Located on the Howrah-Mumbai arm of the golden quadrilateral of the Indian Railways, Chakradharpur Division plays a vital role on the South Eastern Railway. Strategically situated in the heart of Chota Nagpur plateau, Chakradharpur Division serves the mineral and industrially rich areas of jharkhand and Orissa. It is spread over East and West Singhbhum, Saraikela-Kharsawan, Simdega of Jharkhandand Jharsuguda, Keonjhar,Sundargarh and Mayurbhanj districts of Orissa. Through this Division lies the main corridor of freight and passenger traffic between Eastern and Western parts of the country. This region is aptly called the Heart of South Eastern Railway. The development of the rail network in the area presently forming Chakradharpur Division dates back to the original of Bengal-Nagpur Railway, the precursor of South Eastern Railway. The first rail line in the area serving Chakradharpur Division was laid way back in 1890. The first rail line on Chakradharpur Division was opened on 22nd January 1890 with laying of 72.25 miles long Purulia-Chakradharpur rail line. The rail network on the main trunk route passing through Chakradharpur Division was completed on 18th February 1891 when Goilkera-Jharsuguda section was opened. With the opening of Goilkera-Jharsuguda section the main line route of Bengal Nagpur was completed and the official function for the opening ceremony of main line from Asansol to Nagpur, presided by the Viceroy of India, Lord Lansdowne was held at Chakradharpur station on 3rd March 1891. Presently Chakradharpur Division extends over a length of 741.705 route Kms, of which 335.798 route Kms are located over the State of Jharkhand and 405.907 kms. Over the State of Orissa. The main line portion of the Division extends over the Salgajhari-Jharsuguda portion covering a distance of 270.38 kms. In addition to the main line the Division has a large number of branch lines covering Tatanagar-Badampahar, Gamharia-Kandra-Chandil, Sini-Kandra, Rajkharswan-Banspani, Padapahar-Bolani-Barbil, Bondamunda-Bimlagarh, Barsuan-Kiriburu and Rourkela-Birmitrapur sections. The importance of the route covered by the Division stems from the fact that it serves 6 major steel plants located in the region viz. Rourkela Steel Plant, Bhilai Steel Plant, Durgapur Steel plant, Bokaro steel plant, TATA Iron & Steel Company at Jamshedpur and Indian Iron & Steel Company at Burnpur. In addition, it also serves the cement belt of Bilaspur Division and the heavy traffic in general merchandise on Howrah-Mumbai trunk route. The Division covers some of the most difficult and picturesque terrains of South Eastern Railway passing through the verdant forest of Saranda including the two Saranda tunnels on the main line between Mahadevsal and Posoita stations. The Division loads bulk requirement of iron and manganese ores, dolomite, limestone and other raw-materials for all major steel plants of the country. Two steel plants Rourkela steel plant and TISCO at Jamshedpur are located within the Division. Besides, it serves the Sponge Iron Plant at Manikui and other ancillary industries spread around the two plants as well as the cement factories located at Jhinkpani, Rajgangpur, Tatanagar, Dhutra and mini cement plants around Rourkela. The main commodities loaded on the Division comprise raw material for steel plants, cement and other general merchandise.
CHAKRADHARPUR Division has 91 stations . There are two major Electric Loco Sheds one at Tata and the other at Bondamunda serving not only the Chakradharpur Division but also other divisions of the S.E.Railways. The major part of the division is electrified. In fact, the division was the pioneer in introducing of 25 KV-AC traction over Indian Railways. The branch line between Rajkharswan and Dongoaposi was amongst one of the first routes on the Indian Railways to be electrified with 25 KV-AC traction in August 1960. Except for the small branch line between Tatanagar and Badampahar, the entire Division is having electric traction.
Recently, a large number of works have been completed to provide better amenities to the passengers including raising of platform level at Chakradharpur, extension of platform shelter at Rourkela, Jharsuguda stations and five other stations on the branch line, provision of foot-over bridges at seven stations, and provision of STD booth at Rourkela, Tata, Chakradharpur, and Jhasuguda stations. Computerized reservation facilities are available at Tatanagar,Chakradharpur,Rourkela, Rajgangpur, Jharsuguda, SINI, Adityapur and Chaibasa. The Division extended Reservation Center in the Steel township at Rourkela ,Sakchi, Telco & Bistupur. Interactive Voice Response System(IVRS) is introduced at Tata, Rourkela,Jharsuguda and Chakradharpur. This will facilitate quicker and more reliable enquiry system at these stations. The Division also has extended platform shelters at various stations on the Division and also provide foot-over bridges at other stations.
The strength of staff on the Division is more then 22000 out of which 132 are on the Gazetted cadre and balance are in the non-gazetted category. Having such a large workforce, the Division has been paying special attention towards welfare of the staff and their wards. As good teaching institutions are not available in the areas served by the Division, being located in the backward areas of the states, Railways also run schools managed by themselves. As the Division is served by population hailing from States of Jharkhand, Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, speaking different languages, the schools on the Division impart education through English, Hindi, Oriya, Bengali and Telgu mediums. For imparting quality education in Computer and Information Technology, computer classes are being run at railway schools.
In the area of sports and games, the Division has been paying special attention. Regular sports and games activities including the prestigious annual Steel Express Football tournaments are being arranged. Top ranking teams from all over the country participate in the foot ball tournament. With a view to groom young children into chess champions, the division is running a Chess Academy at Chakradharpur where coaching is imparted to young children to develop them into International Masters and Grand Masters. Through the efforts of Chess Academy, Railway children have made a mark at not only State/National levels but also in international rankings.
The tradition of sports and games on the Division goes back to the past. It has the proud distinction of producing India's former Olympic Hockey Captain Leslie Cladius from amongst the wards of the Railway employee. Presently two of the Division athletes; Sanjay Gond and Savita Kumari have made name for this Division in the field of athletes at the national level. With a view to promote spirit of camaraderie and provide facilities, the division opened a Kalyan Mandap (Community Center) at Chakradharpur .
The Railway men of Chakradharpur- past as well as present, have made significant contribution in the field of literature. With a sense of pride, the Chakradharpur Division recalls its association with the famous Bengali novelist Bimal Mitra, whom the Division nurtured in his formative years when he was working in the Chakradharpur Division in the 1940s in the Control Organisation. Sri Mitra achieved immortal place in the field of literature by his famous novel Sahib-Bibi-Gulam and other works such as Kori Diye Kinlaam, Begum Mary Bishwas, Assam Hazir etc. One of his novelettes Char Chokher Khela is based on the lives of the Anglo-Indian population of Chakradharpur railway colony.
During the recent times several railway men have distinguished themselves in the field of Bengali literature. Prominent, among them is Shri Anil Gorai working in the microwave organisation of the Division who has penned more than a dozen books of novels and short stories. In 1991 Shri Gorai was honored with the "Sanskrit Samman" conferred on him by the then President of India. He has also been honored with Sopan Sahitya Puraskar, Michael Madhusudan Dutt Academy Award, & Tarashankar Smaiti Sahitya Puraskar. Among other Railwaymen, Shri Goutam Roy working in the operating department of the Division has three published books of short stories to his credit and also edits a quarterly Bengali literary journal called "Singhbhum Sahitya". Shri Prasad Basu, working in the DRM's Secretariat of the Division, has also published one book on Bengali literary magazine called "Jaldag". Shri Amulya Koyal working in the Accounts department has published one book of short stories and edits a quarterly literary journal called "Pahar Toli". Shri G.Ram Narayana working in the electrical department of the Division is also an author of repute, writing Telegu short stories and Hindi plays