Indian Railways is the nationalized railway company of India which owns and operates most of the country's rail transport. It is the world’s second largest employer behind Chinese army; has one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, an extensive network, which is spread over 60000 Route Kilometre, of which approximately 30 per cent is electrified.
The Indian Railways have played an integrating role in the social and economic development of the country , transporting over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily, it is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1. 4 million employees. Besides its stated function of transporting men and goods across the length and breadth of the country, it also enhances the country’s economy. As the country is emerging as one of the rapidly growing economies in the world, the need for a well- organized transport infrastructure would become more vital.
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Although there have been other modes of transport available in the country, Indian Railways is still able to maintain its competitive position due to many advantages like geographical diversity, world’s largest networks, and above all its economical fares in delivering the services. Marketing Mix Product Railways offer three major types of services:
- Freight Service
- Passenger Service
- Parcel Service
IR carries a huge variety of goods ranging from mineral ores, fertilizers and petrochemicals, agricultural produce, iron & steel, multimodal traffic and others. Ports and major urban areas have their own dedicated freight lines and yards. Many important freight stops have dedicated platforms and independent lines. Indian Railways makes 70% of its revenues and most of its profits from the freight sector, and uses these profits to cross-subsidise the loss-making passenger sector. . Within the freight segment, bulk traffic accounts for nearly 95 per cent, of which more than 44 per cent is contributed by coal. Indian Railways also transports vehicles over long distances. Trucks that carry goods to a particular location are hauled back by trains saving the trucking company on unnecessary fuel expenses.
Refrigerated vans are also available in many areas. The "Green Van" is a special type used to transport fresh food and vegetables. Recently Indian Railways introduced the special 'Container Rajdhani' or CONRAJ, for high priority freight. The highest speed notched up for a freight train is 120 kilometres per hour (75 mph) for a 5,500 metric tonne load. Under the Eleventh Five Year Plan of India (2007–2012), Ministry of Railways is constructing a new Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) covering about 2762 route km long.
These are the non-stop point to point rail services (except for operational stops) introduced for the first time in 2009. These trains connect the metros and major state capitals of India and are faster than Rajdhani Express. The Duronto services consists of classes of accommodation namely first AC, two-tier AC, three-tier AC, AC 3 Tier Economy, Sleeper Class, General Class. *
These are all air-conditioned trains linking major cities to New Delhi. The Rajdhanis have high priority and are one of the fastest trains in India, travelling at about 140 km/h (87 mph). There are only a few stops on a Rajdhani route.
Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi Express
The Shatabdi trains are AC intercity seater-type trains for travel during day. Jan-Shatabdi trains consists of both AC and non-AC classes. * Garib Rath Fully air conditioned trains, designed for those who cannot afford to travel in the expensive Shatabti and Rajdhani Express. Garib Rath means "Chariot of the Poor". The maximum speed is 130 km/h. * Superfast Mail/Express These are trains that have an average speed greater than 55 km/h (34 mph). Tickets for these trains have an additional super-fast surcharge. Mail/Express These are the most common kind of trains in India. They have more stops than their super-fast counterparts, but they stop only at relatively important intermediate stations.
Rajya Rani Express
These are a series of express trains operated by Indian Railways to connect state capitals with other cities important for tourism, pilgrimage or business. * Passenger and Fast Passenger These are slow trains that stop at most stations along the route and are the cheapest trains. The trains generally have unreserved seating accommodation but some night trains have sleeper and 3A compartments. Suburban trains These trains operate in urban areas, usually stop at all stations and have unreserved seating accommodation.
