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Accidents in Indian Railways- Review of the last 6 years


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.



Featured Image: Shreekanth M | Flickr


About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.


  1. dear rakesh
    human failures in rly accident cases needs further analysis e.g.
    careless ness
    lack of training
    lack of supervision
    failure of team work
    health issues
    this kind of analysis may help. the discussion on this analysis need to done in open forum in public domain so that many can contribute in building accident free railways.

    u are doing a great job of increasing transparency.

    god bless u

    • We would like to do that. Right now, the government data does not have those granular details. We need to get them from the Railways by filing an application under RTI.

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  3. An excellent back ground info for any one interested to know the status of accidents in Indian Railways, especially in the context of announcement of an insurance policy in this year budget. this info is useful in forming an idea about the incidence ratio and the per capita compensation. thanks for making available this useful data and best wishes and success in your effort in the future.

  4. Thanks for the great info. Compiling this information is a great service to the statisticians trying to understand the ways of Indian Railways


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  7. Excellent analysis on the accidental data. May be, you could also include the age of tracks where the derailment happened as derailment is the major cause of accidents. It looks like majority of the tracks are older than 50 years and the bogies are also manufactured using 60 year old technology which is very unsafe in case of derailment ( 92% are still on older technology). The subsequent governments from 1970’s onward, have not looked on passenger safety, which includes manufacturing and track modernization; instead most of the railway budget policies were merely populist in nature.

  8. It seems very inadequate data. Almost 4000 people are killed in rail related accidents in Mumbai every year.

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  12. 40 deaths in 75 accidents in a year: Railways’ record best safety figures in 5 years … The massive renewal of tracks and regular safety reviews led to the … on maintenance in the last four years have resulted in fewer accidents … 6 dead, several injured as lift installed at MP businessman’s farm house fell.