History of Railway Electrification on Indian Railways
After commencement of first Railway service between Mumbai & Thane in 1853, first electric train was run between Mumbai & Thane in year 1925 i.e., roughly after 75 years of Railway working. With industrial growth of the country & increasing need for environment friendly mode of transportation, focus in Indian Railways gradually shifted to electric traction. After independence of the country, first 5 year plan (1951-56) had a small target of electrification of 141 RKM of tracks. The target kept gradually increasing and 12th five year plan (2012-17) has a challenging target of electrification of 6500 RKM of tracks.
Railway Electrification as an organization was set up in 1961, with mandate to electrify Indian Railway tracks as approved by Govt. of India. The unit initially based at Kolkata was called PORE (Project office for Railway Electrification) & was headed by an Engineer- in- Chief. However, owing to growing emphasis on electrification, a separate unit called Central Organization for Railway Electrification (CORE) was set up in 1971, with headquarter at Allahabad. The unit is currently headed by a General Manager.
CORE currently has 10 project units operating from different locations viz. Ambala, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Gorakhpur, Danapur, Jaipur, Jabalpur, Lucknow, New Jalpaiguri and Secunderabad. These units are responsible for field execution of electrification works.
There are about 313 officers and 2093 Group C/Group D staff as on 31.03.2014. They are managing the Railway Electrification works in CORE and its field offices.
Electrification of the first trunk route from Howrah to Delhi was completed in August 1976. On 01/02/1988, electric trains started running on the entire length from Bombay to Delhi i.e. between the Commercial Capital and Political Capital of India. This was the second trunk route to be completed after the first trunk route from Howrah to Delhi.
Today Indian Railway has 24891 routes kms of its tracks under the electric traction as on 31.03.2014. Electrified Routes constitute 38.59% of the total railway network and 44.48% of the entire Broad Gauge network. This covers major trunk routes namely: Howrah - Delhi, Howrah - Bombay, Delhi - Bombay, Delhi - Chennai, Chennai- Bangalore, Howrah - Chennai, and Ernakulam – Trivendram etc. Over all, about 66% of the freight and about 50% of passenger traffic is hauled by electric traction on Indian Railways.
During 11th five year plan, Railway Electrification energized 4556 Route kms surpassing the target of 4500 route kms fixed for the plan. Target for 12th five year plan (2012-17) is kept at 6500 RKM. Of this, a total of 2667 RKM has already been electrified during 1st two years i.e. 2012-13 and 2013-2014. Target for financial year 2014-15 has been kept as 1200 RKM.