Does the Andhra Train Accident Confirm Trivedi’s Fears?

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by H.A., May 22, 2012.

  1. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    “Everybody was telling me that if you don’t increase the fares you are going to turn the railway coaches into coffins,” Dinesh Trivedi, former railways minister, told India Ink in March, shortly after he was fired for proposing higher passenger fares in an effort to modernize and increase the safety of Indian railways.

    Exactly two months later, have his fears been realized? Sleeping passengers were rattled awake in the early hours of Tuesday when their train bound for Bangalore in southern India slammed into the back of a stationary freight train, crumpling the front coaches and killing at least 14 people.

    The passenger train, 16591 Hubli Bangalore Hampi Express, rammed the freight train at 3:25 a.m. at Penukonda, in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, about 400 kilometers, or 250 miles, south of Hyderabad. The accident also injured 35, nine critically.

    Television footage from the site of the crash showed rescue workers pulling survivors from mangled rail cars.

    Railway officials say that the accident appears to have occurred because the passenger train ran through the red stop signal but that further investigation is under way.

    The first two of the three coaches were derailed, with the first car, which was mostly filled with luggage, catching fire. Most of the injured passengers were poor migrant workers who were traveling in the other coach.

    Anil Saxena, a Railways Ministry spokesman, said that the injured were taken to local hospitals and that those who were unharmed were put on other trains and buses to proceed to their destination. He added that rescue operations concluded at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, although cranes continued to remove debris off the tracks through the afternoon.

    Mr. Saxena said that the driver of the passenger train survived the crash.

    India’s extensive railway network is a transportation lifeline, carrying seven billion passengers a year, often at very low fares. The railway system, which covers some 65,000 kilometers, or 40,000 miles, operates almost 10,000 trains a day and is the country’s largest employer, with more than a million employees.

    But the railways are also notorious for its deadly accidents, which routinely occur. In July 2011, more than 100 people were injured and dozens killed when a train derailed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. In 2010, at least 150 people died after a train accident in West Bengal.

    Yet the railways remain largely decrepit and unsafe, with some parts of the system 150 years old. Many analysts say this is because the railways remain a populist issue with politicians, who refuse to increase fares despite the need for investment in repairing tracks and adding safety features.

    For the last nine years, for instance, no minister has dared to increase passenger ticket prices. When Mr. Trivedi attempted to do so earlier this year, his proposal was immediately shot down by Mamata Banerjee, the West Bengal chief minister, a former railway minister herself and a heavyweight in the federal government’s ruling coalition. Shortly afterward, she dismissed Mr. Trivedi.

    The current railway minister, Mukul Roy, who was on his way to the site of Tuesday’s accident, announced a compensation of 500,000 rupees to the relatives of those killed by the crash. Those with serious injuries would get about 100,000 rupees and those with “ordinary” injuries would get 50,000 rupees, Mr. Saxena, the railway spokesman said.

    Does the Andhra Train Accident Confirm Trivedi's Fears? - NYTimes.com
     
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  3. devgupt

    devgupt Regular Member

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    The primary job of railways is to take people from one place to another - alive.
    Drill this sense into the ministers.
    Even after the incident , the minister made no statement regarding enhancing safety steps.
     
  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Cannot blame the railways at all. The fares have not been increased in the last 8 budgets. Too bad, people will not vote if fares are raised. It is unfortunate accidents happen. I am not sure I can be any further sympathetic to the electorate, who are also victims in such cases, of course, with exceptions. It is a self heralded nemesis.
     
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  5. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Without knowing the actual cause of the rail crash people start criticizing everything, from railway fares to what not. Isn't it fair to first find the cause of the accident.

    Also, the railways were developed as transportation purpose for the economically lower class of people, all this talk of increasing the fare and shutting the doors to the suffering Economic lower class isn't fair.

    Thirdly there are numerous ways in which rail safety can be obtained, without high costs. College students come out with innovative ways to enhance rail safety, why can't the government look into it ?
     
