Indian Railways (Hindi: भारतीय रेल Bhâratîya Rail), abbreviated as IR (भारे), is the state owned railway network of India. Ministry of Railways is responsible for the operation, maintenance and growth of the rail network in India, the 5th largest network in world in terms of track length. The railway ministry is headed by a cabinet rank Railways Minister, while the Department is managed by the Railway Board. Indian Railways is neither a private nor a public corporate body; however recently it has adopted a corporate management style.
IR has a total state monopoly on India's rail transport. It is one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting eighteen million passengers daily and more than two million tonnes of freight daily. IR is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 12 million employees.
The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country; the routes cover a total length of more than 63,327 km (39,500 miles). As of 2008, IR owned about 225,000 wagons, 45,000 coaches and 8300 locomotives and ran more than 18,000 trains daily, including about 8,984 passenger trains and 9,387 goods trains.
Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India's independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems.