Indian Railways constitute the major national means of transport.
Coal is the most dominating commodity transported by the railways. Railways promoted industrial growth of the coal starved areas.
Railways help to increase industrial production by carrying raw materials to industrial centres.
Railways also help in distribution of semi-finished and finished products like pig-iron and steel which in turn promote secondary industries.
Railways also help in promoting exports of commodities like iron-ore, cement and food grains to earn foreign exchange.
Railways promote building activity all over the country by carrying cement over long distances.
Railways help in boosting agricultural production by carrying huge amounts of fertilisers from one region to another.
Railways carry mineral oil, an industrial input, from port cities and refineries to the interior parts of the country.