Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday equated the Indian Railways to a patient in an intensive care unit (ICU), saying that the state-owned transporter is hit by "neglect and lack of investment".

He said the government would spend $120 billion in the cash-starved public transporter in the coming five years.

"Because of neglect over several years, railways is suffering," Prabhu said at the Eastern Railways headquarters in Kolkata.

Prabhu said that the ministry is taking various measures to set things right, but the results will take some time to become evident, PTI reported.

"You cannot increase the number of trains or rolling stock with the given infrastructure," he said.

Explaining the current condition of Indian Railways, the minister said an "ICU patient cannot be expected to join a marathon race against the Chinese railway now".

"A marathon cannot be done by an ICU patient and today's Indian Railway cannot be compared tomorrow with Chinese railway," Prabhu said earlier at a Bharat Chamber of Commerce session.

He stressed that "the government needs time" to fix the problems currently faced by the railways.

"Many of the problems that we face today is because of the lack of investment in the past and also because modernisation has not been initiated in the railways," Prabhu said.

Earlier this month, the minister had said that Indian Railways was planning to announce quarterly financial results, similar to listed companies, to enable raising of funds in a big way.

By doing so, the world's fourth largest rail network intends to bring in more transparency in its financial operations. At present, information on accounts related to the railways is announced in the annual railway budget.