Indian railway system is the biggest public undertaking in the country. It has about 16 lakh employees and more than 2 lakh casual workers. It runs daily about 13500 trains connecting around 7000 stations-big and small, halt and flag ones. It carries 1.2 crore passengers and 12 lakh tonnes of goods daily.
In 1950-51, total route length was of 53.6 thousand kilometers, running track of 59.3 thousand kilometers while total track of 77.6 thousand kilometer’s.
During 2000-01, route length increased to 63.0 thousand kilometers, b’1.2 thousand kilometers of running track against 108.0 thousand kilometers. This means that the track density increased from 1.1 in 1950-51 to 1.7 in 2000-01.
The electrified route in terms of kilometers was 0.4 thousand against 53.6 kilometers in 1950-51 which increased to 10.0 thousand kilometers out of 62.4 thousand routes in 1990-91 and further, it was recorded to be 14.9 thousand kilometers out of 63.0 thousand kilometers in 2000-01.
The railway had achieved originating revenue earning freight loading 492.50 million tonnes in 2000-01 against 318.4 million tonnes in 1990-91 and 73.2 million tonnes in 1950-51.
The earning from goods carried was Rs. 139.3 crore in 1950-51 which rose to Rs. 8247.0 crore in 1990-91 and Rs. 24586.8 crore in 2000-01. The goods carried was 37.6 billion tonne km in 1950-51 which increased to 235.8 billion tonne km in 1990-91 and further to 331.9 billion tonne km in 2000-01.
However, average lead to all goods traffic in terms of km was registered to be 711.0 km in 1990-91 against 470.0 km in 1950-51.
During 2000-01, its number has reduced to 645.0 km. The passengers originating was 1284.0 millions in 1950-51 which rose to 5093.0 millions in 2000-01. While passenger in terms of kilometers was 66.5 billion in 1950-51 which increased to 295.6 billion in 1990-91 and 493.5 billion in 2000-01.
The total earnings was recorded to be Rs. 98.2 crore in 1950-51 which increased to Rs. 3144.7 crore in 1990-91 and Rs. 11196.4 crore in 2000-01.
Here, it must be remembered that Indian Railway, being a public utility service, has been undertaking certain uneconomical operations in the larger interest of the nation, have also afforded transport facilities to the common man and to carry certain essential commodities for mass consumption.
During 2000-01, losses incurred on such social service obligations are estimated at Rs. 3413 crore. During August 2002, Govt, of India has drawn up a non-budgeting investment initiative for the development of Railway to be called National Rail Vikas Yojana.