Indian Railway is the fourth largest railway network in the world comprising 119,630 kilometres (74,330 mi) of total track and 92,081 km (57,216 mi) of running track over a route of 66,687 km (41,437 mi) with 7,216 stations at the end of 2015-16.In 2015–2016 Indian Railways had revenues of ₹1.683 trillion (US$26 billion), consisting of ₹1.069 trillion (US$17 billion) freight earnings and ₹442.83 billion (US$6.9 billion) passengers earnings.Indian Railways is the world’s eighth biggest employer and had 1.331 million employees at the end of 2015-16.

In Utkal Express accident 23 persons were killed and around 400 injured but just 4 railway officials have been suspended (not terminated) and 3 sent on leave . Kulshreshta, a 1980-batch Indian Railway Electrical Service officer, ordered the suspension of four officials — Senior Divisional Engineer, Delhi division, R K Verma, Assistant Engineer (Meerut) Rohit Kumar, Senior Section Engineer (Muzzafarnagar) Inder Jeet Singh and Junior Engineer (Khatauli) Pradeep Kumar — and the transfer of Chief Track Engineer Alok Kansal.  Is this the strictest possible action that could be taken ?

Head of Maintenance Team and  the Team itself, who carelessly Disconnected the Rails without Authentication from both Stations on either side ( or more Stations if Lines are diverting between stations) .A preliminary probe report indicated that the train had derailed due to lapse or negligence on the part of those carrying out track maintenance activities at Khatauli yard. A “glued joint” in the rail, which holds a signal-separation mechanism, was being fixed, without putting in place the mechanism to block train traffic. The Permanent Way Inspector did not place warning signals for oncoming trains.

Second Fault is of the Station Masters not caring for Efficient Signalling System . Auditors in that region had the duty to verify Relationship between Maintenance Team & Signalling Officers on Either side of the work spot.

Those involved in the maintenance work have reportedly claimed that they had asked for rail traffic to be blocked, but were denied the request. Their claim is being probed.

Meanwhile, a purported audio clip of a conversation between a member of the track maintenance gang carrying out the work at Khatauli yard and another railway staff surfaced on Sunday.

In the purported clip, the trackman claims that the Permanent Way Inspector, also known as Junior Engineer, did not place warning signals like red flags for the oncoming train, despite the fact that the work was not complete. He says that the track-welding machine was at the site when the train derailed. “The gangmen were not listening to the junior engineer…,” he says.

Suresh Prabhu is executing one of the most difficult reforms in Indian Railway’s history, restructuring the Railway Board. Since independence, the board’s structure remained untouched. During Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure, member electrical was introduced, because of priority given to the electrification of tracks. In last 25 years of liberalization of Indian economy, Railways remained least reformed sector.Most of the developed countries have ministry of transport (with powers to formulate policies for Civil Aviation, shipping & ports, railways, waterways and Highways), and rest of the work is done via companies (either in public or private sector). In 2013, China moved to this model.In India Railways is a government department, not even a PSU -with a separate profit and loss statement.

The most contagious part of the Railways story today is the number of accidents and deaths. But the records show, these accidents are actually coming down drastically. From 135 accidents in 2014/15, the number is already down to 104 in the last fiscal. Just to put it in context, during the five years of UPA 1, on an average trains in India met with an accident 207 times in a year, the number was brought down to 135 during their next tenure. During the Prabhu’s time, it is down to 115 a year. Another argument, which go against Prabhu is the number of deaths happen in these accidents. The ministry’s data show that 193 passengers died in derailments in 2016/17 -highest in one decade. A year back the number was 56.