Indian Railways and Disaster Control.
Indian Railways (IR) is India’s national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways. It manages the fourth largest railway network in the world by size, with a route length of 67,368-kilometre (41,861 mi) and a total track length of 121,407-kilometre (75,439 mi) as of March 2017. Indian Railway (IR) runs more than 20,000 passenger trains daily, on both long-distance and suburban routes, from 7,349 stations across India. The industry employs thousands of people across the subcontinent. Considered as the lifeline of major metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi, Indian Railways is a powerful, safe, and economical medium that takes people to and fro daily. While nothing outruns the widespread charm of Indian Railways, the industry is sometimes forced to a standstill in front of nature.
The 1999 Odisha Cyclone struck the eastern coast of India, knocking out whole swaths of the Indian Railways Network, bringing the eastern IRN system to a halt. Cyclones Hudhud and Phailin caused similar mayhem in 2014 and 2013, while in 2012 power blackouts in northern and eastern India idled 300 intercity passenger trains and commuter lines. Closer to home, severe winter storms that hit Boston in 2014-2015 brought the MBTA mass-transit system to its knees.
As a solution to this problem, a Ph.D. student of Northeastern University, Udit Bhatia, under the direction of Auroop R. Ganguly, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has drawn on network science to develop a computerised tool for guiding stakeholders in the recovery of large-scale infrastructure systems. In addition to the IRN and MBTA, the method can be extended to water-distribution systems, power grids, communication networks, and even natural ecological systems. Bhatia says,
“The tool, based on a quantitative framework, identifies the order in which the stations need to be restored after full or partial destructions. We found that, generally, the stations between two important stops were most critical, alluding to the network science concept of “centrality measures,” which identify stations that enable a large number of station-pairs to be connected to one another”