Safety on trains is indeed a matter of concern. I am a regular passenger on the Chennai-Kozhikode route. I see passengers without reserved tickets sitting near the exits, sometimes sleeping on the aisle. Ticket examiners and RPF personnel turn a blind eye to this. Due to such overcrowding, the safety of passengers and their luggage is compromised.
Almost all railway coaches now have switch points to charge mobile phones but in most of them, the cables are seen dangling loose with many joints. This may cause short circuits and sparks.
We have developed technology to test-fire a missile but we fail to provide basic safety to railway passengers. Bogies should be equipped with speaker transmission systems so that people can be warned if a fire starts in a coach. Doors must be made of glass instead of iron. That will prevent jamming of doors. Passenger cars should be equipped with a smoke exhaust system.
Travelling ticket examiners and security guards are rarely seen after trains depart from railway stations. Passengers are willing to pay increased fares for better amenities but the Railway Ministry is reluctant to hike the fares. Why not privatise the Railways which have become a behemoth and an unwieldy establishment?
It is sad to note that accidents are becoming a regular feature on trains. There is no control mechanism to regulating entry into stations and trains. No stringent action is taken against passengers disobeying instructions on safety measures. For instance, even though the sale of tobacco products is banned on trains and at railway stations, they are sold in a clandestine manner. Passengers go for a smoke to toilets or corridors. Unless a strict control mechanism is in place to regulate train travel, the Tamil Nadu Express type of accidents will continue to take place.
P. Swaminatha Krishna,
A typical sleeper class coach accommodates 72 people with just four toilets and four exits. The pathways do not allow for the free movement of people. In an emergency, the lack of space will only lead to panic. The emergency exits are a practical joke on people — they are required to jump from a height of eight feet! Railway coaches should be remodelled. The side berths should be removed. All trains should have only reserved compartments. I do not even want to imagine a fire in an unreserved coach. It will be impossible to identify the victims.