CHENNAI: Travel time of express, superfast, passenger and premier trains across the country is likely to increase by 15 to 30 minutes. The change is expected to come into effect in the new time-table which is to be released on August 15. In an order issued recently, the Railway Board instructed all zonal railways to take necessary measures to implement the decision taken during the Chief Traffic Planning Managers (CTPM) conference held on July 5, regarding maintenance of tracks and train punctuality.
The competent authority of the Indian Railways has advised the zonal railways to identify four-hour corridor block (for track maintenance) a day and incorporate the change in the time-table. “Wherever four-hour block is not possible, 2.5 to 3-hour block may be taken by suitably adjusting passenger trains and intercity trains,” said the board order.
In addition, five to six hours integrated block on Sunday may also be planned by through cancellation, regulation and diversion of intercity and passengers, adding the railways. “Line block is to be incorporated in the new timetable for all the sections on the daily and weekly basis. This means tracks will be closed for maintenance regularly and thereby travel time will get increased,” said a highly placed official who is privy to the time-table preparation. The official added that travel time is also altered for trains which get delayed regularly due to terminal congestion and want of rakes. “We expect the travel time of trains to be increased by 15 to 30 minutes,” added the official.
Premier trains including Shatabdi, Duronto and Rajdhani operated in highly congested routes may also not be spared in the new timetable. The Chennai-Gudur, Chennai-Jolarpettai, Chennai-Chengalpattu, Chennai Egmore-Korukkupet, Jolarpettai-Salem, Tirunelveli-Nagercoil and Kanniyakumari- Thiruvananthapuram are some of the high-density routes in Tamil Nadu. According to the white paper on the Indian Railways tabled in Parliament in February 2015, the Indian rail network has 1,219 route lines across the country, out of which 492 lines (40 per cent) are utilised above 100 per cent.
The Southern Railway, which caters for Tamil Nadu, Kerala, parts of Andhra and Karnataka and the Union Territory Puducherry, has 131 route lines, out of which 25 routes are utilised between 100 and 120 per cent, while 15 routes are utilised about 120 to 150 per cent. “A route is considered saturated if the track utilisation exceeds 80 per cent. Out of 17 routes identified as high-density routes, 12 routes have exceeded the 100 per cent utilisation in Southern Railway,” said sources.
Chennai-New Delhi, Chennai-Howrah, Kolkata-New Delhi, Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-New Delhi are some of busiest corridors
Expected delay in travel time of trains after the recent order of the Railway Board regarding maintenance of tracks
Zonal railways told to identify four-hour corridor block for track maintenance
Out of 131 in Southern Railway are utilised between 100 and 120 per cent