Indian Railways are inefficient. But why is it inefficient - is it the lack of investment in infrastructure like wagons and locomotives OR is it the lack of investment in upgrading the quality of the network or is it simply the fact that the network is inadequate to handle the traffic? The Covid pandemic has run a natural experiment. With passenger trains being curtailed, far fewer trains were running on the network.
What happens when fewer trains run on the Railway network? The ones that do run, go faster. A lot faster. Freight trains have run at an average speed of ~42-43m/hr so far this year as against an average speed of ~22-23 km/hr in the last few years. This suggests that at least one part of the answer as to why the Railways are inefficient lies in just the inadequacy of the network to handle the traffic. Here's hoping the coming online of the dedicated freight corridors helps with this situation.