The distribution of railway network depends upon physiographic, economic and administrative factors.
The following are the conditions responsible for uneven distribution pattern of the railway network in India.
- The northern plains have dense network of railways due to extensive level land, agriculturally and industrially productive region and support high density of population which is favourable for the development of railways. However, the presence of large number of rivers requires the construction of bridges across the rivers which poses some difficulties.
- In the hilly regions of the north and the peninsular plateau regions, railways are constructed through narrow gaps, or tunnels.
- The Himalayas region has less network of railways due to rugged terrain, sparse population and lack of economic opportunities.
- In the sandy plains of western Rajasthan, swampy regions of Gujarat, thickly forested regions of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, construction of railways is difficult and expensive.
- Recently, the development of Konkan railway along the western coast has contributed to the movement of goods and passengers through the passes and gaps along the Western Ghats to link the most economic region of India.