Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Indian Railways: Travel at your own risk
Marya Shakil , CNN-IBN
July 26, 2010
New Delhi: Not just the anti-collision devices, there seems to be a problem with the complete safety system of the Indian railways. CNN-IBN has details of the safety officers meeting that reveals shocking details of the deteriorating infrastructure including the welding on tracks that can cause derailments.
Every time there is an accident, questions are being raised on the role of the driver. But Railway ministry figures reveal that human error has accounted for half of the train accidents in last 10 years and the railways have done precious little to reduce this over dependence on human judgement.
Chief Safety Officers of Zonal Railway, in a meeting with top railway officials in January 2009, raised serious concerns over railway safety. The tracks that we travel on have serious welding failures that could lead to derailments. Even coaches across Railway zones need lots of repair. Replacement of old signal systems with new ones that reduce human error is not happening.

Safety officers told the meeting that in one instance the signal had gone blank as there was no power back up when a Rajadhani express crossed. Officers also raised a red flag on the practice of hiding failures. The meeting was held after eight years.
A considerable delay of more than six hours is seen even in reporting accidents. Crucial time, that can save lives, are wasted by railwaymen, a fact noted by the South Eastern and Eastern Railways where two of the biggest tragedies of recent times happened -- the Gyaneshwari derailment and the collision at Sainthia.

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