Advantages and Disadvantages of Railway Transport
Although railway transport has many advantages, it suffers from certain serious limitations:
- 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.
- Lack of Flexibility:
Another disadvantage of railway transport is its inflexibility. Its routes and timings cannot be adjusted to individual requirements.
- 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.
The time and cost of terminal operations are a great disadvantage of rail transport.
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.
- Unsuitable for Short Distance and Small Loads:
Railway transport is unsuitable and uneconomical for short distance and small traffic of goods.
- Booking Formalities:
It involves much time and labour in booking and taking delivery of goods through railways as compared to motor transport.
- 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.
- Under-utilised Capacity:
The railway must have full load for its ideal and economic operation. As it has a very large carrying capacity, under-utilisation of its capacity, in most of the regions, is a great financial problem and loss to the economy.
- Centralised Administration:
Being the public utility service railways have monopoly position and as such there is centralised administration. Local authorities fail to meet the personal requirements of the people as compared to roadways.