How Dangerous Are India’s Railways? – The Numbers – Briefly – WSJ

The derailment of a train in northern India that killed more than 130 people highlights the dangers and challenges along the country’s rail network.

Accidents on the rail system resulted in more than 25,000 deaths in 2014, according to the latest statistics available.

While the cause of Sunday’s incident isn’t yet known, it again draws the spotlight onto the country’s rickety rail system.

So how dangerous is traveling on the country’s trains? Here are the numbers.

28,360     The number of railway accidents in India in 2014. Though that was a decrease of 9.2% from a year earlier, 25,006 people died. That figure is much higher than the 768 deaths recorded on America’s railways the same year.

17,480     The number of railway accidents that were reported to be due to someone falling from a train or a “collision with people at track.” In India, passenger trains are often full to bursting, with people hanging out of windows and doors.  Pedestrians also often cross tracks by foot. The government has sought to raise awareness about the proper use of level crossings and the dangers of strolling near railway lines.

5,024     The number of people who died in railway accidents in Maharashtra in 2014. The western state is home to Mumbai, the country’s financial capital, which has some of the most crowded and dangerous suburban trains.

442     The number of rail-construction projects active in India as of March 2014. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made modernizing the ageing network a priority,  and has made building a high-speed corridor a pet project.

$16 billion     The amount a government audit found that delays and poor planning had caused costs on the 442 rail projects to balloon.

40%     The proportion of the more than 31,000 railway crossing that are unmanned. Those level crossing contribute to about 40% of train accidents, according to a government news release.

Source: How Dangerous Are India’s Railways? – The Numbers – Briefly – WSJ

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