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Riding India's railways

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A boy looks out of a compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train at a railway station in the old quarters of Delhi March 20, 2012. By the end of the day, about 40 people on average will have died somewhere on the network of 64,000 km (39,800 miles) of track. Many will be slum-dwellers and poor villagers who live near the lines and use them as places to wash and as open toilets. Some will have fallen off overcrowded commuter...more

A boy looks out of a compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train at a railway station in the old quarters of Delhi March 20, 2012. By the end of the day, about 40 people on average will have died somewhere on the network of 64,000 km (39,800 miles) of track. Many will be slum-dwellers and poor villagers who live near the lines and use them as places to wash and as open toilets. Some will have fallen off overcrowded commuter trains. Of the 20 million people who travel daily on the network, many will arrive hours, even a day, behind schedule, having clattered along tracks and been guided by signalling systems built before India gained independence from Britain in 1947. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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A man looks out of a compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train at a railway station in Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man looks out of a compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train at a railway station in Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Porters rest in front of the Kalka Mail passenger train at a railway station in the old quarters of Delhi March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Porters rest in front of the Kalka Mail passenger train at a railway station in the old quarters of Delhi March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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People eat snacks inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. By the end of the day, about 40 people on average will have died somewhere on the network of 64,000 km (39,800 miles) of track. Many will be slum-dwellers and poor villagers who live near the lines and use them as places to wash and as open toilets. Some will have fallen off overcrowded commuter trains. Of the 20 million...more

People eat snacks inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. By the end of the day, about 40 people on average will have died somewhere on the network of 64,000 km (39,800 miles) of track. Many will be slum-dwellers and poor villagers who live near the lines and use them as places to wash and as open toilets. Some will have fallen off overcrowded commuter trains. Of the 20 million people who travel daily on the network, many will arrive hours, even a day, behind schedule, having clattered along tracks and been guided by signalling systems built before India gained independence from Britain in 1947. To match Insight INDIA-RAILWAYS REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT SOCIETY POLITICS BUSINESS)

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Women sit next to a door as men eat snacks inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Women sit next to a door as men eat snacks inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in the northern Indian city of Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in the northern Indian city of Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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A man sits on a berth inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man sits on a berth inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Passengers sit on the floor while travelling inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Passengers sit on the floor while travelling inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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A warning sign is seen written on a shutter as a woman exits a toilet inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A warning sign is seen written on a shutter as a woman exits a toilet inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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A woman rest on a berth inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A woman rest on a berth inside the sleeper class compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Passengers travel inside an overcrowded general class compartment of the Kalka Mail train in Kanpur March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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Kamlesh, a government railway police constable, rests inside an air-conditioned compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Kamlesh, a government railway police constable, rests inside an air-conditioned compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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A man sells locks and chains inside a compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

A man sells locks and chains inside a compartment of the Kalka Mail passenger train on the way to Kolkata March 20, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

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