Special Tourist Trains
- Palace on Wheels,
- Deccan Odyssey,
- Heritage On Wheels,
- Golden Chariot,
- Darjeeling Toy Train
- Price Freight Traffic
A number of steps have been taken in the recent years to augment the railway loading as well as the earning of the Railways. As a result of those steps, the Freight earning of the Railways increased from Rs. 36,287 crore in 2005-06 to Rs. 41,717 crore in 2006-07 (increase of 16 per cent) and the loading increased from 667. 0 MT in 2005-06 to 728. 41 MT in 2006-07 (increase of 9. 2 per cent). Continuing the process further, the Railways have taken many initiatives to increase the railways freight earnings such as discount up to 30 per cent has been permitted on traffic loaded in the notified Traditional Empty Flow Directions during both busy and lean seasons, along with special long term; lump sum rates and other concessions. Passenger Traffic Pricing process is very complex due to the presence of various types of trains, quotas, classes, and concessions.
The Pricing strategy is based on keeping in mind the need the entire population of the country and is mainly based on the type of class as described below:
- AThe First class AC: This is the most expensive class, where the fares are on par with airlines. Bedding is included with the fare in IR. This air conditioned coach is present only on popular routes between metropolitan cities and can carry 18 passengers. The coaches are carpeted, have sleeping accommodation and have privacy features like personal coupes.
- AAC-Two tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths, ample leg room, curtains and individual reading lamps. Berths are usually arranged in two tiers in bays of six, four across the width of the coach then the gangway then two berths long ways, with curtains provided to give some privacy from those walking up and down. Bedding is included with the fare. A broad gauge coach can carry 48 passengers. * FCFirst class: Same as 1AC, without the air conditioning. This class is not very common.
- AAC three tier: Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths. Berths are usually arranged as in 2AC but with three tiers across the width and two long ways as before giving eight bays of eight. They are slightly less well appointed, usually no reading lights or curtained off gangways. Bedding is included with fare. It carries 64 passengers in broad gauge.
- 3EAC three tier (Economy): Air conditioned coaches with sleeping berths, present in Garib Rath Trains. Berths are usually arranged as in 3AC but with three tiers across the width and three long ways. They are slightly less well appointed, usually no reading lights or curtained off gangways. Bedding is not included with fare.
- CCAC chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of five seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
- ECExecutive class chair car: An air-conditioned seater coach with a total of four seats in a row used for day travel between cities.
- SLSleeper class: The sleeper class is the most common coach, and usually ten or more coaches could be attached. These are regular sleeping coaches with three berths vertically stacked. In broad gauge, it carries 72 passengers per coach. Railways have modified certain Sleeper Coaches on popular trains to accommodate 81 passengers in place of regular 72 passengers. This was done in order to facilitate benefits like clear the Passenger rush and simultaneously earn more revenue.But this has got lukewarm response with criticism from the travellers and railways have decided to remove them.
- SSeater class: Same as AC Chair car, but with bench style seats and without the air-conditioning.
- URUnreserved: The cheapest accommodation, the seats usually made up of pressed wood, but the cushioned seats have been rapidly replaced. Although entry into the compartment is guaranteed, a sitting seat is not guaranteed. Tickets issued are valid on any train on the same route if boarded within 24 hours of buying the ticket. These coaches are usually very crowded. Also higher prices are charged for Tatkal scheme and lower for senior citizens and children below 12 years of age. As a part of ongoing marketing strategy, a number of steps have been taken by Indian Railways such as reduction in fares, proliferation of ticketing facility, introduction of Passengers Incentive Schemes like Upgradation, Scheme for Frequent Travellers (SOFT), etc.
Place Tickets can be booked through a variety of ways:
- Book in Person at Stations
- Computerized Reservation Centre
- Online booking
- SMS Travel Agents Promotion Since the Indian Railways is a monopoly, they do not spend much on promotional activities. Their major promotions include advertising in print media, usually newspapers and hoardings. They sponsor certain national events such as the recently held Commonwealth Games in Delhi and beam TV commercials during that period.
- http://www. sustainable-sourcing. com/2009/06/29/nhs-procurements-10-carbon-chal lenge/
- www. wikipedia. org http://indiabudg et. nic. in/es2001-02/chapt2002/chap98. pdf
- http ://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Indian Railways
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