Monday's tragic train accident, leaving 17 dead and scores injured – is the latest addition to the long list of accidents plaguing the railways.
Just looking at Bangladesh Railway's data from 2014-2020, it can be seen that 175 people died in railway accidents from 2014 to 2020. Out of these, 145 died at the level crossings, which is 83% of all rail accident deaths.
The accident that occurred in Chattogram's Mirsharai on 29 July was the start of a reminder of what has been happening on the railways for years.
Some 419 people died and more than 2,000 were injured in 4,914 train accidents that took place at different level crossings from 2005-2020 (both legal and illegal), according to media reports.
As per the data provided by the BR, there were no gatekeepers at 961 legal level crossings, turning them into hotspots for accidents.
The shortage and negligence of gatekeepers, pedestrians on rail tracks, negligence of drivers (of both locomotives and vehicles), and unplanned level crossings are some of the major causes of the accidents, say experts and BR officials.
To put things into perspective let us take a look at the major train accidents of the recent past making the country's rail tracks a death trap.
On 24 July, at least four people were killed and 20 others injured when a train hit a bus carrying garment workers on a level crossing in Gazipur's Sreepur.
On May 21, three people, including a local trader, were killed after their pick-up van was hit by a speeding train at an unmanned level crossing in the Pubail area of Gazipur district.
On 9 March, three students died in Cumilla's Sadar South Upazila after being run over by Chattogram-bound Mahanagar Provati express train.
On 2 February, at least three people were killed after their car was hit by a speeding train at an unmanned level crossing in Dinajpur.
On 26 January, four women were killed and four others injured when a train hit an auto-rickshaw carrying them at an unauthorised level crossing in the district's Sadar upazila.
The Railway Act, 1890, states that no one can walk on rail tracks as it is an offence with a maximum punishment of two years in jail. However, this has failed to stop pedestrians from taking the tracks.
According to media reports, at present, there are 1,468 authorised level crossings on railways across the country. At least 1,321 unauthorised level crossings were created in different areas, leaving them prone to accidents.
Besides, among the authorised level crossings only 564 are manned and 904 are unmanned as they were facing a serious manpower crisis, BR officials were quoted as saying by media outlets.