NEW DELHI: The punctuality of Mail/Express trains improved to 74% in the first six months of the current financial year due to honest reporting of delays, efforts by railway employees, minute analysis of routes and close monitoring.

According to the average of punctuality performance from April to September in the financial year 2019-20, Mail/Express trains reported 74.21% punctuality compared to 67.05% in the financial year 2018-19.

On the other hand, the punctuality performance percentage of passenger trains of Indian Railways also improved to 70.54% compared to 66.58% from April to September in the financial year 2018-19, said a Railway official.

In case of Rajdhani, 18% of them and 9% of Shatabdi trains were running late during the first six months of this fiscal, according to an RTI reply. In the 2018-2019 fiscal, 23% of Rajdhani trains and 13% of Shatabdi trains were delayed.

In a RTI query, Bhopal-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur had asked the railways for its punctuality figures. The data shows that while the railways has managed to improve the performance of Garib Rath Express from 60% in 2018-19 to 65%, the performance of Suvidha trains have come down from 64.87% the previous fiscal to 47% till September of 2019-2020.

For attaining accuracy in punctuality data, the timing of arrival and departures are prominently being captured automatically through data-loggers. It is being monitored through dashboards called “Rail Drishti” at the highest level to promote punctuality, said the Railway official.

The improvement, he said, has been on the back of several measures taken by the Railways, including rigorous monitoring at Divisional, Zonal and Railway Board levels, removal of infrastructure bottlenecks in a planned manner and high capacity water pumps at watering stations to minimise detentions on this account. The Indian Railways has also rationalised the time table in order to make a group of similar speed trains and curtailed stoppage time at major terminals.

Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has been working hard to ensure punctuality of trains. During a review meeting, he directed all zonal railways to run trains at the maximum permissible speeds. All factors which contributed to the slowing down of trains, such as unmanned level crossing, non-interlocked sections and single-line operations, are being eliminated on a fast-track mode, the official said.

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