NEW DELHI: The railways has maintained the best safety record in 2017-2018 fiscal in over five decades, according to official figures.
As of March 30, 73 accidents were reported across the railway network, compared to 104 in the previous fiscal, the lowest in 57 years.
“The main reason behind the improvement is track renewal, the railways carried out renewal of 4,405 km of old rails in 2017-2018. This is the highest ever progress of rail renewal and exceeds the target of 4,400 km kept for the year,” a senior official of the ministry said.
In fact, the previous best track renewal was 4,175 km in 2004-2005, when the transporter was given a rehabilitation plan with a fund of Rs 17,000 crore.
This fiscal has also recorded the longest ever distance travelled by trains. In 1960-61, trains collectively travelled just 388.1 million train km as compared to 1170.7 million train km in 2017-2018.
Train kilometer is the unit of measure of distance which corresponds to the movement of a train over one kilometer.
Significantly, despite trains having travelled an additional 74 million train km in 2017-2018 as compared to the last five years, accidents have remained at an all time low.
As far as accidents are concerned, while in 1960-61, the number was 2131, it came down to 840 in 1970-71, in 1980-81 it stood at 1,013, in 1990-91 it recorded 532 accidents, in 2010-11 there were 141 such cases, as per the figures.
The casualty figures also have gone down. In 2016-17, 607 people were injured or killed in train accidents, in 2017-2018, the number stood at 254.
While derailments have come down from 78 in 2016-2017 to 54 in 2017-2018, accidents at level crossings stood at 13 in 2017-2018 as compared to 30 the previous year.