Railways minister informed the Parliament on Friday that the number of consequential train accidents (including accidents at Unmanned Level Crossings mainly caused due to negligence of road vehicle users) have come down.
Sharing numbers in Rajya Sabha, the minister said the number decreased from 135 in 2014-15, to 107 in 2015-16 and further to 104 in 2016-17.
In the current year (upto 28th February, 2018) the number of consequential train accidents have further reduced to 70 as compared to 99 in the corresponding period of the previous year.
He added that Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and all possible steps are undertaken on a continual basis to prevent accidents and to enhance safety.
These include timely replacement of over-aged assets, adoption of suitable technologies for upgradation and maintenance of track, rolling stock, signalling and interlocking systems, safety drives, greater emphasis on training of officials and safety inspections at regular intervals to monitor and educate staff for observance of safe practices. Preventive and predictive maintenance of the Railway assets is undertaken to ensure safe train operation.
Safety devices/systems being used to prevent accidents include Electronic Interlocking, track circuiting, provision of Block Proving Axle Counters, Colour Light LED Signals, Train Protection and Warning System, Vigilance Control Device, Fog Pass Device, usage of 52 kg/60 kg, 90 or higher UTS rails and Pre-stressed Concrete Sleepers, use of Ultrasonic Flaw Detection of rails and welds at predefined periodicity to detect internal flaws in rails/welds. Electronic monitoring of track geometry is carried out to detect defects and plan maintenance. Steel Channel Sleepers on girder bridges is being used while carrying out primary track renewals.
Further, it has been decided to lay Thick webs switches, Weldable Cast MaganeseSteel crossings on identified routes. Progressive use of LinkeHofmann Busch Coaches, use of Centre Buffer Couplers with Integral Coach Factory Coaches, etc.
He added that the Railway tracks are replaced on age cum condition basis through track renewal works which is an ongoing process.
Other measures include training of loco pilots and other safety category staff, improvement of their working conditions including proper rest and periodic medical examination etc. Besides, patrolling of tracks, footplate inspections and safety reviews at various levels, etc. are regularly conducted to continuously monitor and improve safety aspects of the Indian Railways.