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Railway deaths in India

A video is doing the rounds of social media showing the chaos of daily commuting in Mumbai with people kicking, punching and shoving their way onto already overcrowded rolling stock. What is particularly striking are the crush within the trains and the number of people who are, literally, hanging on by their fingers and toes.

Surely lots must fall out, we thought. And this is what we found in relation to the Mumbai/Bombay commuter network last year

As many as 1,798 people, more than 50 % of the total fatalities, died while they were crossing the tracks. Other reasons were falling from trains (657), hitting the pole (8), slipping through the platform gap (13), electric shock (34), suicides (35), natural death (524) and others (133).

Natural death - the crowded conditions must be difficult for the hale and hearty. For those who are less so, they must be hellish. It's no surprise some die - but more than one a day? Applying a six-day commute (many places work half-day on Saturdays) two people each day die falling out of the train. Who knows how many fall out and don't die. The danger of hanging off the carriage is demonstrated by 8 deaths from "hitting the pole" alongside the track. There are no incidents mentioned of being hit by a train travelling in the opposite direction.



India plans standardised train length

The Indian Railways Board plans to make all trains of a standard 22 carriage length. At present, trains can be 12, 16, 18, 22 or 26.

The idea is that any train that happens to be nearby can be sent to meet any need, rather than trying to find a train of the correct length. It is hoped that this will mean no more short trains at peak times.

The changes will necessitate increasing the length of platforms at many stations and the purchase of rolling stock. So far, there does not appear to be any impact statement on the increased power demand of longer, heavier trains.



Sub-standard track makes Indian rail travel risky

A report says that as many as ten thousand kilometres of railway track in India is potentially unsafe because the ballast (that's the stones that the sleepers and, ultimately, the rails sit on, is only one third of the thickness it should be.



Plan to increase Indian Rail tourism

"In a letter on January 3, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani has asked all zonal railways to promote the brand of rail tourism on select routes.

He has asked them to identify tourist and luxury trains and brand them both on the interior and exterior."



Indian Railways aims to drive out corruption with on-line registration of vendors

“In line with the philosophy of the government to make systems and procedures digital and transparent, the railways has launched new online vendor registration system,” the Railway Ministry said in a statement.