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The Indian Railway Conference Association came into existence in the year 1902. AT that time railway network in India consisted of 19 privately owned separate railways systems covering a total of 8,475 miles. Each company had formulated its own rules and regulations regarding charging, booking and carriage of Passengers and Goods. Due to multiplicity of rules the user was very much inconvenienced. With a view to overcome the difficulties in regard to different rules and regulations and to frame rules regarding movement of wagons of one railway system over the other, the Indian Railway Conference Association was formed in the year 1902. Initially the Association was constituted to frame rules and regulations for booking of traffic and interchange of trains between railways, to act as a consultative Committee and as a Board of Arbitration. Subsequently the Committees for prescribing common standards for wagon maintenance and Classification were formed and by 1926 it was decided to have permanent Committees and Technical sections covering all spheres of Railway working under IRCA. The technical Committees consisted of the following:
1. Mechanical Engineering Committee.
2.  Electrical Engineers Committee
3. Civil Engineering Committee
4. Signal Engineering Committee
5. Metallurgical & Chemical Engineering Committee.
Thus between 1926 and 1946 there was practically no aspect of railway working which did not bear the stamp of IRCA.
2.  However, during the Second World War, the major railways, which were under company management, were taken over by the Government and after Independence railways, which previously owned by Indian States were also taken over by the Government. With almost all the railways now belonging to the State and their Management put under one single authority, viz., Railway Board, IRCA was, therefore, re-organized to deal with the reduced functions. After installation of Computers in the Railway Board, the work regarding maintenance of Interchange of BG wagons was transferred to Railway Board in the year 1969. The work relating to MG wagons continues to be dealt with in IRCA.
3.Re-examination about the status of IRCA : After a major chunk of the work of IRCA was taken over by the Railway Board, the question of winding up of IRCA has repeatedly come up for consideration before the Railway Board and various other forums right from 1947. There is a school of thought that felt that the main function of IRCA viz., co-ordination between the various railways on various matters having been taken over by the Railway Board the IRCA had outlived its utility. From 1947 to 2002 this subject was debated several times and each time ultimate decision was in favour of continuance of the organization, as it was felt that it was serving useful purpose in view of its independent status.
4.Present Status : At present all the Zonal Railways plus Mumbai Port Trust, Kolkata Port Trust, Chennai Port Trust, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Konkan Railways and Pipavav Railway Corporation are parties to the IRCA.
5.The Executive Committee of IRCA consists of General Manager, Northern Railway, who is ex-officio President, IRCA., and General Managers of two State owned Railways and General Manager of one of the non-government Railways.
The present members are :
1. President Shri S.K. Budhlakoti GM/N. Rly.
2. Member Shri M.S. Jayanth, GM/S.C. Rly.
3. Member Shri H.C. Joshi, GM/N.C. Rly.
4. Member Shri P. Venkateshwarlu, Traffic Manager, CPT, Chennai
5. General Secretary Shri R.M.Chhabra