Forum Super Search
Posting Date From:
Posting Date To:
Train Type:
ONLY with Pic/Vid:
Sort by: Date:     Word Count:     Popularity:     
Public:    Pvt: Monitor:    RailFan Club:    

Full Site Search
Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:07:38 ISTHomeTrainsΣChainsAtlasPNRForumGalleryNewsFAQTripsLoginFeedback
Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:07:38 IST

Blog Entry# 2068521  
Posted: Nov 23 2016 (09:02)

1 Responses
Last Response: Nov 23 2016 (09:02)
Rail News
Commentary/Human Interest
Nov 23 2016 (08:11)   Rerailing the Indian Railways By K. Balakesari

rdb*^   125985 news posts
Entry# 2068521   News Entry# 286488         Tags   Past Edits
In managing safety, the emphasis should be on reforming the system rather than firefighting
Writing about railway safety in the immediate aftermath of a major accident is a particularly unpleasant and challenging task for someone who has been part of the system for almost four decades. The derailment of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendra Nagar Express between Pukhrayan and Malasa stations near Kanpur in the early hours of Sunday — leading to the death of over 146 passengers and injuries to more than 200 people — is surely one of the worst railway accidents in recent times. There can never be adequate compensation for the families of those who have lost their dear ones and those grievously injured. It is but natural that emotions
are currently running high and there is palpable anger directed towards a system (and those who run it) that apparently seems to have learnt no lessons from repeated accidents in the past. One needs to understand and respect those sentiments.
Yet, managing safety in a huge transport organisation like Indian Railways cannot be based on emotions. At times like this, there is need for calm thinking and objective analysis rather than knee-jerk reactions and dramatic gestures. Above all, there is a need to avoid a feeling of deja vu and letting things settle down to business as usual.
Every accident need not necessarily become a disaster. In this case, while the proximate cause is the derailment (due to cause yet to be finally established), the crushing/telescoping of the derailed coaches, leading to the large number of casualties, is a peculiar feature of this accident despite the fact that the derailment occurred on a flat section with no curve, bridge or embankment. In the past, there have been derailments involving several coaches that had capsized and yet the casualties were few, if any. This is an aspect which no doubt the Commissioner of Railway Safety inquiring into the accident will look into.
An interesting reaction from someone high up in the railway hierarchy immediately after the accident was that “those responsible will not be spared” — or something to that effect. It seemed it had already been concluded that it was a “who” and not a “what” that was responsible for the accident, apparently to soothe public sentiments. This is the natural outcome of a tradition where the majority of accidents (about 70 per cent) are attributed to staff failures. The motto seems to be ‘punish or perish’. Going by the number of staff who have been pulled up for accidents, by now Indian Railways should be one of the safest in the world. Since that is not so, the reasons lie elsewhere.
Online feedback on unsafe practices
Accidents in any field are the result of the cumulative failures of procedures and systems over the past involving some “near misses”. At present there is hardly any systematic analysis in the Railways of such unsafe situations. The Railways has a bureaucratic organisational structure where information flow is strictly regulated along ‘departmental’ routes. Further, systems and procedures are used as a means of achieving greater consistency of human action. On the other hand, failures are not isolated events but the result of a combination of causes. Consequently the emphasis should be on reforming the system rather than firefighting.
For this, there is a need to enable free flow of information from the lowest to the highest levels about any deviations from the accepted norms or practices so that corrective action can be initiated promptly. In fact, some years ago, British Rail had put in a system of online reporting of deviations from norms having a bearing directly or indirectly on safety. The objective was to get feedback from individuals regarding “near misses” or error-promoting conditions which would normally not be reported through usual channels, and to use this information to enhance safety. The confidentiality of the person making the report was maintained. It is time for Indian Railways to consider adopting similar measures to get honest real-time feedback to take immediate corrective action. With the vast improvements in communications and information technology, this should not be difficult. It needs emphasising that the aim should be to correct, not punish.
Cost-benefit analysis of investments
After any major train accident, the focus turns to investments in safety or the lack of it. There is very little discussion or analysis of the results of investments made in the past and whether any lessons have been learnt therefrom. For example, following the sanction of a Special Railway Safety Fund in 2001 amounting to Rs.17,000 crore (spread over five-six years) consequent to recommendations of the high-level safety committee under Justice H.R. Khanna, and the implementation of the Corporate Safety Plan in 2003, there was a perceptible reduction in the total number of accidents, particularly derailments, with the accident rate declining from about 0.44/million train kilometres in 2003 to about 0.13/million train kilometres by 2013. There is no analysis as to what went right. Unless such analysis is undertaken periodically, there can be no proper evaluation of the benefits arising out of the investments. Safety investments need to be linked to risk reduction.
There is then the lurking feeling amongst the lay public that nothing much is done after ordering enquiries into major accidents. The accident enquiry reports are treated as confidential documents. There is no reason why the summary of the findings of major accidents and the follow-up action taken cannot be put in the public domain. The U.S. Department of Transportation regularly uploads its reports on train accidents on its website. A beginning could be made with the enquiries conducted by the Commissioners of Railway Safety, starting with Pukhrayan.
K. Balakesari is former Member Staff, Railway Board.
There is no reason why the summary of the findings of major accidents and the follow - up action taken cannot be put in the public domain

