India has the world's third-largest rail network under single management. Indian Railway has 13,452 passenger trains and 9,141 freight trains. As of 2017-18, Indian Railway had a total route network of about 68,442 kms and operated more than 22,300 trains daily. A total of 1,106 RKM (Route kilometre) has been electrified across the entire Indian Railways network. By 2024, Indian railways will be run completely on electricity.
Revenue growth has been strong over the years. Indian Railways’ gross revenue stood at Rs 145,333.61 crore (US$ 20.79 billion) in FY20 (till January 2020).
Freight earnings in FY20 (till January 2020) stood at Rs 92,960.65 crore (US$ 13.30 billion). Passenger earnings for Indian Railways was estimated at Rs 44,279.72 crore (US$ 6.34 billion) in FY20 (till January 2020). Freight remains the major revenue earning segment for the Railways, accounting for 63.96 per cent of its total revenue in FY20 (till January 2020), followed by passenger segment.
Passenger traffic was valued at 6.99 billion in FY20 (till January 2020). Freight traffic reached 999.51 million tonnes in FY20 (till January 2020).
The punctuality performance of Indian Railways for mail and express trains increased to 75.67 per cent during April-December 2019 compared to 68.19 per cent during the same period last year.
As per Union Budget 2020-21, the Ministry of Railways has been allocated Rs 72,216 crore (US$ 10.33 billion). FDI Inflow in railway related components from April 2000 to September 2019 stood at US$ 1,070.91 million.
In Union Budget 2019-20, the government planned to enhance metro connectivity by encouraging more public-private partnership (PPP) and ensuring completion of sanctioned works, while supporting Transit Oriented Development (TOD) to ensure commercial activity around transit hubs. Purchasing Power Parities projects investment is estimated to be at Rs 50 lakh crore (US$ 715 billion) for railways by 2030. In 2019, Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express became the first train to be operated by private players.
With increasing participation expected from private players, domestic and foreign, due to favourable policy measures, both passenger and freight traffic is expected to grow rapidly over the medium to long term. The government of India’s focus on infrastructure is a major factor which will accelerate growth of railways. Railways infrastructure plans to invest Rs 50 lakh crore (US$ 715.41 billion) by 2030.