Railways is the most important form of transport system. In 1953, the first railway line was laid between Mumbai and Thane in 1853.
It was a distance of 22 miles. In 1950, total route length of railway line was 34000 miles. Number of locomotives was 5210 and number of passenger coaches was 19630 and number of wagons was 26000.
Initially, the railways were operated by private companies owned by Englishman. In 1950 Govt. of India had taken over the entire railway system in the country. It is now the biggest nationalised undertaking in Asia and fourth largest in the world.
After the implementation of economic planning, up to 2000-01, freight transport has increased at an annual average rate of 3 percent. In 1950-51, freight transport was f: million tonnes which increased to 557.5 million tonnes at the end of 2003-04. ?3ssenger traffic has increased by 3.5 times. Indian railways have 18 lakh employees 2nd runs 13500 trains daily.
Advantages of Railway Transport:
The following are the main advantages of Railway Transport:
Railways are an important source of employment in India. Lakhs of skilled and unskilled people are employed in operating the railway. It also creates many opportunities of employment.
2. Encouragement to Tourism:
The connectivity of Railways to various tourist spots gives encouragement to tourism. Railways sell circular tickets to the tourists to -remote tourism.
3. Helpful during Calamities:
During natural calamities railways help the stranded persons to reach their destinations and these are helpful during famines by carrying food grains from surplus to affected areas.
4. Social Importance:
Railways here tied the people in on string. They have shortened the distance and developed the outlook of people.
5. Strategic Importance:
These are useful for internal security of country and also carry the defence material to various locations during external threat.
6. Help in Internal Trade:
By connecting various areas of the country railways have made internal trade convenient. They carry goods and passengers to various places easily.
7. Development of Agriculture:
Railways have commercialised agriculture. Now farmers do not produce for self consumption only but also for sale in the market.
8. Growth of Markets:
Railways have increased the size of markets. Bulky goods can easily be transported by Railways.
9. Mobility of Labour and Capital:
Railways have increased the mobility of labour and capital which has contributed to the rapid industrialisation of the country.
Disadvantages of Railway:
The following are the disadvantages of Railways:
1. Railway Accidents:
The incidence of railway accidents in our country is greater as compared to other countries of the world. Accident occurs due to the errors and negligence of the employees.
2. Attack on Railways:
The Indian Railways had to suffer a heavy loss of crores of rupees. The railways are attacked during the time of disturbances and violences that arise in any part of the country.
3. Outdated Technology:
The technology used in railways is quite outdated. It needs to be modernised.
4. Problem of Replacement:
Railway Engines, wagons and other equipment’s are quite old and these require replacement. It is a huge expenditure.
5. Problem of laying Double Line:
Most of the railway lines are single lines. It creates great inconvenience to railway organisation and passengers.
6. Travel without Tickets:
In India large number of passengers travel without tickets. Indian railways have to bear extra loss of about 5 crore every year on account of travelling without tickets.
7. Not Door to Door Service:
Railways do not provide door to door service like road transport.