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Indian Railways (Hindi: भारतीय रेल Bhāratīya Rel), abbreviated as IR (भारे), is a Department of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Railways, and is tasked with operating the rail network in India. The Ministry is headed by a cabinet rank Railways Minister, while the Department is managed by the Railway Board. Indian Railways is not a private corporate body; however, of late IR has adopted a corporate management style.

Indian Railways has a total state monopoly on India's rail transport. It is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting seventeen million passengers[2] and more than one million tonnes of freight daily.[3] IR is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.6 million employees.[4]

The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country; the routes cover a total length of 63,465 km (39,435 miles). As of 2005, IR owned a total of 222,379 wagons, 42,125 coaches and 7910 locomotives and ran a total of 14,444 trains daily, including about 8,702 passenger trains.[3]

Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India's independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalized as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. Indian Railways operates both long distance and suburban rail systems.

Source: Wikipedia

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