IRCTC special trains alert! In a bid to ensure full punctuality in the running of 230 IRCTC special trains, which consists of less than two per cent of the 13,000 train services that generally run on the Indian Railways network, the Railway Board has sent a message to all the zonal railways. According to sources quoted in a PTI report, a message has been sent by Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav to all General Managers as well as Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) to ensure that the 15 pairs of IRCTC Rajdhani special trains and 100 pairs of IRCTC special passenger train services stick to their schedule without any delays. The zonal heads have been asked by the Chairman to monitor the punctuality of these IRCTC special trains, adding the number of trains being run on the Indian Railways network is small at present, so the punctuality of these trains has to be 100 per cent.
The Railway Board Chairman has also asked the seven zonal railways namely, East Coast Railway, East Central Railway, Central Railway, West Central Railway, South East Central Railway, Northern Railway and the North Central Railway, to identify the issues that are causing loss of punctuality as well as to take remedial measures. According to the report, these are the zones of Indian Railways, in which most of the loading of freight train services take place. Also, most of the freight trains run in these zones.
In the financial year 2019-2020, the East Coast Railway zone had loaded 200.85 MT of freight, the most among all the railway zones. This was followed by the South Eastern Railway zone, which carried 171.11 MT of freight, South East Central Railway, which carried 169 MT of freight and East Central Railway which carried 148 MT of freight during the financial year 2019-20.
According to the sources quoted in the report, because of the COVID-19 protocols involved, 50 per cent of these special train services were running two hours behind their schedule, right at the origin stations. The protocols prescribed to prevent the novel coronavirus infection such as thermal screening of every passenger to ensure that only those who are asymptomatic can board the trains, observing social distancing norms, ensuring Aarogya Setu mobile app is downloaded by the passengers on their phones- is taking a lot of time at the originating railway stations, they said. Recently, in order to avoid crowding at the railway premises, the national transporter had appealed to all passengers to come to the railway station 90 minutes in advance and not earlier than that.