The overall punctuality rate of the trains in Indian Railways has increased to 82 %, which is higher than the punctuality rate exactly one year ago. The punctuality rate of Mail/Express trains has increased from last year’s 76% to 81% this year. A 5% improvement in punctuality of Mail/Express trains in a span of just one year is quite a remakrable achievement for the Indian Railways. Also, the punctuality rate of local trains has increased significantly from 74% last year to 77.5% this year.

In Indian Railways, punctuality percentage is calculated as :

(Number of trains running on time + Number of trains not losing time) * 100
                                        Total number of trains

The concept of not losing time means refers to the fact that if a train has entered a zone with a certain delay, and doesnt get delayed further in that particular railway zone, the train is considered to have ‘not lost time’ in that particular zone.

The major reason behind the improvement in overall punctuality of trains is Railway’s focus to improve the punctuality of trains on the Mughalsarai – Allahabad – Kanpur – New Delhi, which is the busiest route of Indian Railways, handles about 150 trains every day and is notorious for the delays of trains running in this section. As per North Central Railways, this route is oversaturated and is operating about 50 % more trains than it can handle, thereby resulting in delays. Through various methods such as auditing of traffic in this 761 kilometre long section, establishment of a centralised traffic control at Tundla, decongesting the bottleneck at Allahabad Junction by bypassing certain trains and automatic signaling in various yards, the railways have improved the running status of various important Mail/Express and Superfast trains such as Poorva Express, Sampoorna Kranti Express and Purushottam Express to name a few.

Indian Railways used to receive a lots of complaints regarding terribly late running trains in the Mughalsarai-New Delhi section since last many years, but previous governments constantly kept ignoring the problem of delays. Suresh Prabhu’s budget announcement was traffic auditing of this route and an establishment of Mobility Directorate to improve the punctuality of trains – both passenger and freights. Within a year, both of the budget announcements have been implemented and the results are right in front of our eyes.

Just a few days ago, Shri Suresh Prabhu also laid the foundation stone of automatic signaling of the 3rd line in the New Delhi- Aligarh section and the bidirectional movement on the middle line in the same section. The work, which is scheduled to be completed in one year, will further decongest the section and improve the punctuality of east-bound trains from New Delhi to Bihar, Up, Bengal and Odisha. Improvement in punctuality of trains is a very important and crucial step in improving the standards of train travelling. With many more concrete steps being taken by Shri Suresh Prabhu, the optimism is very high that the Railways, in a few years, will achieve a punctuality of over 95%.

Kshitij Mohan