Working on measures to cut down on Train delays: claims Railways

NEW DELHI: Delays in train travel are likely to come down. Faced with a public outcry due to late running of trains, railways has taken a slew of measures, which include paying dividends, to curb delays.

In fact, the transporter recorded a punctuality rate of 89.83% on Wednesday, an improvement over the 81.25% registered on the same day last year.

However, one of the reasons for trains sticking to their schedules in August was several cancellations due to floods in north-east. Railways officials say the congestion on high density routes such as Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai is a major reason for trains running late.

“The punctuality will significantly improve after opening of dedicated freight corridor earlier next year as this will ensure dedicated track for passenger trains,” said an official. The punctuality rate was 84.02% in the period between August 1 and August 16 as against 81.05% in the same period last year.

Incidents of delays due to asset failures such as track defects and rail fractures due to inadequate maintenance have also come down as railways focused on infrastructure enhancement and giving 13-14% more time for safety works after train operations were badly hit by several accidents and fog last year.

Also helping the cause of smoother train operations are some of the works which are getting completed after the transporter pumped in money on construction of additional loop lines at stations (so that more trains have parking space) and doubling and tripling on busy routes with higher passenger traffic.

“Opening of third line on Ghaziabad-Aligarh route and Bhopal-Bina route has helped in cutting delays,” said an official.

Along with strict monitoring by top brass, the railways’ decision to allow loco pilots to run the trains at maximum speed has also played a role in achieving a better punctuality record, said an official.

Steps are also being taken to cut down on delays by installing automatic signalling on more tracks, construction of subways replacing level crossings, rail underbridges and overbridges, he added.

Speed restrictions and cautions imposed because of construction activities along the tracks which adversely affected timings, have also come down.