South Western Railways has doubled and commissioned 222 km of railway line in 2017-18 and this year, it has plans to double more than 250 kms of track.
HUBBALLI: Delay of trains in the jurisdiction of South Western Railway (SWR) will continue for another four to five years as the doubling works are underway in all three divisions.
SWR General Manager Ajay Kumar Singh has advised the public to look for alternative modes of transport, including private vehicles, to avoid inconvenience during this period.
“We are doing our best. The delays will continue for the next four-five years. People need to have (leisure) time in their pocket while travelling in trains as delay is bound to happen due to doubling. We are not delaying the train services intentionally,” he said.
Speaking after releasing the new time table of the South Regional Railways, which includes SWR, Southern Railway, South Central Railway and Konkan Railway at his office in Hubballi on Monday, he said last year (2017-18), SWR has doubled and commissioned 222 km of railway line and this year, it has plans to double more than 250 kms of railway line.
“SWR has doubled and commissioned the maximum number of railway route in India last year,” he said. The railways of America, Russia and other countries may be better, but in India, SWR is the best. Doubling of railway lines is expected to improve train carrying capacity of the route by one-and-half times.
Singh said, in 2017-18, SWR had introduced 20 new trains including two Janashatabdi express, two (double-decker) Uday Express, four Humsafar Express, six weekly express trains, two tri-weekly express trains, two daily express trains and two rail buses. He said SWR was successful in increasing the speeds of 31 trains, between five minutes and 75 minutes.
He said based on the request of various organisations and the public, timings of 112 trains had been revised for the convenience of passengers. This includes 82 express trains and 30 passenger trains. The details of the time change have been uploaded online. The new train timings came into effect on July 1.
He put the onus of starting new trains on members of Parliament. “If there is a political will and pressure from the elected representatives, we will start new trains,” he said and added that, at present, all the railway lines in SWR were carrying more than 100% of their capacity.
Singh said that Union government was considering the entry of private players in railway service. They are contemplating to allow private players to run trains on selected routes. This is expected to bring improvement in the railways, like it did in aviation sector.
He said currently the passenger trains, even if they are running at their full capacity, are inuring 50% loss to railways as for many years there has been no increase in fares.
“Railways is doing charity by running passenger trains and goods trains are donating their profit to run passenger trains at subsidised fares, which is why goods trains are given more priority than passenger trains,” he said.