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Western Railway

Western Railway Burdening The Busiest And Most Profitable Network Of Rail In India

Western Railway is the busiest among the 16 Railway zones in the country, which is headquartered in Mumbai. Millions of passengers travel on a daily basis in this track, which is supposedly the lifeline of people from the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Busy lines run in the Western Railway with passenger traffic as well as freight traffic along Ratlam-Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad-Vadodara, Surat-Mumbai, Surat-Ahmedabad, and Palanpur-Ahmedabad.


In the year 1951, a number of state owned Railways such as Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway and the Rajputana Railway, Saurashtra Railway, and Jaipur State Railway. In the same year, the Cutch State Railway running on narrow gauge line was also merged in this. The Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway were originally formed in the year 1855 which ran in West coast in Gujarat. Mumbai was included in the line in 1864.

Gradually, this line was extended towards Vadodara in a north easterly direction towards the stations of Ratlam, Godhra, and then into Kota and Mathura, finally linking to the Great Indian Peninsular Railway which is now the Central Railway. This Central Railway was already functioning in Mumbai since 1853. In 1883, a meter gauge Railway track was established linking Delhi, Jaipur, and Ajmer.

  • The suburban services in Mumbai were first started in 1867, which is one of the extensive networks within the Western Railway. Going to Churchgate, this line carried about 1 million passengers annually.
  • In due course of time, many other princely state Railways were included under the Western Railway. In 1949, the Gaekwar’s Baroda State Railway was included in the BB&CI Railway. Railway portions of Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Kathiawar, Gondal, Dwarka, and Morvi Railways were included in Saurashtra Railway in 1948. Jodhpur and Bikaner Railway was brought under Rajasthan State in 1949. In 2002, the Ajmer and Jaipur divisions were separated from Western Railway to form the North Western Railway and the Kota division was taken away to be included in the West Central Railway in 2003. Ahmedabad division was included in the same year.

Present divisions and jurisdiction

The extent of Western Railway reaches to many states such as whole of Gujarat, part of Rajasthan, small portions of western Madhya Pradesh and the coastal Maharashtra.

  • There are 6 divisions under the Western Railway including Vadodara, Bhavnagar, Ratlam, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, and Mumbai. The Mumbai Suburban Railway Network is also included in the jurisdiction.
  • Total route kms under the Western Railway is 6181 km which includes the broad gauge, meter gauge and narrow gauge lines.
  • The Suburban Railway in Mumbai extends from Churchgate to Virar which is covering about 60 kms and caters to 28 stations. With the extension to the Dahanu stations, 10 more stations have been added with a 60 km distance extra.
  • The large extent of passenger traffic in the Western Railway is contributed by this local train system in the suburban network. 14 million people travel by Indian Railways in total every day. In the Mumbai suburban section alone, there are 7 million people travelling on a daily basis. In the total number of train services run in Mumbai, 1040 12 car services and 14 numbers of 15 car services are run in the suburban network with a frequency of 3 minutes during peak hours.
  • Western coast has a number of ports under its jurisdiction which are served by the Western Railway, some of the important ones being Porbandar, Okha, Hajira, Surat, Kandla, Bhavnagar, etc.


The Western Railway covers 6 divisions and about 4 states in the country with staff strength of about 1 lakhs. It has a route kms of 6181 which includes broad gauge, meter gauge and narrow gauge lines. There are 739 trains running in this network. Total of 1250 car trains are running in the suburban rail network. 33 lakh passengers travel in the suburban network per day while the non-suburban network caters to about 9.60 lakhs passengers on a daily basis. There are about 120 computerised reservation centers in total in this Western Railway network. With earnings of about 9142 crores of rupees per year in 2010-2011, the Western Railway has a significant contribution to the Indian Railway revenue.

  • Three Rajdhani express trains run from Mumbai and ahmedabad and the Shatabdi Express is connecting the tip of the south india.

