Security concerns, which led the South Eastern Railway (SER) to suspend night-time running of trains on the Maoist-affected Kharagpur-Adra and Kharagpur-Rourkela sections in the wake of the derailment of the Jnaneswari Express on May 28, has played havoc with train timings and maintenance schedules.
Punctuality of trains is the biggest casualty as timings have to be shuffled everyday. Plans to extend the suspension for another five days will worsen the situation, it is feared.
The SER authorities put the overall punctuality of trains in these two sections after the night-time suspension at 76 per cent as opposed to the average 83 per cent recorded under normal circumstances.
According to an official, several trains have to be either cancelled or rescheduled or diverted or have their routes changed due to the regular seven-hour-suspension of services (from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.). “Since May 30, when the services were normalised, every day three trains have to be cancelled, eight trains re-scheduled, one diverted and the routes of two other trains changed. It is affecting the services as well as causing passenger inconvenience,” the official said.
The maintenance rota of the rakes and the working schedules of the loco pilots and guards are also getting affected. The SER authorities also apprehend significant monetary loss due to booking cancellations.