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  6. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Ok then, if you think raising the fares isn't fair, then so be it.

    Keep the fares low, and Indian Railways will end up broke and defunct like Air India, and before that, a few thousands would be dead in train accidents.

    Just find out the cost of travelling by bus from one city to another, and compare with that of the train, do the math, and use your common sense.
     
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  7. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    I very well know the fares.

    You should also look at the PEOPLE who travel in the trains before stating the hike in travel prices. There so many from the not so affluent class who can't afford a steep hike in rail prices
     
  8. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    True, many cannot afford expensive fares. They might as well sit at home and visit the nearest big town only once in a while, and not beyond.

    I'd rather people were sitting at home, alive, than traveling on cheap fares, and ending up dead.
     
  9. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    For which there are numerous innovative ways that come by once in a awhile, why not the govt look into such things?
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Read this report:


     
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  11. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    That was a starter.

    Train alert systems that could detect and warn of a stopped train could be another option.
     
  12. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Such as?

    How would you substitute gang-men who walk the tracks and check for damages, wear, tear, sabotage, etc.? How would you substitute painting and repairing bridges? How will you substitute running more trains in less available infrastructure? How will you install safety systems when there is no money with the railways and they are not allowed to generate revenue through fares?
     
  13. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Your answer: A simple SCADA system will do, it doesn't require over the top equipment. SCADA is used in power transmission nowadays. A similar low cost system can be used for monitoring the movement of trains.

    Not to forget the metro's of foreign countries are monitored in such a way.
     
  14. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Can you tell us more about the system and how it works?
     
  15. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

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    Not right now.

    Running short of time.
     
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Isn't there that train sngle bogie packed with electronics that goes over the rails and detects cracks and weakness in the rails?

    Automated diagnostic

    http://www.railway-technology.com/contractors/track/infotrans-rpc/infotrans-rpc2.html
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
  17. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Yes Sir, there are lots of technologies that can detect, and in some cases, perform better than humans. These alternatives are not cheap. It still needs money. If the railways do not get the money, there won't be such things.

    Now, there are two ways. Either the government gives more money to the Railway Ministry, whereby they will realize this extra cost through taxes, or allow the Railways to raise the fares, so that only those traveling pay for all these upgrades.

    Money ain't raining from the heavens.
     
  18. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I agree with you.

    I am merely speaking about that train I see whenever I leave Howrah that is standing in the L:iluah yard which is supposed to be for track inspection.

    I have also seen the manual manner in which it is checked by khalasis pushing that 'cart' with a chap sitting on it with a red flag.

    The railway is also overstaffed leading to inefficiency.
     
  19. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Yes, indeed.

    I don't think so. I think the Railways are understaffed and over-stressed.

    In the absence of advanced collision prevention mechanisms, automatic signalling, presence of a plethora of unmanned level crossing, the Railways are seriously understaffed. If there was a drastic investment and overhaul of the entire system, including fencing off of tracks and Railway property and prevention of theft and trespassing, then we could possibly cut down on the workforce.

    Secondly, we need to revamp infrastructure. If there is a signal cabin and too many trains are being run on only two tracks, with only two sidings, then increasing the number of employees in the signal cabin will not reduce stress. What we need in that case is another two tracks parallel to the existing two tracks. Just an example.
     
  20. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    I seriously don't understand that how a person like Lalu (who couldn't run his state properly) could turn around Railways with minimal fire hike, a feat that Mamata or any other minister were unable to achieve.

    The problem is not with fare hike but with the expenditure. The money has to be spent in the right places.

    The anti train collision system is being discussed for the past 5 or so years however never implemented, if it would have been implemented then accident like these could be avoided, which 99 % of the time happen due to human error.
     
  21. H.A.

    H.A. Senior Member Senior Member

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    The actual cause: The driver overlooked a red signal.
     

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