Competitive Exams: Road and Rail Transport

Road Transport

  • India has one of the largest road networks in the world aggregating to about 3.3 milion kilometres.

  • 43.5% of the total roads is surfaced roads.

  • Roads are classified into six classes according to their importance: 1. Golden Quadrangle Superways, 2. National Highways, 3. State Highways, 4. Border Roads, 5. Major District Roads 6. Rural Roads including other district roads.

National Highways Development Project (NHDP)

Target to be completed by 2007

Estimated cost of Rs. 54, 000 Cr.

Project being implemented by National Highways Authority Of India (NHAI) NHDP has two components:

  1. Golden Quadrilateral comprises the National Highways connecting the four metro cities, viz. Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The component has a total length of 5846km and is scheduled for substantial completion by December 2003.

  2. The North South Corridor comprises the National highways connecting Srinagar to Kanyakumari including Kochi Salem spur and the East West Corridor comprises the National Highways connecting Silchar to Porbander. The project has a total length of about 7300km and is scheduled for completion by December 2007.

  3. National Highways These are primary road systems, which are laid and maintained by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). The total length of the National Highways is 57, 700 km. 1 constitutes only two percent of the total road length but carry 40% of the total road traffic. Some important National Highways are: NH 1 Delhi to Amritsar o NH 2 Delhi to Kolkata 2£y

  4. NH 6 passes through Sambalpur, Raipur and Nagpur and is the second longest trunk route.

  5. NH 7 passes through Jabalpur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Madurai and is the longest one with the total length of 2369 km.

State Roads

  • Constructed and maintained by the State Public Works Department.

  • Roads linking state capital with different district headquarters are state roads. These roads constitute 5.6% of total length of all roads. Other Roads

  • These are classed as rural roads and interlink rural areas and village with towns.

  • More than 93% of the total roads belong to this class. Types Length (, 000 km) All 2, 465.9, Surfaced 1, 394.1, National Highways 34.8, State Highways 137.1

  • Density of all roads (length of roads per 1000 sq. Km of area)

  • Total Length of Roads (statewise in descending order): Maharashtra Orissa Uttar Pradesh Tamil Nadu Madhya Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Kerala Karnataka Rajasthan Gujarat Bihar

  • Length of National Highways (statewise in descending order): Madhya Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Maharashtra Uttar Pradesh Rajasthan Assam Bihar Tamil Nadu Karnataka West Bengal Orissa Gujarat

  • Lowest in Jammu and Kashmir (10 km)

  • Highest in Kerala (375 km) National Average (75 km)

Density of metalled roads

National average (42.4 km) Goa has the highest density (153.8 km)

Jammu and Kashmir has the lowest density (3.7 km)

Length of surface roads (statewise in descending order)

  • Maharashtra
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Kerala
  • West Bengal

Length of unsurfaced roads (statewise in descending order)

  • Orissa
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Assam
  • Bihar
  • Rajasthan
  • Karnataka
  • West Bengal

Rail Transport

  • Indian Rail transport is largest in Asia and fourth largest in the world.

  • The first train was started in 1853 from Mumbai to Thane.

  • At present it covers the route of 62, 759 km.

  • 12, 670 trains run everyday connecting 6, 867 stations. 23% of the total route is electrified.

  • There are in all 16 railway zones

Zones HQs

  • Central-Mumbai (Chhatrapati Shivaji T)
  • Eastern-Kolkata
  • Northern-Delhi
  • Southern-Chennai
  • Western-Mumbai (Churchgate)
  • North East-Gorakhpur
  • N. E Frontier-Malegaon (Guwahati)
  • South East-Kolkata
  • South Central-Secundrabad
  • East Coast-Bhubneshwar
  • East Central-Hajipur
  • North Central-Allahabad
  • North Eastern-Jaipur
  • South Western-Bangalore
  • West Central-Jabalpur
  • Bilaspur-Bilaspur


Units manufacturing rolling stocks run by Indian Railways are:

  1. Chittaranjan locomotive works: Chittaranjan (W. Bengal).

  2. Diesel locomotive works: Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh).

  3. Integral Coach factory: Perambur (Tamil Nadu).

  4. Rail Coach factory: Kapurthala (Punjab).

  5. Wheel and Axle plant: Bangalore.

  6. Diesel Component works: Patiala (Punjab). Two other units are: 1. M/s Jessops (Kolkata), 2. Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (Bangalore),

Railway Track Density

  1. High Density (-25 km/lOOOsq. Km): Delhi, Punjab, Bihar, W. Bengal, Haryana, Assam, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat

  2. Medium Density (1525 km/1000 sq. Km): This covers the western part of the peninsula incorporating Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan.

  3. Low Density (515km/1000 sq. Km): Eastern part of the peninsular India. Orissa and Madhya Pradesh (undulating topography, low population density and poor economic development have led to low density of rail network.).

  4. Very Low Density (<5 km/1000 sq. Km): Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Nagaland, and Tripura. The states of Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and UTs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu are devoid of rail lines. Besides the hilly regions of the north, Rajasthan desert (west of Jodhpur), forested and hilly tracts of the North East and the tribal areas of the central India are other such low density areas.

Public Undertakings

Five undertakings that come under Ministry of Railways are:

  1. RITES: Rail India Technical and Economic Services Ltd.

  2. IRCO: Indian Railways Construction Company Ltd.

  3. IRFC: India Railway Finance Corporation Ltd.

  4. CONCOR: Container Corporation of India Ltd.

  5. CRIS: Centre for Railway Information System. Besides these five undertakings, Research, Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO) at Lucknow is the R&D wing of Indian Railways.