Distribution of Indian Railways:
The distribution of Indian Railway network has been influenced by the geographical, economical and political factors. The Northern Plains of India with level land, high density of population, fertile soils and intense agriculture activities presents the most favourable environment for the development of railways. But the presence of many rivers and streams makes it necessary to build bridges. The relief of Himalayas and the plateaus is not suitable for the large scale development of railway network. The development of railways is more in economically active areas. Railways also bring economic development and prosperity to those regions through which they pass. Due to this economic link, we find the highest density of railways near big urban and industrial centres, and also in areas which are rich in minerals and agricultural resources.
i. The present railway system in India is the legacy of British Rule. ii. They planned the pattern of the railway network according to their needs. iii. They wanted to exploit the raw materials of India for the growth of their industries. iv. They also wanted to move their arms and troops quickly to maintain their supremacy.
v. Thus, they connected the big ports with railways, and also their hinterland to increase the import and export of goods. The Northern Plains of India, from Amritsar to Kolkata, has a dense network of railways. This densely populated region has highly developed agriculture and industries. Delhi is the main point from where railway lines radiate in all directions and is connected with major sea ports of India. The important focal points in this region are Amritsar, Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Mugal Sarai and Haora. The Peninsular India has undulating and hilly terrain which hinders the development of railways. The population density is also moderate.
In most of the areas, open and a loose network of railways, has developed. There are some trunk route railway services connecting Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Delhi, Hyderabad, Nagpur, etc. The Himalaya Mountain region has rugged terrain, hill and valley topography, backward economy and sparse population. Thus, railways are conspicuous by their near absence. Recently it has been developed between Pathankot and Udhampur via Jammu Tawi. There are only three narrow gauge railway lines in the Himalaya region. These are Kalka-Shimla, Pathankot Kangra and Siliguri-Darziling. i.
There are few railway lines in the north-eastern states of Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. ii. These areas have thickly forested rough terrain, sparse population and an extremely backward economy. iii. The construction of railways is not only difficult but also a very costly affair. iv. The conditions for the development of railways are better along the east coast than along the west coast. v.
The east has a along trunk route from Kolkata to Chennai. vi. The structure and relief of west coast has been hindering for such a development. vii.
However, the completion of Konkan Railway is a dream comes true.