The Railway Network

I recently was on a Rajdhani to Hyderabad and the Rajdhani is considered to be on e of the best in India, this reminds me of the train journeys in Europe with the Inter City Express (Germany), Thalys (France & Belgium) & OBB(Austria).

We might not be able to compare the Rail Network in Europe and India because if India has one of the largest Europe has one of the most efficient Rail Network’s.

The Indian Railways caters to the travel needs of millions of Indian but probably needs to improve on the cleanliness, hygiene, timing and in-train services.

Here’s a sneak peek into the Indian Railways, ICE & Thalys more later.

Founded on 26 April 1853, the Railways in India is one of the principal modes of transportation for freight and passengers. The Indian railways have played an important role in the development of industries and agriculture. Indian Railways has the distinction of being one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world. It operates 9,000 passenger trains and transports 18 million passengers every day. The Indian Railway employs approximately 1.4 million people.

The Indian Railways has been serving the people of India with utmost pride for more than two centuries. It was in 1851 when the first train ran in the country for hauling construction material in Roorkee and by 1853 the first passenger train service became operational between Bori Bunder, Bombay and Thane covering a distance of twenty one miles, thus marking the formal birth of rail network in India.

The Indian Railways network binds the social, cultural and economical fabric of the country and covers the whole of country ranging from north to south and east to west removing the distance barrier for its people. The railway network of India has brought together the whole of country hence creating a feeling of unity among Indians.

When the first train steamed off from Mumbai to Thane covering a distance of 34 kilometers. Today, it covers 6,909 stations over a total route length of more than 63,327 kilometres

The Indian Railways owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives. Presently, 9 pairs of Rajdhani and 13 pairs of Shatabdi Express Trains run on the rail tracks of India.

Indian Railways is divided into 16 zones:
  • Northern Railway (NR)
  • North Eastern Railway (NER)
  • Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR)
  • Western Railway (WR)
  • Southern Railway (SR)
  • South Central Railway (SCR)
  • South Eastern Railway (SER)
  • Eastern Railway (ER)
  • Central Railway (CR)
  • South Western Railway (SWR)
  • North Western Railway (NWR)
  • West Central Railway (WCR)
  • North Central Railway (NCR)
  • South East Central Railway (SECR)
  • East Coast Railway (ECoR)
  • East Central Railway (ECR)

The Intercity-Express — in Austria, Denmark and Switzerland: Inter City Express (formerly also syntax in Germany); abbreviation: ICE (German pronunciation: [i – tse – e]) — is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and neighboring countries. It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn. The brand name “ICE” is among the best of Germany, with a brand awareness close to 100%, according to DB.

There are currently 259 trainsets in five different versions of the ICE vehicles in use, named ICE 1 (deployed in 1991), ICE 2 (1996), ICE T (1999), ICE 3 (1999) and ICE TD (2001-2003, back in service 2007). The ICE 3, including its variant models, is made by a consortium led by Bombardier and Siemens.

Apart from domestic use, the trains can also be seen in countries neighbouring Germany. There are, for example, ICE 1 lines to Basel and Zürich, Switzerland. ICE 3 trains also run to Liège and Brussels, Belgium[2] and at lower speeds to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.[3] On June 10, 2007, a new line between Paris and Frankfurt/Stuttgart was opened, jointly operated by ICE and TGV trains.

While ICE 3M run the Paris-to-Frankfurt branch (with exceptions to trains 9553/9552, which operates with TGV POS equipment and cross-crewed with both SNCF and DB staff), SNCF’s TGV runs from Paris to Munich (via Stuttgart), with mixed crews on both trains.

German and Austrian ICE T trains run to Vienna, Austria. On December 9, 2007 the ICE TD was introduced on the service from Berlin via Hamburg to Århus and Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Spanish railway operator RENFE also employs trains based on ICE 3 trains (Siemens Velaro). Wider versions were ordered by China for the Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail (CRH 3) and by Russia for the Moscow – Saint Petersburg and the Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod routes (Velaro RUS).[7]

Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches Amsterdam and Cologne, and its system is operated by Thalys International. Its capital is divided up between SNCF (62%), SNCB (28%) and Deutsche Bahn (10%).

Beyond Brussels, the main cities Thalys trains reach are Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Liège, Bruges, Ghent, Charleroi, Aachen and Cologne. Trains to these destinations run partly on dedicated high-speed tracks, and partly on conventional tracks shared with normal-speed trains. The high-speed lines used by Thalys are HSL 1 between Paris and Brussels, HSL 4 and HSL-Zuid between Antwerp and Amsterdam, and the HSL 2 and HSL 3 between Brussels and Aachen. For its seasonal operations within France, other high-speed lines are used.

Plans to continue the line past Cologne to Frankfurt had to be abandoned because the power Germany’s 15 kV electric system provides is insufficient for the Thalys train sets to operate at full speed on the Cologne-Frankfurt high-speed rail line.[5][6]

Journeys from Brussels (Brussels-South) to Paris (Gare du Nord) are normally 1 hour, 22 minutes, for a distance of approximately 300 kilometres (190 mi). Peak speed is 300 km/h (186 mph) on a dedicated high-speed railway track

The LGV (ligne à grande vitesse) link with Charles de Gaulle Airport allowed Air France to withdraw its air service between Paris and Brussels; instead, Air France books seats on Thalys trains. Thalys has been given the IATA designator 2H. This is used in conjunction with American Airlines and Northwest Airlines. American Airlines has a code sharing agreement with Thalys for rail service from Charles de Gaulle airport to Brussels-South. The airline alliance SkyTeam also has a code sharing agreement with Thalys for rail service from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to Antwerp-Centraal and Brussels South Charleroi Airport.

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