The railway commuter has a right to travel comfortably and safely without being charged extra as is the case with railway commuters worldwide and so the cost of running airconditioned local trains must be recovered by drastically slashing politicians perks, from railway fines advertisements and by subsidising these trains. Airconditioned double decker local trains are urgently needed for more comfortable travel. This can become a reality by modifying the pentograph or by lowering the compartments and providing a very good drainage system equipped with powerful pumps to prevent flooding of railway tracks during the monsoons. Strong air blowers can be installed in the compartments and an alternate power source like solar batteries with back batteries in case of a power failure. Fire extinguishers is necessary in all compartments to douse train fires and security cameras to prevent crime and high speed motors with back-up motors on the wheels of every compartment can help speed up the trains.
All trains must be painted both inside and outside with a non-stainable paint. All stations must have a station map, automatic non-scalable ticket-checking machines, consumer guidance kiosks to deal with commuter problems and address them quickly and efficiently. Escalators and railway bridges must be very well maintained and cleaned daily. Railway station platforms, roofs and ticketing counters and all railway staff must undergo compulsory courses once a month in ethics and etiquette. The same suggestions can help improve long distance trains but there must a lounge for first class passengers and it must be equipped with both pursers and hostesses to care of train commuters.
Hybrid diesel-electric cum electric locomotives must be used to haul all long distance trains to avoid changing the locomotive when an electric power source is unavailable and also as a back-up system when a particular power system fails. Sea-link railway bridges or under sea bridges can help shorten distances and connect states and countries. Roll off and roll off facilities on long distance trains can be used to ferry long distance commuter buses and freight trucks quickly and safely to their final destinations especially when distances are extremely long. Besides modernizing railways all railway terminuses must have railway museums and utilize steam locomotives to haul trains for tourist purposes besides keeping alive the nostalgia and good memories of these locomotives rather than letting them rot away and remain completely forgotten. Thus with continuous modernization train travel will be something that can be cherished rather than be detested – so it is time to bell the cat immediately rather than wait forever for meaningful change to take place.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)