Rail transport in India is one of the most common modes of long-distance transport. Rail operations are largely run by a state-owned company, Indian Railways. The rail network traverses the length and width of the country, covering a total length of 63,140 km (39,233 miles). It is said to be the 4th largest railway network in the world, transporting over 7 billion passengers and over 350 million tonnes of freight annually. Its operations cover twenty-five states and three union territories and also link the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Railways were introduced to India in 1853, and by the time of India's independence in 1947 they had grown to forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit—Indian Railways—to form one of the largest networks in the world. Locomotives manufactured at several places in India are assigned codes identifying their gauge, kind of power and type of operation. Colour signal lights are used as signals, but in some remote areas of operation, the older semaphores and discs-based signalling are still in use. Accommodation classes range from general through first class AC. Trains have been classified according to speed and area of operation. Many trains are officially identified by a four-digit code, though many are commonly known by unique names also. The ticketing system has been computerised to a large extent, and there are reserved as well as unreserved categories of tickets.
The project was unique in many respects. It was the first major project in India to be undertaken on a BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) basis; the organisation structure was different from that of a typical Indian Railway set-up; the project had 93 tunnels along a length of 82 km and involved tunneling through soft soil. The total project covered 760 km and had over 150 bridges. That a public sector project could be completed without significant cost and time overruns was considered an achievement by many and opened on 26 January 1998. The Anti Collision Device, Skybus Metro and Roll On Roll Off Technology are a few of the innovations from Konkan Railways.
July 20 – The government of Andra Pradesh announces that among the eight companies that submitted proposals, Larsen & Toubro is the preferred bidder for construction of the Hyderabad Metro in India, costing a proposed 122 billion. The state and federal governments will each finance 20% of the project while Larsen & Toubro will finance the remaining 60%. The project is expected to be completed in 2014. (Railway Gazette)
June 6 - Passengers of the Hazrat Nizamuddin-VisakhapatnamSamata Express had a narrow escape when its engine derailed near Arand railway station in Chhattisgarh, but no one was injured. Rail services through the track were affected for about five hours due to the derailment at an area between Arand and Bhimkhoj stations in Raipur section. The cause of derailment is yet to be ascertained, officials said.The Hindu