Entangled in the Indian Railway web
Shefali Saxena | 07 Mar 2011

"YOU GET up early morning at four o clock and wake up the whole house, switch on all lights, the kitchen smells of hot and fresh ‘pooris’ and the cooker whistles while it boils the potatoes! Don’t forget to keep the mango pickle, some fruits, and fill that cool cage with ice and cold water.”

The house seems to be on fire, when you are ought to leave for boarding a much awaited train of the Indian Railways. From the elders to the children, everyone, no matter what, tries to do their best when they go for a railway journey. If the train leaves at 7, all are ready by 5.30.

But here is where Indian Railway Network, miserably FAILS to cater to its promises and fame. Sometimes a train may take more than twice the time it normally takes to reach a place, within which one can complete both onward and return journey! The Indian Railway can test your patience and temper to an incredibly unimaginable extent. Purchasing a confirmed ticket and arrival of the train on its expected time is just next to impossible.
Today the tagline for Indian Railway should be, ‘Rail to Hell’, after foreseeing the stupendous amount of increase in inefficiency of the trains. Half of the time the trains are atleast 4-5 hours late. And if by chance it happens to come even 15 minutes late sometime we Indians feel privileged, that we are only a few minutes late.

When shall India witness that day, when people and work shall not suffer because of the lack of maintenance of the railway network which brags to be one of the largest in the world. With such fragile and delayed arrivals of trains, the short route travelers are the ones who suffer horribly. Trains like Intercity run late about 3-5 hours on a daily basis. Without any proper pantry services, there have been umpteen cases where passengers who were not carrying food with them starved until they reached home. Besides the delay in departure and arrivals, the condition of the railway coaches and toilets are not preferably even mentionable.

Rodents and insects with foul smell is what Indian Railway has become all about today. We often ponder upon how well are we serving the tourists from abroad, by running Palace on wheels and Shatabdis, but the actual suffers are the billions of Indians who can afford only railways to travel and are witnessing hazardous circumstances and travelling in immensely objectionable conditions in the railway wagons. . There’s no point regretting deeply and not catering to the solutions for such incidents.

The announcements on the station that we rapidly hear are not, ‘the train is arriving shortly’. Its always the other way round, ‘The inconvenience is deeply regretted.’ Till when shall the railways regret these innumerable inconveniences? It’s high time that the Railway Minister and the Department nerves itself about such pathetic state of Indian Railways.
Even the railway websites need to alarm themselves to update the correct information about the train timings, which in reality has caused many people to miss their trains due to wrong positions of train arrivals and departures on the Internet. Every Indian would one day love to hear that, ‘The train is running on time and is arriving shortly.’