Growing up in India, almost everyone has had the pleasure of travelling on a train at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s the scenic views of the forests, fields, lakes, seas, or mountains, there’s plenty to witness for a commuter travelling via Indian Railways.
The Indian Railway transport system is truly historic and fascinating in all its aspects and ahead of the joyous occasion of National Tourism Day, Dinesh Kumar Kotha, Co-founder and CEO of Confirmtkt shares ten amazing facts about it that you probably might not know:
A Rich 169-Year-Old Heritage
India has a very rich heritage when it comes to its railway network and how it came into existence. The inception of Indian Railways took place long back on April 16, 1853, when its first passenger train covered the distance of 34 kilometres between Mumbai’s Bori Bandar to Thane. The train, which had around 30 wagons, was operated by three locomotives named Sahib, Sultan, and, Sindh.
World’s Highest Railway Bridge
India holds the world’s highest railway bridge called the Chenab Rail Bridge in Dharot, Jammu, and Kashmir. It is a steel and concrete arch bridge over the Chenab river, which connects the Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The bridge, which rests at an elevation of 1178 feet from the river, was fully completed and was inaugurated in August 2022.
World’s Longest Platform
India also possesses the world’s longest platform at the Gorakhpur Railway Station in its northern Uttar Pradesh state. The platform measures around 1,366 metres in length, however, it is reported that the title will soon be transferred to Hubli Junction Railway Station in Karnataka, with the platform estimated to be 1,505 metres in length.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites Owned By Indian Railways
One thing that may surprise you is that Indian Railways actually owns four UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites, and it may have two more in the future. Currently, it possesses Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, and Kalka Shimla Railway. The two new UNESCO Heritage sites that could be added in the future, are Kangra Valley Railway and Matheran Light Railway.
The Diamond Crossing In Nagpur
One of the spectacular sights in India is the Diamond Crossing in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Named by Indian Railways itself, the Diamond Crossing has two railway tracks, going towards North-South, and another two lines, going towards East-West, that end up making a square-like Diamond shape.
India’s Oldest & Majestic Locomotive
The Indian Railways still have a fully functional locomotive called the Fairy Queen. The majestic locomotive, which works with a steam engine, runs as a tourist train between Delhi to Alwar.
Built-in 1885, the train retired back in 1909, before being relaunched in 1997, and presently travels at a speed of 40km/hour.
Luxury Train Rides
India is a country that prides itself due to its traditions and rich heritage. The fact translates to its trains as well, with the Indian railways having some really luxury trains. The railways own 5 super-luxury royal trains like the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, The Golden Chariot, The Maharajas’ Express, The Deccan Odyssey, and Palace on Wheels. The tariff of some of these trains doesn’t come cheap at all.
The Longest & Shortest Train Ride In India
The longest train ride in India is from Kanyakumari to Dibrugarh with Vivek Express, which covers around 4189 kilometrse. There are around 56 stops along the way with the total duration of the ride being 82 hours and 30 minutes. On the other hand, the shortest train ride is a mere 3-kilometre train ride from Nagpur to Ajni.
The Story Behind The Mascot Of Indian Railways
Did you know that animals like elephants were actually used to position the rail cartridges at the time the rail tracks were being laid?
It is no coincidence that the official mascot for Indian Railways is an elephant. Named Bholu, the mascot is a jovial white elephant dressed as a railway guard.
India’s Longest Rail Tunnel
India’s longest tunnel, estimated to be 11.25 kilometres in length, is located in the PirPranjal range of the middle Himalayas in Jammu Kashmir. The tunnel is part of the Jammu- Baramulla railway line and is one spectacular engineering marvel that needs to be checked out.