Rail 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 the following disadvantages:
- Huge Capital Outlay: The railway requires is large investment of capital. The cost of construction, maintenance and overhead expenses are very high as compared to other modes of transport. Moreover, the investments are specific and immobile. In case the traffic is not sufficient, the investments may mean wastage of huge resources.
- Unsuitable for Short Distance and Small Loads: Railway transport is unsuitable and uneconomical for 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.
- Centralised Administration: Being the public utility service railways have 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.