Advantages and disadvantages of railway or train transport

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what is railway or train transport?

Railway transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods, by way of wheeled vehicles running on rails. It is also commonly referred to as train transport.

Railway transport has several advantages over other means of passenger or goods transportation, including:
Safety:  Railway accident averages and related injuries and deaths are much lower than those of other means of transportation such as motor vehicles.

ADVANTAGES OF RAILWAY TRANSPORT

  • Safety:  Railway accident averages and related injuries and deaths are much lower than those of other means of transportation such as motor vehicles.
  • Speed:  The Average time needed to transport people or materials from one point to another by railway has become quite competitive with other means of transportation, and is being continuously improved by increasing train speeds, reducing the length of their routes, etc.




  • Capacity:  Trains are capable of carrying a larger number of passengers and greater volumes of goods that other means of transportation cannot handle.
  • Comfort:  Trains offer passengers more comfort and freedom of movement inside the trains’ cars.
  • Environmental protection:  Trains are considered one of the most energy-efficient means of transportation. To transport one passenger one kilometre, a car needs twice to five times the energy consumed by a train. This average increases from four to eight times in the case of an aircraft.
Capacity:  Trains are capable of carrying a larger number of passengers and greater volumes of goods that other means of transportation cannot handle.
Comfort:  Trains offer passengers more comfort and freedom of movement inside the trains’ cars.




  • Traffic jam reduction:  Utilizing trains to convey such big numbers of passengers and high volumes of goods means fewer cars and trucks on the roads, i.e., fewer accidents, less pollution, and less time wasted.
  • Economic Feasibility: Based on the above benefits, railway transportation reduces the cost of transporting passengers and materials as well as road maintenance costs. 
Traffic jam reduction:  Utilizing trains to convey such big numbers of passengers and high volumes of goods means fewer cars and trucks on the roads, i.e., fewer accidents, less pollution, and less time wasted.
Economic Feasibility: Based on the above benefits, railway transportation reduces the cost of transporting passengers and materials as well as road maintenance costs.

DISADVANTAGES OF RAILWAY TRANSPORT

  • Huge Capital Outlay: The railway requires is a large investment of capital. The cost of construction, maintenance, and overhead expenses are very high as compared to other modes of transport. Moreover, investments are specific and immobile. In case the traffic is not sufficient, the investments may mean a wastage of huge resources.
  • Unsuitable for Short Distance and Small Loads: Railway transport is unsuitable and uneconomical for a short distance and small traffic of goods.
  • Monopoly: As railways require huge capital outlay, they may give rise to monopolies and work against public interest at large. Even if controlled and managed by the government, lack of competition may breed inefficiency and high costs. 
  • Centralized Administration: Being the public utility service railways have a monopoly position and as such, there is centralized administration. Local authorities fail to meet the personal requirements of the people as compared to roadways
  • No Rural Service: Because of huge capital requirements and traffic, railways cannot be operated economically in rural areas. Thus, large rural areas have no railway service even today. This causes much inconvenience to the people living in rural areas. 
  •  Lack of Door to Door Service: Rail transport cannot provide door to door service as it is tied to a particular track. Intermediate loading or unloading involves greater cost, more wear and tear and wastage of time.
  •  Lack of Flexibility: Another disadvantage of railway transport is its inflexibility. Its routes and timings cannot be adjusted to individual requirements.

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