HOW MUCH SAFETY ON INDIAN RAILWAYS, Part II: TRAIN-PASSENGER`s FREEDOM FROM INJURIES AND BODILY HARM

More trains and higher speed means more stress on the tracks. A low quality track deteriorates faster than a high quality track. Many routes are of low track-quality.

The most of the network is saturated. And 40% of the routes running at over 100% of line capacity are already over strained. There is a shortage of funds to meet track maintenance and track renewal. Under such circumstances several routes deteriorate faster than they can be maintained or repaired.

In 2014-15 the number of causalities increased with the number of Train-Derailments. This speaks for an increasing backlog in spending for maintenance and renewal.

Tracks have to match the Traffic load they have to carry. If not, they deteriorate under the strain of the traffic load, and it comes to derailments killing and injuring train-passengers.

Increased strain on the track by more trains and higher train-speed has to be counterbalanced by TRACK QUALITY. A low quality track deteriorates faster than a high quality track under given traffic load.

A Railway Track behaves like an elephant. It can tolerate for a longer period ill-treatment and negligence. But suddenly, like an elephant, the track takes revenge and runs berserk throwing trains off the track. In Derailment-Disasters Train-Passengers get killed or injured.

However, the picture is not bright. For either a lack of adequate working capital and manpower, or on account of procedural and administrative bottlenecks and deficiencies, work schedules are lagging behind.

The technical knowledge, competence, designs, specifications an working procedures/manuals/schedules for less derailment prone high quality tracks are at hand in order to bring down the number of killed or injured train-passengers in Derailment-Accidents. However, it lacks in implementations due to unsatisfactory investment-schemes, underfunding, lack of well trained manpower, not enough appropriated heavy track machinery and organisational deficiencies.

Safety will not only be achieved by appeals and circulars of Safety Commissioners or by those strong words after a bad unwanted event of politicians or ministers, who only want to demonstrate their strength.

To bring down the number of killed and injured train-passengers India needs investment-schemes resulting in high CAPITAL INVESTMENT for safety related works. By sweeping structural reforms efficiency has to be improved. More well trained manpower has to be recruited and more modern heavy track machinery for track renewal and track maintenance has to be acquired.

TRAIN-PASSENGER`s FREEDOM FROM INJURY and BODILY HARM oder|orshould rank with highest priority in Investment-Schemes. In cost-benefit evaluations for Capital Investment in Safety related works not only the losses of assets incurred by Railway Accidents, but also the socio-economical losses incurred by killed and injured train-passengers have to be considered.

 

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