Train travel has always been an exciting affair. The anxiety to catch the train on time and then the relief after boarding it. To watch the view outside the window of the passing towns, villages and fields, the rattling sound of the wheels of the speeding train, the frequent horns of the engine and meeting new people on board belonging to various cultures and languages with whom you sometime become friends, share your food, thoughts and opinions and with some it becomes a bond for life. Therefore it would be very hard to imagine India and its diversity without the existence of the Railways. It’s a mode of transportation which ropes in not only consumers or travelers from different society and economic background but also binds a huge culture in itself with a mixture of various traditions and economic customs of its own. The Indian railways have always been the integral part of India’s economic factor, almost like blood streamline of the country’s economic system.
From big cities like Mumbai and Delhi to small towns and villages like Nagarsol, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the Indian railway connects far end corners and regions of India with its widespread web of tracks and locomotives. As a huge number of 24 million people daily use railways for transportation and an enormous chunk of 2.8 million worth of freight are transited across the country, it becomes a chief vehicle of Indian economy. Ranging from small passenger and suburban passenger trains to luxury trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi express and Palace on wheels, the railway is trying to satisfy the need of passengers from every class and society. Along with the passage of time, there is a continuous effort in the sophistication of technology and services in this sector. As the passenger inflow increases the demand of more and more improved services goes on a rise. This includes modern passenger coaches, comfort system, better cuisine services and most of all speedy and safe travel.
As a measure of improvising services and technology, E ticketing and mobile applicationare the latest inclusion done in this sector. Now the passengers no longer have to stand in long queues for reservations and do it right from the comfort of their home. Installation of advanced Anti-Collusion Device is a step to enhance the safety standards of the trains. The service sector is also gaining a decent amount of business from the railways due to outsourcing of catering services in trains, housekeeping, station modernization, and maintenance. The tourism industry too gets quite a good amount of momentum as railways itself is promoting rail tourism for its luxury trains like Palace on wheels, Deccan Odyssey, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and the Maharaja Express. Not only the plains; the railways have connectivity in high terrain and hilly areas known as Mountain Railways for hilly tourist destinations like Darjeeling, Shimla, Kodaikanal and Matheran.
Although the railways is facing economic jolts due to recent slowdown, delayed projects, political instability and also competition from low fare aircraft carriers, it is still continuing to go on a steady pace and with the correct financial inputs and strong infrastructural support, the railway can boost the country’s economy in a huge way.