In the 6-year period between 2009-10 and 2014-15, there were a total of 803 accidents in Indian Railways killing 620 people and injuring 1855 people. 47% of these accidents were due to derailment of trains.
Each time there is a train accident, the issue of safety in Indian Railways comes to the fore. The recent train accident in Uttar Pradesh has again triggered a debate on safety.
Between 2009-10 and 2014-15, there were a total of 803 accidents in Indian Railways.
Number & Type of Accidents
By far, the highest number of accidents are because of derailments & accidents at level crossings. Nine (9) out of Ten (10) railway accidents during 2009-10 and 2014-15 have been due to derailments and accidents at level crossings. The other type of accidents includes collisions, etc. But their number is relatively much lower.
Train accidents per million kilometers run
The trains of the Indian Railways are clocking more passenger kilometers each year. From 2.08 lakh million kilometers in 1980-81, the number of passenger kilometers reached 11.47 lakh million kilometers in 2014-15. Train accidents per million kilometers run is an important parameter to understand the occurrence of accidents and if there has been any improvement over the years. This parameter has continuously decreased from 2009-10 to 2013-14. In again increased in 2014-15. From 0.17 in 2009-10, it has come to down to 0.10 in 2013-14, a reduction of over 40% in 5 years. But it again increased to 0.11 in 2014-15.
Number of Casualties
Though the number of accidents in 2009-10 was more than the number of accidents in 2010-11, 235 were killed in 2010-11 compared to only 67 in 2009-10. The accidents in 2010-11 were more fatal compared to the other years. The number of those killed has been on the decline since 2010-11 only to increase in 2014-15.
Casualties per million passengers carried
From 3613 million passengers in 1980-81, the number of originating passengers reached 8224 million in 2014-15. Except for 2010-11, this parameter was more or less constant at 0.04. In 2010-11, it rose to 0.08 owing to a high number of casualties. While it decreased to 0.02 in 2013-14, it increased to 0.05 in 2014-15 because of a higher casualty figure.
Cause of Accidents
There have been various causes for train accidents ranging from Human Failure to Equipment Failure to Sabotage etc. In the 6-year period between 2009-10 and 2014-15, human failure has caused more than 86% of the total accidents. Out of this, 41% accidents were caused due to the failure of railway staff and the rest due to the failure of others. Equipment failure caused only 2.2% of the accidents.
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