Train travel is much more than just a mode of transportation. Throughout time, “riding the rails” has been portrayed as an exciting and romantic way to travel. Whether you choose the Orient Express or the Northeast Express, train travel has many advantages. It’s a great way to enjoy the countryside in relative comfort and, if you travel on a rail pass, it’s also very economical. As with everything else, train accessibility varies throughout the world. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the major rail systems throughout the world and see how they stack up access-wise. Access varies, depending on the route and the train, but all Amtrak trains have at least one accessible coach car. Amtrak passengers can either travel in their own wheelchair or opt to transfer to a coach seat.
All trains have wheelchair spaces, although no lock-downs are provided on intercity trains. Some cars only have one wheelchair space, and no cars have more than two wheelchair spaces. Many trains have accessible bathrooms, but the configuration varies depending on the train. Make sure to inquire about bathroom accessibility when you make your reservation. Don’t be afraid to ask for the dimensions and measurements of the onboard bath- room, as size varies from train to train. Most onboard bathrooms are smaller than their land versions, so don’t expect to find features like a 5-foot turning radius in the stall. They are accessible to a large majority of the population, but it’s always best to ask for measurements in advance, so that you won’t encounter any unexpected surprises.
Indian railways are the Asia’s largest and world’s second largest rail travel network under a single management. It is helping for the Industrial and economic growth for over 150 years. These are two main segments of railways – freight and passenger. The freight segment provides around 2/3rd of revenues and passengers 1/3rd of revenues. The total route length for railways was 63.5 thousands kilometers in 2005-06. 17.9 thousand kilometers were electrified during 2004-05; it carried 5,725 million of passengers and 666.5 million tones of freight traffic.
However, railways face the following problems:
1. The existing technology of both electric and diesel locomotive is very old.
2. The railway network is similar and inadequate when compared to the requirements of the economy.
3. Railways is also facing financial crisis. The traditional methods of increasing the net revenue like rising of tariffs and expenditure control are inadequate for generating the required levels of investment.
4. Because of social responsibilities, railways are forced to operate in number in un-remunerative lines and suffer heavy losses. Often, essential goods like food grains, fruits and vegetables have to be carried at a loss.
5. Railways also suffer from over crowding and poor passenger services.
In order to meet the above challenges, railways are trying to improve resource management. Rational price policy, increased wagon load, faster turnaround time, Public – Private Partnerships (PPPs ) , double line freight corridor for efficient freight movements are some of the steps taken in recent years.