Gauge (BG) line to Agra Cantt, BG line to Bharatpur, BG line to Alwar, BG line to Delhi, Metre Gauge (MG) line to Achnera, MG line to Vrindavan and MG line to Hathras.
The railways function on a high operating ratio of 94%, that is, it spends 94 paise on every rupee that it earns.
The mascot for Indian Railways is Bholu, or Bholu the guard elephant, which was designed by National Institute of Design. It was introduced on 16th April 2002.
The oldest working Indian locomotive still in use is the Fairy Queen, which worked with a steam engine.
India has eight Railway Museums – in Delhi, Pune, Kanpur, Mysore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ghum, and Tiruchirappalli. The National Railway Museum in Delhi is the largest rail museum in Asia.
Toilets were introduced in 1909 in the lower classes of trains, after a letter by certain Okhil Babu that described the ordeal he faced due to the absence of lavatories.
Logistics cost in India is more expensive than the United States, which needs to be minimised using the country’s railways and waterways, said an expert on Wednesday at the Global Exhibition of Services (GES).
“Logistics in India costs 13 to 14 per cent of the GDP while in the US it is only nine per cent,” said Armes Maini Storage Systems chief executive and Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) shipping and logistics committee national member S.A. Mohan.
Mohan said India’s transportation model is skewed, with 60 per cent encompassing road transport, 20 to 25 per cent rail transport and the balance 10 to 15 per cent via waterways.
Appreciating the national logistics policy as a step in the right direction, Mohan highlighted that first and last mile connectivity to micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) should be guaranteed as they operate on a very small budgets.
Bereft of standardisation, too many players lack coordination in Indian logistics, he said at the transport & logistics session titled Emerging Trends in Logistics: The India Opportunity.
Shivayogi C. Kalasad, managing director, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) said technology has the potential to transform logistics and enable savings, incorporating artificial intelligence and big data.
Taking the case of the state road transport corporation, Kalasad said digitisation had greatly helped KSRTC to improve the quality of service.
He said KSRTC has introduced wearable technology to monitor and track the bus drivers and also keep them awake from dozing away.
Kalasad said data driven decision making will play a key role in logistics in the future.
Gateway Rail Freight director and chief executive Sachin Bhanushali said Indian logistics sector is plagued by the major issue of parcel size.
“India is a trucking nation, we operate on small parcel size and lose out on the cost advantage of scale,” said Bhanushali emphasising on the loss of economies of scale benefit.
Many times in India, transporters also have to bear the cost of return haul as well, said Kalasad highlighting the unorganised nature of logistics sector.
Similarly, multiple handlers pilfer and damage consignments, he said.
“These issues could be easily fixed by utilizing the vast rail network in the country more effectively, completing the transport cycle through last mile connectivity and intermodal transportation,” added Bhanushali.
However, conferring the status of infrastructure on logistics sector mobilised investment, leading to high quality warehousing in the country, said commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE senior director Karunakaran.
“Over the last three quarters, 70 to 80 million square foot space has been absorbed by the logistic sector and this is not just in major cities but in tier 2 and 3 cities as well,” said Karunakaran.
Scheduled from November 26 to 28, GES is aimed at engaging industry and governments to promote greater exchange of trade in services, organised by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) and industry association Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). (IANS)