Indian Railways is world’s 4th largest in terms of the railway network and largest in terms of carrying the highest number of passengers every year. This is enough to know that it has a huge infrastructure, which if used intelligently, can create additional revenue and improve its current situation. So here are my thoughts about how can Indian railway service improve.
Scope Of Improvisation For Indian Railway Service
1] Use The Space Available More Efficiently
There are huge acres of land that is completely free above the railway stations or tracks. Most of these railway stations are built right in the middle of cities and have a great value. After the proper sound and vibration proofing, this space could be used for building hotels and cafe’s etc. Therefore, passengers will be able to rest properly when they have time to kill at the railway stations. This will also generate good revenue for the railways.
The space above the tracks could be used to install solar panels. This way more electricity would be generated and will be instantly used by the structure below or by the trains. Therefore, no additional storage/transfer units need to be installed.
2] Central Transportation System
Every railway station should have a bus stop attached to it, from where buses going to every part of the city are available. Also, at the Airport, there should be a train/metro station. Therefore, travelers would be able to switch their mode of transport very rapidly and easily. This will help in enhancing traveling experience.
3] WiFi Connectivity
RailTel and Google have already started providing free WiFi services at major railway stations across the country. This service should be provided on trains also. Especially the long route trains should have this facility as the passengers have a lot of free time which they can rather use to entertain themselves or gain knowledge using the internet.
4] Information Booth’s
There should be information booths set up on all platforms across the country. When a person enters this booth, using a WiFi or Bluetooth connection, information about the platform as well as the nearby locations should be set to the users mobile. This information should include all the famous locations, hotels, sites etc, therefore, the user will know every important thing about that place. This thing will be great for tourists.
5] Conversion To Fast Trains
Huge problems with the long route trains are that they have a very low passenger-carrying capacity due to sleeper coaches. And many of these trains are extremely slow. Such trains should be made faster by reducing the number of coaches and the sleeper coaches should be replaced by sitting ones. Therefore, twice as many passengers could be carried and less time would be required. Therefore, more revenue can be generated without any extra investments.
6] Upgrade Sanitation ASAP
This is by far the single biggest problem with our railways, they aren’t clean. Much of that onus is on the passengers but the authorities also play a big role. Long route slow trains are a disaster as they take more time to reach a station, more the toilets stink. If the travel time is shorter, the toilets would be cleaned more often keeping them clean for a longer duration. Also, people must be educated and should be fined for spreading dirt around in the train.
7] Time For Some Upgrades
The existing heavy and cramped coaches should be replaced by new LHB coaches which are light weight and can carry more passengers. Furthermore, the current coupling system (which has been placed by the British in the 19th century) should be replaced by modern systems. These systems would help achieve faster speeds with more passengers.
8] EMU’s Are A Must And Implement HSR
Electrical Multiple Units (EMU’s) are various units of cars that are self-driven. Most of the local trains are EMU’s. This should be used in as many trains as possible. Advantages of EMU’s being that the length of the train is reduced and overall efficiency is also high.
High-Speed Rail (HSR) prefer EMU’s. These are separate railway tracks that are capable of handling speeds of over 200 Km/h. Many more tracks must be deployed.
Also, existing tracks should be improved. All the tracks currently available should be “A” grade tracks, that means the tracks that can handle between 150-200 Km/h speeds. Metro trains and Duronto would also be able to run on these tracks.
9] Stop Passengers Without Tickets
A huge number of people travel through trains without tickets. This causes less revenue for the Indian Railways. More TT’s should be deployed to find such people and fine them so that more and more people would travel with tickets. Therefore, more jobs will be created as well as more revenue will be generated.
10] Build Better Stations
Railway Stations like CST are also a heritage site. Many people visit them just to look how beautifully they are built. Many more stations should be built in modern unique ways that will attract more tourists and also will be a symbol of pride for our people.
11] Our Role
At the end, I would say that the passengers have a big role to play in keeping our trains in a good shape. So don’t spread dirt, keep the toilets clean, buy digital tickets so that less paper will be wasted and help the authorities. If every one of us follow these simple things then it would be a huge bonus for the Railway Administration.1