Derailment in Indian Railways

A report titled “Derailment in Indian Railways” was released in 2022 by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). This report flagged several shortcomings and provided multiple recommendations to improve the safety of the railways.

Identifying Shortcomings and Areas of Improvement

One of the significant shortcomings highlighted in the CAG report was the failure in conducting proper inspections. The report revealed that inspections by Track Recording Cars, which are crucial in assessing the geometrical and structural conditions of railway tracks, experienced shortfalls ranging from 30-100%. This raised concerns about the accuracy and effectiveness of track assessments.

Additionally, the report flagged failures in submitting and accepting inquiry reports after accidents. This lack of proper documentation and analysis hindered the ability to learn from past incidents and implement necessary preventive measures.

Another concerning aspect was the inadequate utilization of the dedicated railway fund. The report pointed out that the fund, meant for priority tasks related to safety, was not fully utilized. This raised questions about the allocation and management of resources within the railway system.

The report also highlighted a decline in funding for track renewal, which was linked to a significant number of derailments. Approximately 289 derailments, accounting for 26% of the total incidents from 2017 to 2021, were attributed to track renewals. This called for a reevaluation of investment priorities to ensure the maintenance and upgrade of railway tracks.

Derailments and the Role of Bad Driving

Among the factors contributing to derailments, the report emphasized the role of bad driving and overspeeding. It stated that 154 accidents, out of a total of 1129 derailments, were attributed to the loco pilots. This underscored the need for better training, monitoring, and strict adherence to safety protocols by the train drivers.

Operational Challenges in the Track Management System (TMS)

The CAG report raised concerns about the non-operational status of the Track Management System (TMS), which is a web-based application for monitoring track maintenance activities. The in-built monitoring mechanism of the TMS portal was found to be inactive, and important information, such as closure of inspection notes, was not properly recorded. This highlighted the need for an efficient and functional system to oversee track maintenance operations.

Recommendations for Enhanced Safety

In light of the findings, the CAG report presented several recommendations to improve the safety of India’s train system. It stressed the importance of strict adherence to scheduled timelines for accident inquiries to ensure timely resolution and implementation of preventive measures. The report also emphasized the adoption of fully mechanized methods of track maintenance and the use of improved technologies to enhance safety operations.



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