A couple of years ago, when there was a spate of railway accidents in the country, somebody suggested a travel slogan: “Travel by Air and See the World – Travel by Rail and See the Other….”
Judging from the series of railway accidents in the last few days, our Railways seem to be making a strong bid to live up to that slogan. But it is time they desisted from the attempt.
There have been four Railway mishaps in the last seven days. The smash-up near the Victoria Terminus in Bombay, resulted in injury to more than sixty persons. The crash near Banares resulted in eight deaths.
Close on its trail came the accident near Baroda and now comes news of a more disastrous railway tragedy, near Bhatinda, involving the death of fifteen passengers and injury to forty-seven.
For a railway system, which is the largest in Asia, and which is the biggest nationalised enterprise in India, four major mishaps in less than a week constitute an unenviable record. What is more regrettable is that the Railway authorities seem to take these for granted, and take their own time for enquiries in regard to these accidents and for instituting precautionary measures against them…..
It is time that the Railway authorities devoted some attention to the safety of the travelling public and reasonable facilities for the millions that patronised the Railway system….
In the Bombay area, particularly, the Railway authorities must hasten the task of a thorough overhaul of the local train services. The number of complaints we receive daily from the people who use the local trains would fill the entire paper. Traffic has increased many times since the pre-war period, fares have gone up, but facilities have deteriorated considerably. Some action in this regard is long overdue….
(EDIT, January 6, 1954.)