Railways biggest blunder has been discouraging private players, which must be corrected with urgency. Investment is needed for debottlenecking the railway network and building new lines, plus for introducing state of the art safety mechanisms, wagons, engines and coaches, and also for stepping up the average speed of trains. All this will ensure better services and reduce travel time, helping reverse the recent fall in passengers. Indian Railways also has to do a better job of incentivising private investments in all major railway stations, alongside encouraging private passenger and freight trains and terminals, which would not only contribute to expanding the basic infrastructure but also boost growth. Revitalising Indian Railways would be good for passengers but it would also have the added benefit of reducing emissions from transport.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)