The Indian Railways network stretches across 64,000 KM, fourth largest in the world after the US, Russia and China. This fact makes me proud, but what follows are facts that can make any Indian’s head hang in shame.
- More than 1,000 accidents since 2004 alone.
- In 2008-09, the number of accidents declined to 177, down from 320 in 2003-04, and a shocking figure of 2,000 in 1960-61. Bet this was the year when they tried running the trains on the fields rather than the tracks.
- In 2008-09, over 200 people died in railway accidents. This year has already seen 200 dead, wonder what the count be at year-end.
- The railway safety fund has $3.6bn (£2.4bn) to make trains safer for the millions who use the rail network every year. Little surprised that most railway officials have palatial houses and luxury cars at their disposal.
- Nearly 17,000 unmanned railway crossings across India allow people to walk or drive through them without wasting precious time waiting for the train to pass. So what if every once a while they get hit by a train. Believe it or not, these have amount to over a third of all railway accidents since 2004.
I can write more, but what is the point? Accidents are not going to end anytime soon.
Forgive me for my pessimist views, but hey, this is what history has taught me. Just when we are about to forget about one train accident, another one happens.