Indian Railway (भारतीय रेल) has the distinction of being one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world carrying more than sixteen to seventeen million passengers on daily. In terms of employees Indian Railway at around 1.6 million employees, is only second to the Chinese Army in terms of people employed.
The Indian Railway has been a great integrating force for more than 150 years. It has helped the economic life of the country and helped in accelerating the development of industry and agriculture.
The Indian Railways network binds the social, cultural and economical fabric of the country and covers the whole of country ranging from north to south and east to west removing the distance barrier for its people. The railway network of India has brought together the whole of country hence creating a feeling of unity among the Indians.
From a modest beginning in 1853, when the first train steamed off from Mumbai to Thane covering a distance of 34 kms, Indian railways has grown in length and breadth; the routes cover a total length of more than 63,327 km (39,500 miles). As of 2008, IR owned about 225,000 wagons, 45,000 coaches and 8300 locomotives and ran more than 18,000 trains daily, including about 8,984 passenger trains and 9,387 goods trains.
Spanning nearly two centuries Indian Railways has been serving the country with utmost pride. It was only in 1851 when the first train ran in the country for hauling construction material in Roorkee and by 1853 the first passenger train service became operational running between Bori Bunder, Bombay and Thane covering a distance of twenty one miles thus marking the formal birth of rail network in India.
Note: Indian Railway (Hindi: भारतीय रेल Bhāratīya Rel), abbreviated as IR (भारे)