Railway Recruitment Board of Western Railway

The headquarters of Western Railway zone is located in Mumbai, which is also the headquarters of Central Railway and the divisions of Mumbai, Nagpur, Sholapur, Bhusaval, and Pune.

  • For the western zone, the RRB in Mumbai looks after the recruitment process of Group C staff and is under the control of Ministry of Railway and guided by the Railway Recruitment Central board.
  • The jurisdiction of the RRB Mumbai is inclusive of Mumbai division and the headquarter of Western Railway, divisions of Mumbai, Sholapur, Pune and Bhusaval divisions and headquarters of Central Railway, Nanded Division of south central Railway and Nagpur division of South East Central Railway. The headquarters of RRB Mumbai is in Churchgate.
  • A part of the Western Railway division recruitment is done by the RRB in Ahmedabad, which looks after the recruitment in Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad divisions of Western Railway. Ratlam division in Western Railway is looked after by the RRB in Bhopal.


Vadodara was the first princely state that gave stress upon building of Railway system. Vadodara division got its special existence in the year 1956 after merging of many local Railways under the independent Indian government. The route kms covered by this division was about 570 in broad gauge and 723 in narrow gauge, after some portions were included in the newly formed Ahmedabad division. Under the Baroda division are 9 districts of Gujarat. A number of important religious and tourist places can be found in the division such as Dakor, Vadtal, Anand where white revolution took place, and the prestigious Institute of Rural Managment in Anand.

Ratlam division was established in the year 1956, when the Indian Railway was being divisionalised, but the history dates back to about 130 years. The initiation was with the narrow gauge in 1874 while the broad gauge was done in 1893. The trains in this division have a number of places of importance and commercially it is important as the items like cement, clinker, rock phosphate, caustic soda, etc are carried to different places. Route kms in this division in BG is 783 and in MG is 278. Under this division are included 15 districts of Madhya Pradesh, 3 districts of rajasthan and 2 districts of Gujarat.

Bhavnagar division caters to the Southern Region of Saurashtra, with a number of districts along with it. Total route kms under it is 1327 which passes on through the undulating hilly regions, with some tracks on the Girnar peak. The Gir Lion Sanctuary is located in Bhavnagar division. 8 districts of Gujarat are served by this division. This princely state was the third one in the country to start its own Railway division, thereby making it historically important. The first train ran in this line in the year 1880. This was later on, after independence included in the Saurashtra Railway. The division was formerly inaugurated in the year 1956.

Special trains

Special trains have been provided and contemplated by the Western Railway to provide the necessary convenience to the passengers during peak time and in heavy rush. These trains are introduced on weekly, biweekly and daily basis usually. Mostly during the summer seasons, during festivals and as and when the Railway department feels the need of more number of trains, the special trains are introduced. Some of the important trains are Mumbai Central New Delhi Rajdhani Special, Mumbai Bandra T Jaipur AC SF Weekly, Mumbai Bandra T Delhi Weekly Express special, Delhi SR Bandra T via Jodhpur express weekly, Jodhpur Valsad Weekly summer, Porbandard Secundrabad weekly special, and many more trains are run by the Western Railway.

During the national holidays and festivals also, a number of special trains are incorporated in the Western Railway, mostly in the Mumbai division because of the huge traffic which is seen coming out from Mumbai. These include most of the national festivals in the country, so that people living and working in Mumbai return back to their native places.

First achievements

Western Railway was the first network to start an exclusive ladies special train between Churchgate and Virar. Also, it was the first to introduce the automated Train Management System over the Suburban stations till the station of Virar. By such facility, people are able to know about the real time train movements and the actual countdown of expected time of arrival is displayed.

Huge passenger traffic is seen in the Western Railways because of the large number of people going about for their daily business and office jobs. With the presence of the suburban Mumbai network, the zone has high passenger traffic although the goods and freight traffic in the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and even in Mumbai are contributory. Plenty of modernised amenities and advanced facilities have been incorporated in the trains and in the stations which are all aiming to make the travel of people in the Western Railway safe, secure and comfortable.

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