Indian Railways sets new safety record! The national transporter that has for years now faced criticism over safety, has set a new record of fewer than 100 accidents in the financial year 2018-2018. According to an IE report, Indian Railways has for the first time in 35 years seen fewer than 100 accidents in a financial year. According to the report 73 railway accidents were recorded till March 30 of the financial year that has just ended. That’s a 29 per cent reduction from the 104 accidents that were reported in 2016-2017.
It was only in the year 1968-1969 that the number of accidents in Indian Railways fell to triple digit figures of 908. Before, it was a norm for Indian Railways to report over 1000 accidents per year. According to Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, there is a strong emphasis on safety. Lohani also points to a voluntary reporting system which gives every railway employee the power to anonymously report any lapse in safety on Indian Railways.
Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways says that it is according highest priority to safety. In Budget 2018, it was announced that a massive Rs 7,267 crore will be allocated to Indian Railways in 2018-2019 for safety. This includes work on repair, maintenance and track inspection. This a huge bump up from the Rs 1,933 crore that had been allocated in 2017-2018. Th focus is on multiple aspects – from upgrading existing tracks, eliminating unmanned level crossings to introducing a world-class signalling system and replacing traditional ICF coaches with LHB ones that have superior anti-climbing features. Some of the safety measures listed out by Indian Railways include vigilance control devices, electronic interlocking, train protection and warning system and fog pass devices.
Indian Railways has decided to use the latest technology for track maintenance. At an estimated cost of Rs 2,726 crore, ultrasonic flaw detection systems, rail grinding machines, ballast regulating machines and automatic track geometry-cum-video inspection systems will be bought by Indian Railways for this purpose. Aldo, from June 2018 onwards only those railway coaches that have built-in anti-collision devices – that is the LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) ones.