Data on the Safety Measures taken on Indian Railways

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways, eversince Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu took over as the Union Minister of Railways, has taken a number of Safety Measures on entire Indian Railways. Indian Railways accord highest priority to safety in train operations. Consequential train accidents have declined from 195 in 2006-07 to 135 in 2014-15 and further to 107 in 2015-16. Number of consequential train accidents remained at a level of 95 during 2015-16 and 2016-17 (from 1st April 2016 to 6th February 2017). Accidents Per Million Train Kilometres, an important index of safety, has come down from 0.23 in 2006-07 to 0.11 in 2014-15 and further to 0.10 (approximately) in 2015-16. All possible steps are undertaken on a continual basis including up-gradation of technology to aid safe running of trains. Railways are inducting modern technology on regular basis. The Bullet Points on Railway Safety are as under:

  • The consequential train accidents have continuously declined from 135 in 2014-15 to 107 in 2015-16 and further to 104 in 2016-17.
  • In the current year also, consequential train accidents decreased from 29 to 15 during 2017-18 (from 01/04/2017 to 30/06/2017) in comparison to corresponding period of the previous year which is an improvement of 48.3% over the last year.
  • Accidents Per Million Train Kilometres (APMTKMs), which is an internationally accepted yard stick of safety has declined from 0.23 in 2006-07 to 0.09 (approximately) in 2016-17.
Type of Accident 2006-07 2007- 08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013

-14

2014

-15

2015

-16

2016-17 2017-18     (01/04/17

to 30/06/17)

Total 195 194 177 165 141 131 122 118 135 107 104 15

Download the official document released by Railway Board here:SAFETY MEASURES TAKEN ON INDIAN RAILWAYS New.doc (1)

In 2017-18, a Fund namely ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (RRSK) has been created for financing critical safety related works.  The Fund has been created with a corpus of Rs.1 lakh crore over a period of five years.  In Budget Estimates of 2017-18, a provision of Rs.20,000 crore has been made under RRSK, which includes Rs.5000 crore from Budgetary Support, Rs.10,000 crore from Central Road Fund and Rs.5000 crore out of Railways’ internal resources.   In the Railway Budget 2016-17, Mission Zero Accident was one of the Missions announced, comprising of the two sub-missions:

  • Elimination of unmanned level crossings (UMLC) over broad gauge in the next 3-4 years.
  • TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System): To prevent collisions and signal passing at danger by the Loco Pilot through developing an indigenous technology and also to increase throughput by increasing average sectional speed on Indian Railways (IR).
  • Elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings: As on 01.04.2017, Indian Railways have 27181 Level Crossings, out of which 19480 are manned and 7701 are unmanned. Out of total 7701 unmanned level crossings, 4943 level crossings are on BG (Broad Gauge). It has been planned to eliminate unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) on Broad Gauge by 2020.
  • Year-wise target fixed for elimination is as under:
    Year No. of UMLCs to be eliminated
    2017-18 1500
    2018-19 1500
    2019-20 1943
     Description Actual

    2014-15

    Actual

    2015-16

    RE

    2016-17

    BE

    2017-18

    Total Expenditure on Safety 42304 45516 63063 65241+
  • Track Renewal –The allocation for track renewal has been almost doubled from the last 5 years average of `5548. 6 crores to `9961 crores in the Budget Estimate of 2017-18.
  • Vehicular Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD) System, Self Propelled Ultrasonic Rail Testing (SPURT Car): – Decision to use Vehicle bound USFD testing has been taken to ensure faster as well as more reliable testing as it would cover larger cross-sectional area of rail. Procurement of these 6 nos. SPURT cars have been included in Rolling Stock Program 2017-2018 at total cost of `186.24 crores.
  • Trial of Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detection System (UBRDS) for detection of Rail/Weld fractures has been undertaken on Northern Railway and North Central Railway on 25 Km track length each. It has been decided to proliferate this system on Indian Railways based on outcome of trial.
  • Proliferation of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches for improving Safety: Indian Railways is embarking on a mission to provide upgraded safety features on its coaching stock. As a part of this, it has been decided that only LHB coaches would be manufactured from 2018-19.  LHB coaches are of a superior design that reduces the chances of derailment and mitigates the possibility of grievous injury or death in case of accidents.
  • Refurbishment of ICF coaches: A policy decision has been taken to carry out the work of refurbishment and providing improved safety features in its existing ICF design coaches which have a residual life of more than 10 years. A total of about 40,000 coaches will be provided with these features in the next 5 years including production of new coaches.
  • Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS): Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) has capability to control the speed of train in accordance with the sectional permitted speed and signal aspect ahead by automatic actuation of brakes, in case loco pilot fails to do so in time. Thus it mitigates safety risk of accidents/collisions due to loco pilot’s error of Signal Passing at Danger or over speeding. TPWS also reduces delays during foggy weather.
  • In the last 64 years, while freight loading has been increased by 1344% and passenger kms by 1642%, the route kms have grown by only 23%. This is causing congestion on tracks. More than 60% of the routes are being utilized more than 100%.

