93% of trains ran on time between April and November this year: Railways data

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New Delhi: Trains in India are now running on time as Indian Railways utilised the 2020 pandemic lockdown to do some serious maintenance of tracks, coaches and engines, officials said.

As much as 93.29% of the trains have been punctual between April and November 16, 2021, compared with 75.67% of trains from April to November 2019 running on time, and 68.19% between April and November 2018, railway ministry data show.

“Realising that not being able to dedicate required time for maintenance was one of the crucial reasons for poor punctuality rate, we decided to utilise the lockdown days to the fullest,” a ministry official said, requesting anonymity. “Moreover, we also worked on the timetable in a way that the trains are now able to get more time for their maintenance.”

Almost all trains have now resumed operations. “Around 1,750 Mail and Express trains are running as of November 16,” the official said. “The average pre-Covid was 1,768 Mail and Express trains.”

The national transporter has been able to improve the average maintenance time of a train. “If we had one hour dedicated for a train’s maintenance, then today we have allocated three hours,” the official said. “This has been done the zero-based timetable, with an aim to give more time towards maintenance.”

“Improvement in train running status is a result of number of trains on busy routes being lower (than earlier) due to the pandemic that led to restricted train movements,” said a former member of the Railway Board that oversees railways operations. “Due to this, the cascading effect of any failure would have been the minimum, leading to increased punctuality.”

Some of the trains that have improved their running status include 20801/02 Magadh Express that runs between Islampur in West Bengal New Delhi and has improved its running statues by 11%; 12393/94 Sampoorn Kranti Express between Rajendra Nagar (Patna) and New Delhi improved by 5%; punctuality of 14005/06 Lichchavi Express that runs between Sitamarhi in Bihar and Anand Vihar (Delhi) improved by about by 7-8%; 12301/02 Kolkata Rajdhani that runs between Howrah and New Delhi improved by around 7%; and 12565/66 Bihar Sampark Kranti that runs between Darbhanga and New Delhi improved running status by around 8%.

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