For Indian trains, it’s better late than never

The Japanese obsess over the punctuality of their trains, the Swiss take pride in their federal railways being Europe’s most punctual train company, but in India, it is safety over punctuality.

Published: 07th January 2018 03:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2018 09:52 AM   |  A+A-

The Japanese obsess over the punctuality of their trains, the Swiss take pride in their federal railways being Europe’s most punctual train company, but in India, it is safety over punctuality.. (PTI File Photo)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Japanese obsess over the punctuality of their trains, the Swiss take pride in their federal railways being Europe’s most punctual train company, but in India, it is safety over punctuality.
For the third year running, the punctuality of trains has fallen because priority is being given to safety-related infrastructure work such as track maintenance.

Things came to such a pass that every fourth train ran behind schedule in 2017, some even more than 24 hours late. Data for train punctuality between April and December 2017 shows that 16,000 more trains lost on punctuality during the same period the previous year.

The punctuality rate currently is 74.5 per cent as compared to 78.2 per cent in 2016 and 85 per cent in 2015. The punctuality of trains suffered in all categories, from superfast trains to mail and express trains.
Of the 1.09 lakh trains that were not punctual, nearly 40,000 were due to capacity constraint on the railway network. About 30,000 trains could not reach on time because of malfunctioning of wagons, locomotives and over head cables, among others.

The rest 35,000 trains were delayed because of traffic blockade for maintenance work, bad weather, law and order problem, cattle run over and rail blockades by agitationists.

Explaining the delays, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said priority was being given to safety. “The punctuality of trains has suffered as the priority is to complete the pending track maintenance work. Track maintenance requires traffic blockage and we decided not to compromise on that. This financial year, railway is likely to carry a record track maintenance work of over 4,000 km against 3,000 km in 2016. In November 2017, track maintenance touched 399 km against the average of 233 km per month,” Goyal said.

Some of the major train accidents in 2017 were attributed to poor track maintenance and shortage of time for traffic blocks. The Utkal Express derailment that killed 23 passengers in August 2017 was the result of unfinished maintenance work.

According to the railway ministry, there has been a 43 per cent increase in traffic block to augment the infrastructure. “The punctuality graph is likely to fall further with the ongoing foggy weather in northern and central India,” a senior official said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments(1)

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Vijay Srinivas

    Safety is equally important
    4 months ago reply