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Indian Railways - Facts & Figures
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The Distance
The total length of the Indian Railways (IR) is about 63,000 kilometres. This is divided into three guages or width of railway tracks i.e. Broad Guage(BG), Metre Guage(MG), Narrow Gauge(NG). The IR criss-crosses the length and breadth of the country from Jammu to KanyaKumari and from Gujarat to Assam.

The IR pases through deserts, dense forests, hilly terrain, coastal belts and fertile lands. The terrain and scenery changes from state to state and town to town. One can see all of India's history, geography and culture while travelling on IR.

IR Terminology
Trains on the Indian Railways are hauled by electric and diesel locomotives. Steam locomotives were in use till the end of the last century but are completely phased out now. A few steam locomotives can be seen hauling heritage or toy trains e.g. The Palace on Wheels, The Darjeeling Toy Train, The Ooty Nilgiri Passenger, etc..

As said earlier, the IR is divided into three guages based on track width. These are: Broad Guage, Metre Guage and Narrow Guage.
The locomotives & rolling stock are given notations depending on the guage and the type of locomotive or stock.

The locomotives on the IR are given notations as given below:

Broad Guage: W
Metre Guage: Y
Narrow Guage: Z

Type of traction:

Diesel: D
DC Electric: C
AC Electric: A

Type of loads:

Freight: G
Passenger: P
Mixed: M
Shunting: S

Thus, a broad guage loco which runs on AC power and is desgined for passenger load will have the notation - WAP. A metre guage diesel loco designed for mixed loads will have the notation - YDM. There are dual voltage locos as well running on both AC and DC power. These are denoted as WCAM for mixed loads and WCAG for freight.

The Geography
The Indian Railways has been divided into 9 zones for administrative convenience. The nine zones are:

1. Central Railway - CR
2. Eastern Railway - ER
3. Northern Railway - NR
4. Northeastern Railway - NER
5. Northeast Frontier Railway - NEFR
6. Southern Railway - SR
7. South Central Railway - SCR
8. South Eastern Railway - SER
9. Western Railway - WR

Apart from these zones, the Konkan Railway - KR is a separate corporation - The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited which runs from Roha(near Panvel) to Mangalore. This railway which is a miracle of modern technology runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.

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