[Answered] Analyze the persistent safety issues in Indian Railways despite numerous improvement plans over the past two decades. [250 words]

Introduction: Brief contextual introduction

Body: Highlight the main issues in Indian railways related to safety

Conclusion: Way forward

The recent collision that occurred in West Bengal has once again raised safety issues in Indian Railways highlighting the need for a strong railway system that can compete with road and air transport to serve the needs of the people and economy.


  • Aging Infrastructure: Much of the infrastructure, built in the 19th and 20th centuries, struggles to handle the ever-increasing traffic and hasn’t been fully modernized to meet contemporary safety standards.
  • Track Defects: Rail fractures due to wear and tear or inherent defects significantly contribute to derailments, a major accident type.
  • Overcrowded Network: The Indian Railways network is one of the busiest in the world, with heavy passenger and freight traffic leading to congestion. This overcrowding increases the risk of accidents and limits the time available for maintenance and upgrades.
  • Insufficient Maintenance: Regular and timely maintenance is often hampered by a lack of resources and the sheer scale of the network. Deferred maintenance leads to deterioration of infrastructure, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Bureaucratic Inefficiency: The large, bureaucratic structure of Indian Railways often leads to delays in decision-making and implementation of safety measures. Layers of approval and red tape hinder the swift execution of improvement plans.
  • Funding Shortages: Indian Railways often faces financial constraints, limiting its ability to invest in necessary safety upgrades and maintenance. Budget allocations for safety improvements are frequently insufficient.


The persistent safety issues in Indian Railways are multifaceted, involving systemic, infrastructural, technological, operational, and financial dimensions. Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive, sustained, and well-funded effort, along with a shift in organizational culture to prioritize safety. Long-term planning, political will, and a commitment to modernization and maintenance are essential to improving the safety of India’s railway network.

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