Following are the main advantages of Railway transport:
1. Development of Agriculture:
Spread of Railways in India has contributed a great deal to the development of agriculture. Before the development of Railways, agriculture was largely subsistence-oriented. Railways have commercialized it. Our farmers do not produce for self consumption only but also for sale in the market.
2. New Sources and New Areas of Production:
Railways have installed new sources and new areas of production. They have not only provided knowledge of the new areas, but also helped in reaching the inaccessible areas.
3. Growth of Markets and Specialization:
Railways have extended the size of market and thus stimulated the process of specialization. Bulky goods can easily be transported by Railways.
4. Help in the Internal Trade:
By joining together different areas of the country, railways have made internal trade convenient. They carry goods and passengers to distant places easily.
5. Mobility of Labour and Capital:
Railways have increased the mobility of labour and capital which in its turn has contributed to the rapid industrialization of the country.
6. Check on the Fluctuations of Prices:
Railways have checked those fluctuations in prices that were detrimental to the economic, political and social stability of the country. Price fluctuations cause misery, disturb trade and give rise to many problems.
7. Elimination of Famines:
Railways have helped in diluting the intensity of famines by carrying the food-grains from surplus to famine-stricken areas.
Railways are an important source of employment in India. Lakhs of skilled and unskilled people are employed in operating the railways. In addition, this means of transport creates so many opportunities of employment. Railways provide employment to 17 lakh people in the country.
9. Encouragement to Tourism:
Tourist traffic has also been encouraged. Railways sell circular tickets to the tourists and thereby promote tourism.
10. Strategic Importance:
Strategic importance of the railways cannot be ignored. They are instrumental in providing internal security and in making goods and efficient arrangements of defence of the country against any external threat.
11. Social Importance:
Railways have made possible a basic change in the social attitude of the people. They are no longer tied to old customs and traditions, or to fatalism and orthodoxy.