Late Running of Trains to Continue for Two more years
KOCHI: Delayed arrival of trains in the Thiruvananthapuram Division of the Indian Railways is set to continue till 2019, thanks to tardy pace of replacing 110 km of track, according to senior railway officials.
At present, approximately 70% of trains in the division arrive late at stations, causing unrest among commuters. (This means passengers will have to put up with late arrival for another two years.)
Up to 35% of trains get delayed by 15 minutes or more. This in turn impacts trains that follow, affecting regular commuters, office-goers, women, aged people, and candidates appearing for tests and interviews.
Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager Prakash Bhutani said the division had obtained sanction to replace 140 km of ageing tracks.
“Only 30-km track has been replaced, while rails have arrived for another 10 km. The whole process will take up to two years, and passengers will have to bear with us for late / slow running of trains. All trains will operate according to the timetable from then on,” he added.
During his recent visit to Kerala, the Chairman of the Railway Board had reiterated that safety had to be accorded priority, even if trains had to run late. “The late running of trains has been accentuated by the fact that 150 temporary halts were sanctioned for passenger trains between 2014 and 2016. The halts are still in place even now. A train slowing down to halt at a station and then picking up speed takes up to 10 minutes. A slow-running train further slows down those that follow,” Mr. Bhutani said.
Now, trains are blocked for up to two hours at sites where tracks are being replaced. This leads to piling up of trains and the subsequent cascading effect wherein all trains running on the route suffer delay. Using this manual method, less than 300 metres of tracks can be replaced in two hours as sleepers are inserted manually. Up to 3 km of tracks can be replaced using machines, provided the track is blocked continuously for six hours. But it will require cancellation of many trains.
The availability of double tracks in Kottayam and Alappuzha may help in avoiding delay in services. However, doubling is pending on four stretches in Kottayam. In Alappuzha, doubling work is in progress on two stretches, with the result that only a single track is available in the rest of the district.
Citing the urgent need to speed up trains in the State, Thrissur Railway Passengers’ Association (TPRA) general secretary P. Krishnakumar said one or two tracks could be added to busy sectors like the Shoranur-Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram-Kayamkulam routes, as mooted by the Railway Board. “The ongoing doubling works must be sped up. Else, commuters will shift to private vehicles and buses, further worsening congestion on highways and towns,” he added.
Source: The Hindu