Last week, it came to notice that the railways reported 70 per cent on-time performance. However, in the last few months, the figure went down to 60 per cent, which means that 40 per cent of the trains were delayed.
Indian Railways zones come up with a new way to improve its punctuality record, but that doesn’t mean that passengers will be happy! When it comes to punctuality, Indian Railways has never been the best bet for most of us. This summer, the national transporter has seen one of the worst punctuality performances. Last week, it came to notice that the railways reported 70 per cent on-time performance. However, in the last few months, the figure went down to 60 per cent, which means that 40 per cent of the trains were delayed, states an IE report. Facing severe criticism for train delays, some zones of Indian Railways have decided to incorporate the delay by changing the run-time of trains in its timetable! Interestingly, the Southern zone of the national transporter has extended the run-time of 90 trains, changing it by 30 minutes to an hour, states the report. Additionally, the Northern zone has also proposed to delay the arrival times of around 95 trains, by 30 minutes to an hour.
The move has already been implemented by Southern Railway, which sought post-facto approval from the Railway Ministry while on the other hand, the Northern Railway has sought the permission of the Railway Board before implementing the move. As per the decision of both the zonal railways, the superfast trains which are affected will retain their tag, although their average speed is affected by the extended time on paper. The report also claimed that, under the change implemented by the Southern Railway, the average speed has reduced by around a couple of km per hour.
R K Kulshreshta, General Manager, Southern Railway was quoted in the report saying that the step has been taken as several trains were getting delayed due to ongoing engineering work on tracks. He also said that by extending the official run-time of trains in the timetable, people will not be inconvenienced. He also mentioned that safety is the main priority of the railways, followed by punctuality.
A senior Northern Railway official was quoted in the report saying that the step has been taken to rationalise the run-time of trains which were traditionally kept on very tight schedule, affecting the maintenance of trains. Further to this, he said that the move should be viewed in the context of some trains are delayed and many other trains speeding up with the view to ultimately increase the capacity of the network.
To see how the zonal railways are aiming to implement the change, the Railway Ministry has sought an explanation from the zones. The main concern is that the extension of run-times of trains should not adversely affect the line capacity of the already choked rail network, and paths, which are meant for other trains, the report stated. Many popular trains, mostly in the North to East sector, have been registering around 30-hour delays over the last few months. One of the reasons for the train delays has been the maintenance and repair work.