The recent increased spate of killed and injured Train Passenger in unwanted nasty Train Disasters in India is alarming.
A German Safety Expert recently stated that he differently knows none country around the globe than India, from where so many nasty Railway Accidents with such high mortality rates could be reported.
An underlying factor of the causeway to Derailment-Disasters of high mortality rates is zhe insufficient track quality on many routes
RISK is the product of probability that an incident will occur, the impact that it will have and the harm it produces.
In traffic environment, Risk cannot be reduced to ZERO. There is nothing in this technical world around the globe, which might be safe to fail. The “ZERO ATTITUDE” is illusory. It is not possible to bring the likelihood of the occurrence of unwanted bad incidents to zero. In a balanced way, the likelihood of bad incidents should be reduced, impacts of the incidents should be mitigated, and the harm, the incidents produce, should be damped as far as possible.
About 40 to 42% of the Train Accidents in India are associated with the elements of Human Error, Fallibility, Malfunction, Laps and Slips. And about 46 % of the Train Accidents are associated with Train-Derailments, latter mostly due to in-service failures of rolling stocks and track-components.
The RISK of fatal Train-Derailments on Indian Railways is unacceptable high!
The impact and produced harm of the prevailing risky conditions, of a far reaching history, – the present high rate of killed and injured Train-Passengers in unwanted nasty Train Accidents/Disasters – are not acceptable!
The Ultimate Goal for IR should be to bring down as far as possible the rate of killed and injured train-passengers in Train-Disasters.
In the last decades, India has squeezed increasing capacity out of the rail network without answering the increased strain and stress on the rail-roads with adequate increase of capital investment in track repairs, maintenance, strengthening, upgrading, rectifying and renewal. The unbalance or mis-match between traffic-load and investments has resulted in increasing in-service failures of track-components and hence resulted in increased risks of nasty and unwanted derailment-disasters with high mortality rates.
The UNDERFUNDING is a PREVAILING LATENT UNSAFE CONDITION or LATENT FAILURE within the ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEM INDIAN RAILWAYS (see J. Reason Doctrines), from where the fatal derailment-disasters arise, or which promote/produce the unwanted and nasty derailment-disasters with high mortality rates. In the light of the James Reason doctrines, fatal derailment-disasters are “ACCIDENTS IN WAITING”.
Hence, the recent fatal DERAILMENT-DISASTERS are the outcome of ORGANIZATIONAL FAILURES, for which the Government and the Management are responsible. According James Reason, Safety Management is essentially an organizational control problem.
Even today the political leadership and organizational management is much more focused on pushing faster and more luxury trains on the current rail grid than to look on the quality and capacity of the rail tracks.
The spate of recent DERAILMENT-DISASTERS indicates, that the technical organisation INDIAN RAILWAYS has failed to keep all its rail-tracks on a high quality level matching with the increasing traffic load they have to carry, and hence with the increasing stress and strain the traffic load exerts. According the metaphors of James Reason the mischief’s and unhappy endings have to be categorised therefore as ORGANIZATIONAL ACCIDENTS (ORGAX).
A successful drive to improve operational Safety through technological upgrades in order to enhance safety and minimize risk demands massive Capital Investment Schemes with long-term certainty. This has to be on the top agenda.
The priority for this Ultimate Goal should rank higher than the deployment of High-Speed on dedicated routes or Semi High-Speed in combination with an increase of axle-load under a mixed traffic-regime/scheme on selected routes of conventional infrastructure.
The Risk-Balance Model renders in Railways a strategy to manage Safety and Risks on an acceptable level as low as reasonably.
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RISK BALANCE MODEL