West Central Railway
The West Central Railway zone was carved out of the erstwhile Western and Central Railway zones. It was created on 4th July, 2002 with a gazette notification by the Ministry of Railway, and has its headquarters in Jabalpur. Currently, the track length of the division is around 2911 route km, out of which 1328 km is electrified. It caters to 39 districts in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Jabalpur, Kota, Pipariya, Bhopal and Itarsi are important stations functioning under this railway zone. The Mumbai-Howrah route under its jurisdiction forms a significant part of the side and diagonal of the railway golden quadrilateral. In the north-south direction, it has Bhopal and Itarsi junctions for passenger services, along with important freight corridor and branch line sections.
This zone has a fair blend of freight and passenger traffic. Cement is one of the most important items originating freight traffic. It is often loaded in Satna-Rewa cluster or Morak station. Apart from cement, LPG, bauxite, dolomite and food grains are other commodities, which are transferred from one place to another by using railway services under this zone. Approximately 29 million tonnes of goods are transferred by 1280 eight wheeler wagons, generating annual earnings of around INR 1811.85 crore.
Around 376 mail express are operated every day under this zone. In addition to this, West Central Railway also deals with 96 passenger trains. It includes Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Jan Shatabdi as well. More than 109 million passengers travel on various routes of this zone, leading to earnings of around INR 600.45 crore every year. The parcel earnings also add a significant amount and the overall earning of this railway zone totals up to INR 2504 crore.
New Katni and Itarsi Junctions are two primary marshalling yards of the West Central Railway zone. There are also three electric loco sheds, where around 349 electric locomotives are kept. Similarly, 349 diesel locomotives are also kept at marshalling yards to avoid traffic on various routes. In addition to this, there is a coach repair and wagon workshop at Bhopal and Kota, respectively. Passenger coaches and POH of goods wagons are repaired here for the utmost safety of the travellers.
West Central Railways Divisions
There are three main divisions of this zone, namely Kota, Jabalpur and Bhopal.
It used to be a part of the Central Railway Zone but after reorganisation of railways, it was included in the West Central Railway. It monitors operations from Kota Junction railway station – the headquarters of this division.
Jabalpur Junction railway station, often called the Jabalpur main station, is the headquarters of this division. It is an important junction on the Howrah, Mumbai and Allahabad line. Major stations under this division are Bhedaghat, Sihora and Madan Mahal.
A major railway station in India, Bhopal Junction railway station is the headquarters of this division. It is the connecting point to various pilgrim destinations and a confluence point for devotees coming to the Sanchi Stupa from Nepal, China, Japan, Malaysia, and Thailand etc.
The vast network of the West Central Railway zone is dotted with a number of tourist destinations. For instance, Ranthambore, Kanha National Park and the bird sanctuary of Bharatpur are served by this zone. On the other hand, those interested in history and heritage can avail services of this zone to explore Khajuraho, Bhimbetka or Sanchi. As mentioned above, routes of this zone also lead a way to various revered sites like Birla Temple and Maa Sharda Devi Temple. It runs around 472 trains, including some of the best in the country, such as Shatabdi and Rajdhani.