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Blog Entry# 2067833  
Posted: Nov 22 2016 (14:26)

1 Responses
Last Response: Nov 22 2016 (14:26)
Rail News
Nov 22 2016 (13:13)   Lesson from demonetisation: Why can’t we improve the railways overnight?

Jayashree   37386 news posts
Entry# 2067833   News Entry# 286411         Tags   Past Edits
While the Prime Minister had promised to upgrade the transport system and introduce sophisticated bullet trains, the conditions of our existing railway system is abysmal to say the least.
Unfortunately, the Indore Patna Express railway tragedy is no anomaly. Fatal train accidents are common in India. In 2014-15, there were 131 railway accidents, which left 168 people dead. The year prior to that witnessed 117 train accidents within the country with 103 deaths. While the Prime Minister had promised to upgrade the transport system and introduce sophisticated bullet trains, the conditions of our existing railway system is abysmal to say the least.
were two reasons for the colossal loss of lives. One, the accident occurred due to the fracturing of the rails. Fracturing of railway tracks occur when there are significant changes in the temperature – tracks expand in the summer and contract during the winters. This phenomenon of expansion and contraction lead to the development of cracks. And these cracks intensify due to constant and intensive pressure put on them by the overriding coaches. If they are not maintained and checked in time, that could lead to derailment, which was the case for the Indore Patna Express train.
The other reason was that the Indore Patna Express carried ICF coaches (i.e. Integral Coach Factory coaches), that has a design which potentially holds an internal flaw. They are only meant to travel at a speed of 80-90 kilometers per hour, and are characteristically known to pile up on top of each other in case an accident occurs. So is there an alternative, better coach available in the country? The answer is yes. The LHB coaches (Linke Hoffman Busch) have been designed to operate at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour, which can go up to 200 kilometers per hour. These coaches are found in superior trains like the Rajdhanis, Shatabdis, Gatimaan Express and Duronto Express.
Unfortunately, the Indian railway department has been unable to replace all the ICF coaches with LHB coaches – primarily because ICF coaches are — (a) more in number and therefore, in circulation (there are presently 55,000 working ICF coaches as opposed to 5,000-8,000 LHB coaches) ; (b) There is a fierce lobbying in place within the country by those who wish to control and continue the circulation of outdated ICF coaches.
The present situation is grim, since this mishap could be avoided had a stringent system been in place that demanded and ensured a quick, systematic replacement of all the ICF coaches. The Railway Ministry argues that the number of LHB coaches that currently exist are few in number and cannot replace older coaches overnight. This might be a crude analogy, but picture this: if demonetisation was done overnight – a decision which was a necessary and pragmatic, albeit almost paralyzing, taken by the government for the “sake” of the nation – the scaling up of production of LHB coaches could have been given an unrivaled priority as well. Forget about building bullet trains that run from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, focus on fixing what is in place first, because at the end of the day, lives have been lost and such accidents will continue to occur if the coaches are not replaced in time.

Nov 22 2016 (14:26)
For Better Managed Indian Railways~   1933 blog posts
Re# 2067833-1            Tags   Past Edits
Demonetisation is out come of an honest and sincere effort to weed out black money. Similarly for IR. overnight improvement is quite possible if all the decisions making and working by officials & employees is done with honesty and sincerity, and with an aim of continuous improvement, keeping aside the malpractices of departmentalism, political expediency, corruption etc.
The reports are highly contradictory and appears to be deviating away from the right direction. It seems that efforts are on to confuse the common public through long rigmarole about the effect of low temperature on rails. The rail/track can withstand much lower temperature than the current mid night temperatures in the Gangetic Plains.
is no mention of the loud sound in S1 coach which was heard by the AC coach paxs also and both complained to TTEs about the same but in vain. No rails/ tracks can be expected to safely bear the full speed run of a jammed/ defective wheel/bogie for a distance of over 200kms. No mention of coach defect and complain of paxs and reporting of driver about higher current/load on loco, indicates that the investigation is not moving in the right direction.
A broken piece of rail found at the site does not mean that derailment was result of broken rail, the broken rail may very well be a consequence of the accident and not the cause. Tremendous impact of the derailed wheel/bogie can break the rail, and lower temperature which tends to make a bit more brittle just promote it.
Another funny thing is blaming the ICF coaches. ICF coaches are satisfactorily being operated at 110kmph for several decades. If ill maintained or a defective coach is operated at 110kmph, coach of any make whether ICF or LHB shall derail. Due to ICF coaches, casualty is higher and with LHB it would have been lower.
Top priority should be on preventing recurrence of accidents, rather than on having lesser loss of lives in the event of accident. Replacing all ICF coaches about 55000 will cost above 1 Lac Crore Rs and is not going to happen soon. IR is hardly in a position to implement it. Then there is no point in crying hoarse over the matter.
15 years have passed after the LHB coaches were introduced and yet IR has not developed the self generation version of LHB coach which can replace the ICF coach of mail/ express trains. This shows there was no plan to use the good properties i.e. higher speed and better safety features for the general public travelling in IR trains (non-premiun ones).
Experts were against splurging the scarce resource of IR (in the early 90s) on very costly LHB coaches of 200kmph potential and there were allegation of kick backs in the deal too. This money should have gone into clearing the huge backlog of the track renewal existing during the 90s and making the rail journeys safer.
IR have a penchant for costly foreign imports which comes with a lot of foreign trips and other benefits, even if much cheaper and indigenous options are available. Lack of interest in cheaper ACD developed by Konkan Railway is recent example.
The real cause appears to be of manual error and the blame as usual shall go to mute machines who can not plead guilty!

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