Today travelling and moving from place to place has become extremely convenient. Roads are wider, there are more trains connecting one place to another and air travel is at an all-time low. Every mode of transport has their merits; however, air travel is rapidly starting to gain traction. It is the fastest way to go to any place. It is limited by the resources it requires and links only big cities and major towns. Some people might also prefer travelling by train for various reasons.
There is a reason that the Railways still carry over 8 billion passengers in a year. Cheap rates, convenient stops and comfort are some of the reasons why people prefer rails over any other mode of transportation. Railway fares are surprisingly cheap, travelling thousands of kilometres can cost as little as a few hundred rupees. It is far better than road travel as far as the sheer complexities of travelling by road are concerned, and it is economically efficient as compared to travelling by air.
There is also a level of comfort which cannot be matched by any other forms of transport. Travelling by rail is a luxurious way to get around places. One can peacefully sleep and stretch in comfortable lounging seats and enjoy their time. The trains have a natural rocking motion to it, which can be great for helping passengers catch some shut-eye. There is abundant food available and depending on the trains one can even stop by stations to get a taste of local delicacies. This is unmatched while travelling in aeroplanes, where one is cramped in a small seat with minimal leg room. The economic airlines in the country also do not serve food and one has to purchase meals which are extremely costly. In case of road travel, it is also similar to rail travel where one has to sit motionless for hours at end in an even tinier space.
India is a vast country, there are 29 states and over 1.4 billion people reside in the country. It may be a very perplexing task to connect people. But the railroads have by far the most well-connected network in the country. There is over 70000 kilometres of track and nearly 6600 stations across the country. This ensures that almost every single person in India is reachable by rail and it is quite the feat. Air travel cannot offer this level of connectivity and for the commuters who want to travel to places like Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai; they can simply jump on a Delhi to Bangalore trains or a Mumbai to Delhi train regardless of where they are from as long as the train crosses the area. Air travel is far more direct and offers no such flexibility.
Its contribution to the economy is also quite staggering, nearly 30 billion in annual revenues and employs over 1.3 million people. These numbers mean that the IR can only improve over time and advance into the future on the back of this gigantic workforce.