The Indian Railways is one of the largest railway networks in the world. It has one of the most dense traffic routes. In order to mitigate the aftermath of accidents, the Indian Railways maintains 176 Accident Relief Trains, 86 Accident Relief Medical Vans and 90 breakdown cranes of 140 ton capacity. The Accident Relief Trains and The Accident Relief Medical Vans are made up of coaches pulled by a separate locomotive. Assembling the train takes time. Also the speed of these trains is limited.
As an upgrade of the system and to reduce the response time, the railways have decided to go ahead with development of Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains (SPART) and Self Propelled Accident Relief Medical Vans (SPARM). SPARTS operating at a maximum speed of 110 Km/h are being procured by the Indian Railways while specification for High Speed SPART (HS-SPART) which will operate at 160 Km/h have been developed and will be procured in addition to the SPARTs. The Indian Railways will also procure 175 ton cranes to replace the 140 ton cranes for better management and faster relief.
The idea behind the upgrade is to reduce the response time after an accident so that loss of lives can be reduced. In addition, Indian Railways has commenced conducting periodic exercises with the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) also.