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Aging railway tracks

March 15, 2019

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AS a child I used to excitedly love riding the train with my father on his official trips to various towns and cities. I enjoyed the rocking, rattling and jumping motion of the bogies.

Later, as a happily married young man serving with the government I had to repeat the same travels, but this time with family bag and baggage on postings.

The severe jumping and rattling of the bogies produced an uncomfortable sense of feeling with the glasses of water and the cups of tea moving around haphazardly on the bogey table. Walking to the toilet required quite a manoeuvring, not to mention what followed inside.

Fortunately, on a training trip abroad I had to undertake long trips by rail, both in cold, and in considerably warmer countries. I enjoyed every moment of the smooth motion of the train.

With my technical background and curiosity I inspected their tracks and its layout and found them free of any visible and dangerous twist or warpage.

The minister for railways has without any doubt in a very short time introduced new trains in the network to facilitate more middle and lower class of passengers.

But he should keep in mind the fact that some of the fatal derailments of the past were primarily owing to the weather beaten, technically obsolete, sub-standard aging twisted and warped tracks of the colonial era.

These should be thoroughly inspected and replaced with more metallurgical advanced tracks, particularly for the moderately high-speed trains.

Syed Rayaz Mehdi
Karachi

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2019