Often called the Lifeline of the Nation,
Indian Railways runs more than 14,300 trains!
It carries over 13 million passengers daily,
Across hills, tunnels, rivers, lakes and plains!!
With 1.6 million employees under its rolls,
IR is one of the world’s largest employer!
Traveling across the country in its 63,000 kms of tracks,
You are bound to have more adventure than Tom Sawyer!!
Trains run from North to South, East to West,
Across the length and breadth of the country!
Jammu to Kanyakumari is 4751kms,
Is covered by Himsagar Express in 66 hrs, albeit slowly!!
The Railways was a legacy of the British,
And we have come a long way since then!
We have new tracks, trains and coaches,
And technology’s presence is felt even in the engine!!
But while the world has zipped away,
With the high speed and maglev trains!
We continue to live in the British era,
And our trains still run as if enslaved in chains!!
The TGV in France runs at more than 250 km/hour,
Chinese high speed trains exceed speeds of more than 350 km/hour!
Maglev trains are already being tested at 450 km/hour,
With our fastest running at 90, the experience really turns sour!!
My father points out that in the 80s,
Karnataka Express used to take 36 hrs between Delhi – Bangalore!
Now 25 years later it takes 40 hrs,
Surely not something worth writing about in Indian Railways brochure!!
Most stations are outdated and overcrowded,
Trains themselves are rusted, in gross disrepair and dirty!
People hang outside the windows and even on the roof,
Which makes for nice photographs, but at the cost of safety!!
Communication and signaling equipment is outdated,
No surprises that 83% of all accidents result from human error!
The whole infrastructure is old and crumbling,
Add to that the problems of corruption, naxalism and terror!!
There is no doubt that Indian Railways needs to be better managed,
We need solutions, problems are not going to disappear if we just duck!
Considering the size and scale of operations its not going to be easy,
The authorities needs to tighten their belts, and let us wish them “Best of Luck”!!