Career in Indian Railway


Indian Railways (IR) is a governmental entity under the Ministry of Railways which operates India’s national railway system. It is run by the government as a public good and manages the fourth largest railway network in the world by size, with a route length of 68,155 km (42,350 mi) as of March 2019.

  1. Free Railway Travel Pass:Depending upon the post held by the employee, the Employee is entitled to enjoy the free Travel passes per year. Each Travel pass can be used to travel across the network of the Indian Railways for one round trip. The class of the coach and the number of passes the employee can avail depends on the employee cadre/post. The dependents of the employee can also enjoy the Travel Pass. For non-gazetted staff, free Railway passes are issued one set (Outward & Return) per year, during initial five years and from the 6th year of the service, three sets are issued. For Gazetted officers, it will be six sets per year.
  2. Privilege Ticket Order (PTO): The Railway employee and the dependents of the employee can avail 3 sets of Privilege Ticket Order (PTO) per year. The employee can use the PTO to book a ticket by paying a nominal amount of one-third (1/3 or 33%) on the base price of the fare. This PTO will be issued by the Pass Section and will be granted between 2 stations, as requested by the employee.
  3. Railway Residential Quarters:Indian Railways offers residential quarters to its employees, which will be build and maintained by the Engineering department of the Railways in the Railway premises. All the basic amenities and facilities will be provided at these quarters for a nominal amount.
  4. Subsidized food at the work place: The Railway employees are entitled to avail the subsidized meals (breakfast and lunch) at the Railway canteens.
  5. Educational facilities to the children:Good Educational facilities will be provided to the children of the employees near the Railway colonies.
  6. Medical Care:Employees and their dependents will be provided with free Medical facilities at the Railway Hospitals. Depending upon the severity, the patients will be referred to the Corporate Hospitals too.
  7. Jobs for relatives on compassionate grounds:In case if any employee dies while in service or is declared as medically unfit by the Medical officer at Railway Hospital, then a family member can get a Railway job on compassionate grounds, depending upon his/her educational qualification.
  8. Study Leave:The employees can avail the Study leave in case if you want to pursue higher education.
  9. Secure Employment:There won’t be any fear of losing the job due to recession. There is no ‘Hire and Fire’ policy in the Government sector. Once hired, you will be employed till your retirement (60 years of age).
  10. Pension:Post retirement, the retired employees are entitled to pension. This ensures the financial security throughout the life.

Recruitment is done through 2 examinations:

  • The Civil Services Examination for the Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) and the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS).
  • The Combined Engineering Services Examination for:
    • The Indian Railway Services of Engineers (IRSE)
    • Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE)
    • Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE)
    • Indian Railway Service Stores (IRSS)

The Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers recruits 50 per cent of the candidates through the Combined Engineering Services Examination. The remaining 50 per cent are recruited as the Special Class Railway Apprentices for which U.P.S.C. conducts a separate competitive examination every year.

The Railway Recruitment Boards located at different parts of the country also recruit individuals for various positions viz. TTC, Asst. Station Masters, Goods Guards etc. Apart from these positions RRBs also recruit teachers, physical instructors, doctors in various departments, nurses and paramedical personnel through countrywide written tests.


Stream Graduation Exams
Path 1 Clear Class XII with PCM Graduation in Physics, Mathematics or Chemistry Special Class Railway Apprentices’ Examination, Civil Services Examination
Path 2 Clear Class XII with Science stream Pursue B.Tech for 4 years (any specialization) Combined Engineering Services Examination (CES)
Path 3 Clear Class XII with Any stream Pursue Graduation in Any Stream
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service

Under Civil services Exam


  1. Specialized knowledge. In the current rail-engineering climate, employers can afford to be picky about what they expect from applicants, and they’re seeking a detailed knowledge of design standards, including BS, HA and NR. This offers employers reassurance about cross-disciplinary standards and allows for co-ordinated work by different teams, and you may be able to bring your knowledge up to par by taking a short course in the specific standards you want to work with.
  2. Project managing qualifications. The qualifications in demand at this time appear to be Prince2 and the Association for Project Management’s APMP. These courses are offered through many different institutions, including universities and training companies. This type of qualification can enhance your salary and give you a good chance to move up the ladder, and courses tend to be short and cost effective.
  3. Computer skills. Experience with the programmes used within the rail projects you hope to work on will be an important asset to your application. AutoCAD, Intergraph and Micro Station are all used on the frontline of rail engineering and it could be of great benefit to your career to explore opportunities to become competent in all three.
  4. Big Data expertise. Knowledge and understanding of Big Data is becoming increasingly useful within the engineering industry, and rail engineering is no exception. The potential for Big Data to revolutionize this area is unpredictable at present, but experts believe it to be crucial to the future of all sectors of engineering. Familiarizing yourself with this new concept can be done gently, using charting software, or intensively, via post-graduate programmes, so you can choose the level you wish to engage at.
  5. Experience of Hazop analysis. Hazard and operability study skills are a vital asset if you’re seeking a project-engineering job. This level of specialism relates to risk and hazard perception and you can access short courses via Chris Mee Group, which will increase your employability in certain sectors of rail engineering.


