Indian Railways, the transport lifeline of the country, has not made rapid progress, feels E Sreedharan. Called the 'Metro Man' for his excellent work on Delhi Metro, Elattuvalappil Sreedharan recently said that Indian Railways is still 20 years behind rail networks of advanced nations. In an interview to HT, E Sreedharan cited several parameters on which Indian Railways is still doing poorly - punctuality and safety the top among them. According to him, other than the installation of bio-toilets in several train coaches of Indian Railways, there has been no technical upgradation. One of the most important factors - speed has taken a back step, he feels. He also emphasized the fact that the average speed of most prestigious trains has come down. The 'Metro Man' is of the view that the bullet train services will only cater to the elite community. India needs is a modern, clean, safe as well as fast railway system, he said in the interview. According to him, as bullet train services are highly expensive, they are beyond the reach of ordinary people. Sreedharan believes that while punctuality has officially been stated at 70%, the actual figure would be around 50%. The punctuality performance recorded by the national transporter in 2017-18 was the worst, with almost 30 per cent of the trains running late, in comparison to the two financial years before that. During April 2017-March 2018, the punctuality of mail, as well as express trains, was 71.39 per cent as compared to its previous year's 76.69 per cent, which marked a deterioration of 5.30 per cent. During the same period in 2015-2016, 77.44 per cent trains ran on time. However, Indian Railways has claimed that maintenance work was the reason behind the poor punctuality performance of trains. Another indicator that E Sreedharan noted in the interview was that the accident record of Indian Railways has not improved as nearly 20,000 lives are lost on railway tracks every year. It was reported that Indian Railways has eliminated all unmanned level crossings from four zones last month.