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Loss of life in Train related accidents

By on March 17, 2014

Indian Railways present a very encouraging statistic of train accidents showing a downward trend right from 1960-61. Loss of life arising out of an accident is a factor of probability and does not show any pattern. Thither is a sigh of relief when there is no causality in any major or minor accident because there is always aversion of the loss of life due to the GOD grace. It is the reduction in number of consequential train accidents that reduce the probability of loss of life of passenger travelling inside the train. The consequential train accidents have decreased from 2131 in 1960-61 to 473 in 2000-01 and slowly progressed to 131 in 2011-12. This is a major achievement and come through improvement in infrastructure of track, signalling, rolling stock and communication, etc. This is how the statistics of the earlier period look likeRailway Accident Data

Railway Accident Data1

What it hides

  1. Indian Railways accounts responsibility of those persons who are bonafide passenger and holds travelling ticket at the time of the incidence. It means it works for the safe journey of passengers sitting inside the coach.
  2. It neglects to acknowledge the havoc it motion creates to the individuals who are not on board such as unauthorized person on the path, railway staff working near the track and occupants of road vehicle hit by the string at the unmanned level crossing.
  3. It is estimated by High Level Safety Committee headed by Dr. Anil Kakodka that the act of persons hit by train while passing over tracks or falling off the train is of the order of 15000 per year of which 50% is in the Mumbai Suburban area alone. The committee adversely recorded in his report that “Reluctance of Indian Railways to own these casualties which don’t fall under the purview of train accidents but nevertheless accident on account of train can be no means ignored. No civilised society can accept such massacres on their Railway network. “
37 killed after Rajya Rana Express train runs through crowd at crowded station in Dhamara Ghat, Bihar, India - 19 Aug 2013

Massacre caused by run through train in Bihar

Accident at Level Crossing Gate


  1. IR has been watching indiscipline of unauthorized track crossing every day, but has anything done to control this threat. Even railwayman does every moment. IR has failed to imbibe discipline. Simple warning such as “Trespassers will be prosecuted” is not in force. Has IR used the Indian Railway Act as a deterrent to stop this action? If not, then IR will be on receiving end one day when some Public Interest Litigation is filed.
  2. As bad is the loss of railwayman while working on track with 1600 causality and 8700 injured from 2007-08 till Oct. 2011 as per the position collected from different Railways by the commission. The actual position can still be worse. This comes to 50 causality and 275 injuries per year of railway man alone. There are definite safety rules for every railway staff when working near Railway track. Breaking of these rules happens day-in day-out without any deterrent action.
  3. Indian Railways compares the loss of life data very favorably with other world railways. But developed Railways accounts all losses of life, including hits by train. The action plan to arrest such incidence begins only when you had some target to hit. IR should compare the statistics of loss of life on an equal platform.
  4. There is no count of the loss of animals on Railway track including elephants. Owing to the problem of elephant mortality due to train hits in Assam, the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) decided to conduct a study in Assam to understand the issue in detail, to suggest mitigation measures and assist the local administration in solving the problem.   http://www.wti.org.in/oldsite/publications/deadly-tracks.pdf

Elephent run over by train

Loss of life on road

It includes all deaths of persons inside the vehicle as well as pedestrian and two wheelers. Road safety includes safety of those inside the vehicle as well as those who are outside. That actually makes a lot of sense. The investment for road safety involves all users. Why Indian Railways shall not follow the same norms and accepts responsibility for loss of life?  The central road fund is created to finance schemes of improving safety on the road. This also finances IR for building ROBs to eliminate level interface of road and rail. This fund is also utilized for building over and underpass for pedestrians.

Is it not fair to use this fund for building under or over pass for the pedestrian crossing railway track?

A safety fund to minimize massacre on the railroad

There are 15000 deaths on rail road of trespassers as well as of those falling off the train. Fencing of track and auto door closure of the passenger vehicle is only the two solutions for to arrest this menace. Both these actions are investment intensive as well as time. But a beginning has to be made. Why not start with the provision of fencing near thickly populated location where trespassing is very common. One has to understand that fencing is the pre-requisite for high speed travel. If this is done, it will benefit initiation for speeds of 160 Kmph.

Indian Railways is working out plans to curb this menance with what ever resrouces are there at their disposal. Tenders have been finalished to provide escalators, FOB, ramps and sky walk to ease the congestion and direct landing at the platform. http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Deterrent Action

Trespassers will be prosecuted is the general warning for unauthorized persons on Railway track. Has ever this warning used as a deterrent? At least a beginning should be made. It will be wise for the Railways to act with a determined action plan and not to wait any more committee in future to use such harsh words of ‘massacre on railway track’ or public interest litigation.

Railway staff is equally responsible and do not bother and prefer taking risk by taking short cuts. Mumbai mirror writes on the subject. Read more http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Railways-unable-to-put-own-house-in-order/articleshow/32320631.cms



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