  • Last but not least, the salary structureis also pretty good for railway employees ( 80,000 – 90,000 per month for Class 1 / Group A officers, Rs. 50,000 for Group B officers, Rs. 20,000+ for Group C employees, and Rs. 10,000 – 18,000 for Group D staff) along with other perks like HRA, medical, transport, etc.—-


Indian Railways is among the world’s largest rail network. Indian Railways route length network is spread over 1,23,236 kms, with 13,452 passenger trains and 9,141 freight trains plying 23 million travellers and 3 million tonnes (MT) of freight daily from 7,349 stations. India’s railway network is recognised as one of the largest railway systems in the world under single management.

The railway network is also ideal for long-distance travel and movement of bulk commodities, apart from being an energy efficient and economic mode of conveyance and transport. Indian Railways is the preferred carrier of automobiles in the country.

Government of India has focused on investing in railway infrastructure by making investor-friendly policies. It has moved quickly to enable Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in railways to improve infrastructure for freight and high-speed trains. At present, several domestic and foreign companies are also looking to invest in Indian rail projects.

Market Size

Indian Railways’ revenue increased at a CAGR of 6.20 per cent during FY08-FY19 to US$ 27.13 billion in FY19. Earnings from the passenger business grew at a CAGR of 6.43 per cent during FY07-FY19 to reach US$ 7.55 billion in FY19P. Freight revenue rose at a CAGR of 4.30 per cent during FY08-FY19 to reach US$ 18.20 billion in FY19.

Revenue growth has been strong over the years. Indian Railways’ gross revenue stood at Rs 183,092.74 crore (US$ 26.20 billion) in FY20 (till February 2020). Freight earnings in FY20 (till February 2020) stood at Rs 119,216.11 crore (US$ 17.06 billion). Passenger earnings for Indian Railways was estimated at 51,077.73 crore (US$ 7.31 billion) in FY20 (till February 2020). Freight remains the major revenue earning segment for Railways, accounting for 65.1 per cent of its total revenue in FY20 (till February 2020), followed by the passenger segment.

Passenger traffic was valued at 7.67 billion and freight traffic at 1,105.33 million tonnes in FY20 (till February 2020).

India was among the top 20 exporters of railways globally as of 2017. India’s export of railways has grown at a CAGR of 31.51 per cent during 2010-2018 to US$ 507.90 million. Exports of railways in 2019E stood at US$ 635 million.

Investments/ Developments

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow in Railways Related Components stood at US$ 1,107.60 million from April 2000 to March 2020.

Following are some of the major investments and developments in India’s railways sector:

  • In November 2019, pilot project was launched to study the feasibility of using Railways’ parcel service for e-tail players.
  • In November 2019, Indian Railways entered into Procurement cum Maintenance Agreement with Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL), a joint venture of Indian Railways and France-based Alstom to manufacture 800 electric locomotives for freight service and its associated maintenance.
  • In October 2019, Indian Railway launched One Touch ATVM for fast ticketing at 42 Suburban Stations of Central Railway.
  • Khurja –Bhadan section of eastern corridor in Uttar Pradesh to be formally opened for traffic on October 2, 2019.
  • In July 2019, longest electrified tunnel built between Cherlopalli and Rapuru stations.

Government initiatives

Few recent initiatives taken up by the Government are:

  • As on June 02, 2020, a total of 4,155 Shramik Special trains were operationalised from various states across the country and more than 57 lakh passengers have already reached their home state.
  • As per Union Budget 2020-21, Ministry of Railways have been allocated Rs 72,216 crore (US$ 10.33 billion).
  • In February 2019, Indian Railways decided to launch food packets with QR codes and give live kitchen feed.
  • The speed is been raised to 160 kmph on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes by 2022-23. The passenger trains have got approval to raise 60 per cent increase in average speed.
  • Dedicated Freight Corridor Corp. of India Ltd (DFCCIL) is already building the first two freight corridors – Eastern Freight Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1,856 kms) and Western Freight Corridor from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (1,504 kms) – at a total cost of Rs 81,000 crore (US$ 11.59 billion).
  • The Government is going to come up with a ‘National Rail Plan’ to enable the country to integrate its rail network with other modes of transport and develop a multi-modal transportation network.
  • A ‘New Online Vendor Registration System’ has been launched by Research Designs & Standards Organisation (RDSO), the research arm of Indian Railways, to have digital and transparent systems and procedures.

Road Ahead

Indian Railway network is growing at a healthy rate. In the next five years, Indian railway market will be the third largest, accounting for 10 per cent of the global market. Indian Railways, which is one of the country’s biggest employers, can generate one million jobs, according to Mr Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Railways and Coal.

Indian Railways is targeting to increase its freight traffic to 3.3 billion tonnes by 2030 from 1.1 billion tonnes in 2017.

It is projected that freight traffic via the Dedicated Freight Corridors will increase at a CAGR of 5.4 per cent to 182 MT in 2021–22 from 140 MT in 2016–17.

Note: Conversion rate used in April 2020, Rs 1 = US$ 0.013123

References: Press Releases, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Press information Bureau, Media Reports, Railways Budget 2019-20, Indian Railways

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