Indian Railways, it appears, is taking serious note of the fact that its trains recorded a punctuality of just 70% in 2017-2018.
Indian Railways, it appears, is taking serious note of the fact that its trains recorded a punctuality of just 70% in 2017-2018. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman Railway Board, today held a video conference with the general managers of those zonal railways whose punctuality is less than 70%. According to sources that Financial Express Online spoke to, Ashwani Lohani has directed these zonal railways to review speed restrictions in their respective divisions to ensure faster and timely movement of trains. Indian Railways has come under criticism for its worst punctuality record in three years. While train delays have been attributed to the ongoing safety-related block maintenance work on various sections, it is clear that the Railway Board wants to improve punctuality of trains in the short-term as well. Sources told FE Online that the meeting was held with general managers of Northern Railway, North Central Railway, Eastern Railway, North Eastern Railway, South East Central Railway, East Coast Railway, East Central Railways and North East Frontier Railway.
According to sources, the punctuality performance of these zonal railways was discussed in detail for the current year. Ashwani Lohani has asked the general managers to ensure optimal utilisation of blocks. While stressing that maintenance work is important, Chairman Railway Board has directed these zones to maximise the output. “The Chairman Railway Board has ordered that the timing of more than half a dozen trains that are running too late for the last few days should be monitored,” sources added. In the financial year 2017-2018, the punctuality of mail and express trains was 71.39%. This is worse than the figure of 76.69% in 2016-2017 and 77.44% in 2015-2016. Indian Railways is looking to update its existing infrastructure to make it safer and also laying new tracks to augment capacity.
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Interestingly, even as Railway Board Chairman has asked 8 railway zones to review their speed restrictions, Indian Railways is already looking to raise speed limits on the golden quadrilateral and its diagonals. Key routes where Mail/Express trains along with Rajdhani Express run have been identified to raise the speed limit to 130 kmph.