Both passenger and freight trains are packed, slow, and under-powered. Fares haven't increased for seven years while inflation increases at least 4% annually. Railway ministers often consider their own political agenda, as well as their party's, before modernization plans for the railways.
"A 40,000-mile, 150-year-old network, Indian Railways is often described as the backbone of this nation's economy. [See video].
As the world looks to India to compete with China as a major source of new global economic growth, this country's weak transportation network is stalling progress.
It is one of the many ways that the political realities of India's clamorous democracy stand in contrast to the forced march that China's authoritarian system can dictate for economic development.
Traffic between big cities like Mumbai and Delhi, for instance, often runs at more than 120 percent of planned capacity, which means trains travel more slowly and tracks wear out faster than intended."