Myths and Realty on Indian Railways Safety

Myth No. 1: Number of Railways accidents and fatalities have increased under Suresh Prabhu

Reality:   The consequential train accidents have continuously declined from 135 in 2014-15 to 107 in 2015-16 and further to 104 in 2016-17. To state a comparison, the average annual accidents during UPA I were 207/ year, during UPA II were 135/ year and during current government have reduced to 115/ year

Although every human life is invaluable and is irreparable loss to us but the number of casualties have also seen a declining trend. Total fatalities in first 3 years of UPA I were 759, they increased to 938 during UPA II, while the first three years of this government has seen the number decline to 652. 

Myth No. 2: Railways has lost focus on Safety

Reality: Safety remains one of the prime concerns and priorities for the Ministry.

  1. When this government took over, analysis revealed that 40% of the accidents and 60% of fatalities were due to accidents on Unmanned level crossings. Hence, Mission Zero Accident was launched to ensure all Unmanned level crossings were eliminated by 2019. It has seen unprecedented success, where we eliminated 4258 UMLCs in last 3 years, leading to drop in fatalities from UMLC accidents from 64% of total fatalities in 2013-14 to 16.81% in 2016-17.
  2. State of infrastructure is an important constituent to safety performance. The infrastructure had been deteriorating due to years of neglect, which requires huge investments. Investment in safety have increased from Rs 33972 Crore per year during UPA II to Rs54031 Crore every year under this government a jump of 60%
  3. Congestion on tracks also has some impact on safety. Reduction in congestion is achieved by infrastructure upgradation which again requires huge capital expenditure. We have been working this regard also. Under this government, by the end of year we would be spending about Rs 4 lakh crore on infrastructure creation. In last 67 years since independence (1947- 2014) capital investment of Rs4.9 lakh crore was made on Indian Railways.
  4. In 2017-18, a Fund namely ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (RRSK) has been created for financing critical safety related works. The Fund has been created with a corpus of `1 lakh crore over a period of five years.
  5. Decision to stop production of ICF coaches, the main stay of Indian Raiwlays Passenger Business for many years, and having no anti climbing features was taken in 2015-16.
  6. Existing stock of 40,000 ICF coaches (90% of total coaches) cannot be discarded and hence is being retrofitted with CBC couplers to make them safer.
  7. New technologies like Condition based monitoring system for rolling stock and Track and Ultrasonic Broken Rail Detection System are being piloted on the network.

Myth No. 3: Number of vacancies in safety positions has increased recently leading to a spurt in accidents

Reality: Average vacancy in safety positions during the period 2009-10 to 2013-14 was 18.65% of total sanctioned strength. This has dropped down to 16.86% in 2017 despite the sanctioned strength increasing by 5% from 2014 to 2017. Further, during the current government we have recruited almost 37,510 people in the safety categories taking the total staff strength to 635940 on 1.04.2017. Massive recruitments of almost 2,00,000 staff in these categories are also lined up

Myth No. 4: Railways has been dragging its feet to implement Kakodkar Committee recommendations

Reality: High Level Safety Review Committee had made 106 recommendations on various aspects of railway’s working. Out of 106, 68 recommendations have been fully accepted out of which 52 have been fully implemented and 16 are under implementation. 19 recommendations were partially accepted out of which 13 have been implemented. 19 recommendations were not accepted by the Railways.

