Last year over 15,000 trains were affected by fog thus delaying their running. The railways’ punctuality rate in the 1st-16th April period was 5 per cent lower than that in the corresponding period last year, down from 84 per cent to 79 per cent. Punctuality has been the casualty when weather turns a spoilsport for railways though it accords a very high priority to the running of trains on time. Improving train operations is a continuous endeavour and several initiatives are being undertaken to improve timings. Capacity constraints and adverse weather conditions are some of the reasons for the delays. About 15,000 trains were affected because of fog from November last year to February, 2017. Though most trains continued to run despite the fog, about 3,700 trains were cancelled in 2016-17. Govt may be mulling steps including capacity enhancement projects, construction of additional loop lines at stations (so that more trains have parking space), doubling or trebling of track lines, using automatic signalling, constructing low height subways, replacing level crossings, constructing rail underbridges and overbridges etc. A performance analysis of zonal railways reveals that punctuality registered a sharp drop in all the zones. Traffic has increased manifold and the track lines have resulted in traffic, passenger and goods moving on the same track which is causing congestion and delays. Further speed restrictions and cautions imposed because of construction activities along the tracks also adversely affected timings. Capacity constraints because of the lines inability to handle any more have worsened the situation further. Punctuality should not be allowed to suffer, no doubt managing such a wide and vast network is no joke for any country.
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