Indian Railway – an ailing old man

Indian Railways is the oldest mode of transport available in India. It was first introduced in the year 1853. So in its more than 150 year existence how much has really changed. The progress of Indian railways has occured in snail’s pace. Modernisation of railways is long overdue.

The problems and challenges doged dy the Indian railways are aplenty. First and foremost the trains are never on time. In extreme cases they are late by over a day. Then the food too can sometimes be horrible. But the worst of them all is its toilets. It is for this reason that I hate travelling by rail. I can’t even imagine how the railways can still use the open toilets it has. How come we have not changed it even at this age when we are talking of modernisation and development.

The speed of the trains are also unbelievably slow. When everything in this world is trying to move faster and faster the Indian Railway seem to be frozen and detached from the rest.  When US,Europe,Japan are moving in bullet trains we are still in the electric train age that too in just one third of the entire rail network. The diesel locomotives of Indian railways are the modern bullock carts. The fastest trains in India Rajadhani and Duranto travel at 140 km/h are old laggards compared to the bullet trains that can touch speeds above 450 km/h. The distance Rajadhani covers in 17 hours between Kolkata and Delhi can be covered by just 6 hours in bullet trains.

The safety of railways is a major concern. With derailment happening in some place or the other the rail traffic is risky business. The signaling system used dates back to pre independence era. Then people travelling on roof tops of trains and clinging on the doors are also safety risks. This happens due to the non availability of seats. It is indeed very difficult to find seats in trains even if the bookings start before three months. This tends to show that more trains are required for carrying such a large Indian population. The fares in the railways are the lowest which is why it is the most preferred mode of transport for the middle class and the poor. You won’t find even an inch of space in general unreserved compartments especially in the Delhi-Kolkata route.

For Indian Railways to survive we need some nouveau and bright ideas. But more importantly a political will for the projects to get implemented. Railways which is under tremendous loss needs to be revived. Dinesh Trivedi who had some vision for the railways has been shown the back door. Now the future of railways is in the hands of political parties who are trying to play politics over it. But if we want to boast ourselves to be developed country this is not the condition the railway should be in. For aam aadmi the flight rates are really high. But when you see the pathetic conditions of the Indian Railway I am very much ready to give that extra money for a pleasant journey.



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