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 in12th five year plan (2012-17) had a challenging target of electrification of 6500 RKM of tracks. The targets are increasing manifold every year.
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 11 project units operating from different locations viz. Ambala, Bhubaneswar, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Danapur, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Lucknow, New Jalpaiguri, and Secunderabad. These units are responsible for field execution of electrification works.
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 35,488 routes kms of its tracks under the electric traction as on 31.03.2019. Electrified Routes constitute 51.30% of the total railway network and 55.19% 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 65% of the freight and about 54% of passenger traffic is hauled by electric traction on Indian Railways.