It is encouraging to note that the government is working to bring the whole country under rail network to facilitate transportation of people and goods at a cheaper rate. Also, the government has taken various initiatives to upgrade and modernise the country's rail transport system.
It needs no emphasising that our highways are over burdened with more vehicles they can handle, which is causing fatal accidents on a daily basis. We must opt for rail travel in order to decrease the number of road accidents. Hence, the government should take necessary steps to upgrade the railway to world standard so that dependence on road transportation can be minimised.
Currently, bulk of human and cargo transportation takes place by roads despite the hazards of accidents that occur on a daily basis. In comparison, rail travel is much safer, cheaper and more comfortable than road travel. Road accident rate in Bangladesh is one of the highest in Asia. Rail accidents that occur are due to old and dilapidated tracks, engines and bad signalling system.
There is a need for a paradigm shift from continued investment
in the road sector, to developing the railway network
and improving its level of services
It needs to be mentioned that none of the previous governments of Bangladesh took any initiative for the expansion of rail network in the country. Bangladesh Railway has been providing the services with a network which is not suitable for and oriented to the traffic requirements of the country.
The railway network, inherited from British Indian railways, received a relatively meagre allocation of resources in the past decades comparing to the road sector. In a land scare country like Bangladesh, there is a need for a paradigm shift from continued investment in the road sector, to developing the railway network and improving its level of services.
A modern railway does not mean new machinery and equipment only. For the new generation speedy trains we need good and solid tracks and digitalised signalling system as well as well trained manpower. While new generation trained manpower has to be recruited, the mindset of the old staffs will need to be changed and they will need extensive training to be able to operate digitalised modern rail engines and signals.