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Mumbai’s Deadly Trains

Given my recent trip to Mumbai – in which I took a trip on a very packed train – this story caught my attention:

Mumbai’s deadly trains claim a dozen daily

MUMBAI (AFP) – The death toll on Mumbai’s railways averages a dozen a day — more than a whole year on New York’s subway system, which has an average annual accidental death rate of eight.

In the first four months of this year, 1,146 commuters died and 1,395 were injured, railway police said.

Many of the victims had been hanging on the side of the packed trains, unable even to wedge themselves inside, and fell to their deaths after losing their grip, they said.

Last year’s total toll was 3,997 deaths and 4,307 injuries.

“We could enforce a limit on the number of people on a train but people still need to go to work. They’ll sit on the tracks and stop trains from moving,” Central Railways chief security commissioner BS Sidhu said.

A dozen a day? That is stunning to me. Now I know what my friend Kapil meant, when he asked if I wanted to ride the train there. His question was “Are you feeling adventurous?”

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June 27, 2008 - Posted by | India, mass transit, Mumbai

8 Comments

  1. It would be interesting to compare deaths per passenger mile traveled, as opposed to just the absolute totals, but still – yikes.

    Comment by mike c | June 27, 2008

  2. We tend to complain or feel put-out when we have to wait, stand in line, or when something trivial and/or larger happens with our car, cell phone,etc. I’m going to remember this the next time I think I’m having a bad day. There are so many things we take for granted that much of the world will never see. Thank-you….. for the lesson and for making me realize my day isn’t any where near as bad as I thought it was.

    Comment by Anonymous | June 27, 2008

  3. OT but perhaps RR’s next vehicle, if he can wait until 2010. VW Golf TwinDrive Hybrid

    Comment by KingofKaty | June 28, 2008

  4. The NYC subway has a weekday ridership of 7.7 million each day!
    http://www.apta.com/research/stats/ridership/riderep/documents/08q1hr.pdf

    I’m not sure how to reconcile that with the stats in the Mumbai article.

    Comment by clee | June 28, 2008

  5. Darwin Awards Mumbi.

    Comment by Death | July 1, 2008

  6. Hi Rob, I did 5 yrs on the western and central sub-urban lines in Mumbai from 1996 to 2001. Believe me, NYC or London train commutes are heavenly even at peak hours in comparison. It can be better but endemic corruption, massive influx of migrants from other parts of india etc. make it crazy. To give a perspective, the station of Dadar where the central and western lines merge briefly has 1 million people daily coming off or getting onto a train.

    Comment by Ravi | July 3, 2008

  7. Because atleast in the period i was using it, Dadar was the only place where one can switch from the western to central lines or vice versa

    Comment by Ravi | July 3, 2008

  8. Mumbai is at its core a triangular shaped group of islands merged together by filling up the creeks. The southern part of this triangle is one vertex, the other two are to the north ending at Dahisar and to the North East ending at Mulund.

    The majority of companies and workplaces are in a smaller region on the southern portion of the triangle between Andheri, Mulund and into the southern end.

    All suburbs and outer towns are either on the western line which merges with the wester railways all the way to the city of Surat 100 odd miles away.

    The central line splits at Kalyan and the central railways extend to Nashik in the north east and Pune at the south west.

    Commuters come from as far as Nasik, Pune and Surat, which are themselves significantly large cities.

    Add to this the daily influx from all other indian states and that means a high volume of unverified population on top of the official 15-20 million including suburbs.

    Hope this information gives a better picture.

    Comment by Ravi | July 3, 2008


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