More Indian Railways train halts! Piyush Goyal approves 500 extra stops this year; here’s why

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Published: March 5, 2019 12:46:41 PM

As per calculations by Indian Railways, a sum between Rs 12,716 and Rs 24,506 is used by the ministry for a stoppage to a long-distance train, depending on traction, composition along with other factors.

At least 500 additional train stops across the country have been approved by the Railway Ministry this year.

Additional stops for Indian Railways on way! Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry has fast-tracked approvals to MPs who have asked for additional train stops in their constituencies. According to an IE report, at least 500 additional train stops across the country have been approved by the Railway Ministry this year, other than approving a new railway zone in the state of Andhra Pradesh. With the approval of 500 extra train stops by the Modi government in the last three months, there has been a huge jump from the financial year 2017-2018, when only 154 such train stops were approved. According to sources quoted in the report, the exercise has gained momentum before the Model Code of Conduct kicks in for Lok Sabha polls 2019.

Such train stops are referred as “experimental stoppages” by Indian Railways for six months but they are hardly ever withdrawn even if the national transporter stands to gain little from them. The elected representatives look for halts for popular train services by writing to the Railway Ministry, following which each request is processed separately in terms of viability and goes for final approval to the Railway Minister. In UPA’s last year in 2013-2014 alone, 900 stoppages were approved and in the second tenure of UPA, as many as 2,472 train stops were added. On the other hand, so far, the Modi government has approved just half of that, even with the recent approvals by Piyush Goyal.

As per calculations by Indian Railways, a sum between Rs 12,716 and Rs 24,506 is used by the ministry for a stoppage to a long-distance train, depending on traction, composition along with other factors. The money invested by Indian Railways for creating a new stoppage needs to be recovered from ticket sales at the halt railway station. Moreover, it should not adversely impact the running time of the train, the report said.

As Indian Railways mostly loses money and the move usually impacts mobility in the network, railwaymen, in reality, frown on requests for train stoppages. Officials said that as per 2014 calculations, the national transporter loses around Rs 1 crore per day on account of unwanted train stops. According to Railway Board Member (Traffic) Girish Pillai, mobility is not disturbed by stoppages. He said that the railways ensure that the additional stops do not affect the mobility and therefore, they are distributed that way. In any case, these extra stops are experimental halts, he added.

Sources said that by January 31, 291 stoppages were approved this year. Moreover, nearly 200 halts were already approved and were awaiting implementation around that time, they added. Mostly, these are on routes which are choked and any additional stoppage adversely impacts the network capacity, the report said.

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