India in Data

Indian Railway Network

This plot went viral on the r/India subreddit. No base map is used. The track LineStrings are plotted as-is and a map of India starts to appear.

The data is from Geofabrik’s OSM extracts. We obtained the railway shapefiles and plotted them as-is (source code in the observable notebooks below).

Railway Tracks of India

The data seems complete but there are a few mis-annotations like the metro networks of Bangalore and Delhi which technically are different networks.

To identify underserved bits of the country, we can just plot this over raster tiles of India. Here is the resulting map.

India Railway Network Overlaid on Raster

The immediate next question is what are the least served bits of India. The sparsity of a rail network in a region depends on the population density, the terrain (mountains make things difficult), and geopolitical situations (terrorism). Here are some of the key sparse areas in the map.

Areas of sparse rail coverage

In clockwise order:

  • Srinagar - The capital of India’s northernmost state is not connected to the rail network.
  • The North-East and Easternmost Parts - These are a new focus area for the railways and possibly within the next few years they will be linked.
  • Rajasthan - Desert
  • Himalayan Belt - Mountains
  • Northern Telanga and Odisha - Forest and volatile political situation

Data and Source Code

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