Myth No. 5: Railways has diverted funds to develop fancy projects like Bullet Train

Reality:  1. Indian Railways has unflinching commitment to the poor and the downtrodden as can be seen by a few examples:

  • Passenger fares are still amongst the lowest in the entire world. In fact, Indian Railways subsidises passenger and suburban travel to the tune of almost Rs36,000 Crore annually.
  • Antyodaya express – fully unreserved, super-fast trains with enhanced amenities such as drinking water, vestibule trains, LHB coaches etc were launched only to cater to unreserved segment
  • Re1 clinic were launched at important suburban stations
  • Indian Railways ensures availability of Janta meals at all major stations
  1. High speed train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad is being funded by Japan Government with less than 20% contribution from Govt of India. This money, which came at incredibly attractive terms (0.1% rate of interest) was made available ONLY for this high-speed project and was NOT available to fund safety projects for Indian Railways. Moreover, high speed train is the safest mode of transport in the world. Hence, the government has not diverted any funds from existing corpus.

Safety Overview on Indian Railways.

  1. Safety performance of Indian Railways has been gradually improving in the past 3 years as consequential train accidents have reduced from 135 in the year 2014-15 to 107 in the year 2015-16 and further to 104 in the year 2016-17.
  2. Accidents per million train kilometers (APMTK), which is an internationally accepted yardstick of safety has also improved from 11 in 2014-15, 0.10 in 2015-16 and to 0.09 in 2016-17.
  3. Unmanned level crossings accidents have decreased to 60% in 2016-17 as compared to the year 2014-15.
  4. No accident at Manned level crossing occurred in the year 2016-17 as compared to 6 accidents each in the year 2014-15 and 2015-16.
  5. A very proactive approach was adopted to eliminate the existing UMLC gates and reducing risk at existing UMLC gates by deploying Gate Mitras and use of 2nd whistle boards.
  6. It has been announced in the Railway Budget 2015-16 that Indian Railways will eliminate all existing UMLCS on BG within the next 3-4 years.
  7. Total 1503 Unmanned Level Crossings were eliminated in 2016-17 by closure / merger/ subway construction as compared to 1253 in 2015-16 and 1148 in 2014-15. This has contributed in reducing accidents at Unmanned Level Crossings.
  8. Elimination of 509 Manned Level Crossings was done in 2016-17 as compared to 390 in 2015-16 and 310 in 2014-15.
  9. Technological aids of Automatic Train Protection System to drivers (loco pilots) to avoid collisions have been progressively adopted on Indian Railways keeping priority for high density routes/ suburban sections within the constraints of resources.
  10. Simulator based training is being imparted to loco pilots to improve their driving skills and reaction time.
  11. For reducing Derailments, following steps are taken – Use of mechanized track maintenance system, Vehicular USFD machines, Improving the welding technology, use of head hardened rails, installation of way side coach and wagon hot-box and other defect detectors, Proliferation of WILD (way side load impact detectors) LHB coaches, CBC coupling retro fitment in ICF coaches. etc
  12. Improving Fire Retardants in Coaches, Provision of Automatic Fire and Smoke Detection System in Coaches, Provision of Water mist type Fire Suppression in pantry cars and power cars.
  13. Implementation of High Level Safety Review Committee – Of the 106 recommendations of the High Level Safety Review Committee (Kakodkar Committee), 68 recommendations have been fully accepted and 13 partially accepted. Out of these, 52 recommendations have been implemented and the remaining recommendations are at various stages of implementation.
  14. Foreign Collaboration on Safety: Ministry of Railways has entered into Memorandum of Understandings/Agreements with Canada, Japan. Russia and Italy for technical cooperation in rail sector, which inter alia include railway safety as one of the cooperation areas.
  15. Railway Safety Fund: In the Budget 2017-18, setting up of a ‘Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh’ (RRSK) has been announced with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crores over a period of 5 years for giving a major boost to safety related works over Indian railways. A provision of Rs 20,000 crore has been made in Budget Estimate 2017-18 towards ‘RRSK’ to fund essential safety works. These funds will be used improving safety of track, rolling stock, acquisition of vehicle based USFD machines, on board rolling stock monitoring systems and proliferation of other safety technologies.
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