Say goodbye to late trains! Indian Railways taking these 10 steps to ensure punctuality

Indian Railways’ new plan to ensure punctuality of trains is likely to cheer frequent rail travellers who complain about delays in journey. Focus on punctuality of trains is a welcome move, and one that will go a long way in helping Indian Railways improve its service standards.

Indian Railway new plan to ensure punctuality of trains is likely to cheer frequent rail travellers who complain about delays in journey. Focus on punctuality of trains is a welcome move, and one that will go a long way in helping Indian Railways improve its service standards.

Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways has come up with a two-stage plan to make sure that trains are punctual; this entails grading/giving points to trains on the basis of the minutes by which they have been delayed and tracking this indicator on a daily basis to come up with an average score. A report by Railway Board, seen by FinancialExpress.com, has details of the multi-pronged strategy that all divisions of Indian Railways have been asked to adopt for improving punctuality of trains.

For a long-distance train that is late by less than 10 minutes the highest grade of A (Excellent) will be awarded, implying a score of 5. A delay between 10-20 minutes would earn a grade of B (Very Good) with a score of 4; between 20-40 minutes delay is grade C (Good) with 3 points; 40-120 minutes is D (Fair) with 2 points. While a delay of over 2 hours would get the train E grade (Bad) and a score of 1, cancellation would also earn E, but with 0 points.

For short distance trains, the criteria is stricter; A grade (5 points) for delay of less than 5 minutes; B grade (4 points) for delay of less than 15 minutes; ; C grade (3 points) for delay of less than 30 minutes; ; D grade (2 points) for delay of less than 45 minutes; and E grade for less than and beyond 90 minutes (1 point for <90 minutes and 0 for > 90 minutes).

The final percentage of punctuality will be arrived at by multiplying the number of days with respective points for those days, adding each up, dividing by the total number of days and multiplying by 100.

Apart from grading each train, the second stage of the crucial plan has a list of short-term and long-term measures that various divisions have to implement – the instructions for which have been issued by the Railway Board. In the short-term to increase the punctuality of trains, Indian Railways proposes to do the following:

1. Cordon off tracks with the help of fencing to prevent cattle, humans and vehicles from trespassing
2. Eliminate surface and unmanned level crossings
3. Curtailment of halt timings
4. Using dataloggers for automatic feed of train numbers and timings in the control office application

5. In case a train does not meet a set occupancy rate, then it will be cancelled and the passengers adjusted in other trains. This would help in better capacity utilisation of existing tracks
6. Along the golden quadrilateral route, slow moving passenger trains will be replaced with MEMU/DEMU
7. There will be standard composition and formation of similar category of trains namely; Shatabdi, Rajdhani, Mail Express and passenger trains.
8. In congested sections, locos will be changed instead of reversal. Maintenance of rakes and assets will be man-hour based.
9. Line box will not be used any more so that the handing or taking over time will be reduced
10. Adequate number of spare parts for both ICF and LHB-type coaches should be made made available to avoid delays due to maintenance related issues.

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In the long-term, Indian Railways hopes to put in place automatic signalling instead of ‘Absolute Block System’; have separate corridors for main and suburban lines; also separate corridors for goods and passenger trains; expedite the process of right powering of coaches and goods trains; and maintain a speed of 30 kmph and above for crossovers. Additionally Indian Railways plans to develop capability that allows for locos to be maintained in any shed of the network instead of only the home shed. Indian Railways has also decided that electric-cum-diesel locomotives should be developed for sections that have OHE (Over-head equipment) and those that don’t.

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