In response to an RTI query, the national transporter has stated that the number of cancelled train services has been the highest since the year 2014.
Indian Railways train cancellations go up! Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways cancelled over 3,000 trains during 2019, but the reason for that was maintenance works. In response to an RTI query, the national transporter has stated that the number of cancelled train services has been the highest since the year 2014. According to an Indian Railways official quoted in a PTI report, this indicates that Indian Railways has undertaken large-scale development and repair projects, which after the completion, will make the entire railway network more modern and safe. In the year 2014, a total of 101 trains were cancelled due to maintenance work. The number of cancelled trains increased to 829 in 2017, followed by 2,867 in 2018.
As many as 3,146 trains were cancelled in 2019 because of maintenance work, the reply for the RTI query stated, which was filed by Madhya Pradesh-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur. As per the reply, last year, between January 1 and September 30, as many as 2,251 trains were cancelled and between October 1 to December 31, as many as 895 trains were cancelled due to maintenance works.
According to the official, in the year 2019, the national transporter completed seven of the 58 super-critical projects underway on congested Indian Railways routes. One of these projects was finished in the year 2018, while the remaining 50 projects will be completed by March 2022, officials said. They further said that the ongoing large-scale works on Indian Railways network have led to cancellations as well as delay of trains. But all these works are essential, which had been pending for a long period of time. The national transporter aims to complete the electrification of its network by December 2023, they said. Also, Indian Railways has set a deadline to complete all sanctioned works for gauge conversion by December 2023 as well as doubling of routes by March 2024.
The maintenance work includes upgrading of platforms, railway tracks, and yard lines. For train accidents, poor maintenance of tracks and pending rail track works are some of the major reasons. In the last five years, over 50% of accidents were due to derailments. Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways is also in the process of expanding capacity as well as modernizing infrastructure. An amount of Rs 12,000 crore has been allocated in the budget to build new rail tracks in 2020-21, up from Rs 7,881 crore in the financial year 2019-20. This fiscal, Rs 8,461 crore was spent for track renewals, which will rise to Rs 10,599 crore in the financial year 2020-21, the report said.