Indian Railways has improved its punctuality as a result of which passengers have been able to reach their destination on time. According to statistics from the ministry, 93.29% of the trains have been punctual from April 2021 to November 16, 2021. This is in contrast to the period between April to November 2019 when only 75.67% of trains used to run on time.
This, according to officials, could be due to rigorous maintenance work during the complete lockdown last year. Officials also say that to maintain these coaches, they have increased their maintenance time for better performances.
As per the official data, 68.19% of trains were punctual from April-November 2018, which improved to 75.67% during the same period in 2019 (pre covid).
Explaining the reason for improved punctuality, a senior ministry official said, “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. Moreover, we also worked on the train table in a way that the trains are now able to get more time for their maintenance.”
According to data sourced from the ministry, some of the trains that have improved their running status include, 20801- Magadh Express (Islampur- New Delhi) that has improved its running status by 11%, 12393/94- Sampoorn Kranti Sup Express from Rajendra Nagar (Patna) to New Delhi and return, improved by 5%, punctuality of Lichchavi Express (train number:14005/06)- Sitamarhi to Anand Vihar (Delhi) improved by about by 7-8%, Kolkata Rajdhani that runs from Howrah to New Delhi and return (train number: 12301/02), has improved by around 7% and Bihar S Kranti that runs from Darbhanga to New Delhi and return (train 12565/66) has improved its running status by around 8%.
The ministry spokesperson said, “99% of trains have resumed operations. Around 1750 Mail/Express trains are running as of November 16. The average pre covid was 1768 Mail/ Express trains.”
“Average maintenance time of a train has been improved. If we had one hour dedicated for a train’s maintenance, then today we have allocated three hours. This has been done to give more time (than before) towards maintenance,” a ministry official explained.
However, a former member of transport said, “Improvement in train running status is a result of the number of trains on busy routes being lesser (than earlier) due to the pandemic, that led to restricted train movements. Due to this, the cascading effect of any failure would have been the minimum leading to increased punctuality.”