Passenger safety is at the forefront of the Indian Railways’ (IR’s) agenda. To upgrade safety standards for the more than 13,000 passenger trains which ply daily on its 67,000-km-long network, the transporter is going for changes in the configuration of railway tracks. This is over and above the plan to fully mechanise the process of inspection and maintenance of tracks on the trunk route by 2020 and the entire network by 2024.
Even as railway accidents have been an issue of grave concern in recent years, the fact that 56% of the 659 train accidents of the last five years have occurred due to derailment has heightened focus on systemic defects relating to railway tracks. This was borne out in 2017-18 when 4,405 km of track renewal and better maintenance saw the number of accidents fall to 73, the lowest in IR’s history. Read more