Nov 23 2016 (09:02)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2068521-1            Tags   Past Edits
(1) During British Raj, the main aim of the government was to use IR to the benefit of the colonial rulers (like movement of troops and freight for export/import of goods), and not the India or Indian citizens. So the flow of crucial information was restricted to top officials who used to be British people.
(2) Hence the top officials, representatives of British Govt were treated like kings and given ultra luxurious facilities like palatial bungalow to reside and saloons to travel and a lot of servants at home to etc. Even after 7 decades of departure of British Govt from India, the situation has not changed much. Most of them continue to be strong administrators whom most of the
subordinates fear of and not the great leaders whom subordinate love to work with and emulate.
(3) To bring in the new culture of team work and transparency of information, the much needed changes have to begin from the top. Citizens of independent India have right to know about the safety/accident reports which are directly connected to their lives, as Railway is still the main means of mass transport for majority of Indians.
(4) The internal cleansing of the IR working/practices are a must, to stop the continuous downfall/degradation of IR, and to ensure optimal use of scarce resources in future, so as to turn around IR.

ARP (Advanced Reservation Period) Calculator

Reservations Open Today @ 8am for:
Trains with ARP 10 Dep on: Sat Mar 4
Trains with ARP 15 Dep on: Thu Mar 9
Trains with ARP 30 Dep on: Fri Mar 24
Trains with ARP 120 Dep on: Thu Jun 22


Rail News

New Trains

Site Announcements

  • Entry# 2165159
    Feb 15 (09:53AM)

    A minor update, but may impact many members: Hereafter, FMs will be able to delete invalid Red Flags on Imaginary trains. Red Flags can be removed by FMs, only against specific complaints filed against the blog. This does not give all members the right to complain against EVERY single red flag they...
  • Entry# 2155798
    Feb 08 (11:40AM)

    -@all members: As of recently, there has been a trend whereby minor name updates of Trains/Stations - whether such and such regional name should be there or not, whether the train should be called "Abc Express" or "Abc Superfast Express", etc. are threatening to take over the majority of Timeline entries. Also,...
  • Entry# 2147631
    Feb 01 (11:05AM)

    A new experimental feature is being introduced called BotD - "Blog of the Day". The rules are: . 1. Replies are not eligible - only the Top Blog. 2. ONLY Blogs posted today (the day of the vote) are eligible. 3. Every member has ONE vote. In the course of the day, you may keep...
  • Entry# 2136570
    Jan 23 (12:25AM)

    Several new features have been introduced recently to the Forum, and we are forever striving to make Member experience here more productive and satisfying. With the recent introduction and success of the new FM System, it has been observed that small groups of highly involved and enthusiastic members are far more...
  • Entry# 2134907
    Jan 21 2017 (02:46PM)

    It has been over 2 weeks since the appointment of the current batch of FMs and 750 Complaints have been handled so far. It gives me immense pleasure in congratulating them for running the team diligently, professionally, competently and above all, without a shred of controversy or bias. The FM position...
  • Entry# 2133126
    Jan 20 2017 (01:29AM)

    The modification to the TL Update scheme - i.e. the introduction of the new RAC System - has led to some efficiency with TL Updates. More TLs are being discussed, and quickly moved up. However, we still have on Average, about 300 Waitlisted TLs in the backlog at any time, and our hard-working and diligent TLMs...
Scroll to Top
Scroll to Bottom

Go to Mobile site