Can Railways in India be punctual??


The Indian railways, when it comes to punctuality have registered its worst performance in the past few years.

While the year 2015-2016 recorded 77.4 percent punctuality of trains, the subsequent years have seen a drop in that figure with 76.69% in 2016-17 and 71.39% in 2017-18.

Officials have said that the Railways is facing the punctuality issue due to the maintenance work was undertaken on a massive scale. Both mail and express trains have been running behind scheduled time because of over 15 lakh maintenance blocks that were put in 2,687 locations in 2016-17. This rose to 18 lakh in 2017-18 with maintenance work in 4,426 locations.

But the efforts are constant to make things bright.

The railways are considering adopting a Japanese software to help plan its train timetable, enabling it to account for every second on the railway network, officials said. A group of technical experts from Japan held a meeting with officials of the Transformation Cell and Coaching departments today in which a presentation was made on a cloud-based transit scheduling system, TrueLine, developed by Toshiba.

“The software is used to maximize utilization of tracks, engine, manpower, and coaches. It will tell us the number of halts a train needs and the time for each halt to ensure punctuality. It will help us plan to roll stock and how best to utilize them. The app has to, however, be modified in accordance with the Indian scenario,” said a ministry official.

TrueLine is currently being used by the Saitama Railway Corporation, which is a mostly underground rapid transit line in Japan and the Tokyo Waterfront New Transit Waterfront Line. It is controlled entirely by computers with no drivers on board.

In the latest timetable published by the railways, the national transporter cut short the running time of over 500 long distance trains by up to two hours. The railways also incorporated “innovative timetabling” under which running time of popular trains was reduced by 15 minutes to two hours and each railway division was given two to four hours for maintenance works. As of now, most of the scheduling work is done manually by the railways.

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.

Indian Railways hopes to put in place automatic signaling 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.

Many measures have been taken and some are still in progress but we need to see how effective they prove to be in the near future.


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