Trains in Kerala take to slow track

Late running of trains in the State at record high

May 30, 2018 07:30 am | Updated 06:36 pm IST - KOCHI

There seems to be no end in sight to the late running of trains in Kerala, with trains that arrive in Ernakulam, the State’s nodal station, being late by up to 22 hours during the past three months.

The travel app, RailYatri, has compiled data which reveal that 43% of the trains reaching Ernakulam Junction railway station arrive much later than their scheduled arrival time.

According to its findings, train number 12511 Gorakhpur-Thiruvananthapuram Raptisagar Express is the most delayed train in the past three months, while Patna-Ernakulam Express recorded an average of 15 hours delay during the period.

Track replacing

“Most of these trains from other States arrive in Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram Railway divisions late, due to various reasons. In Kerala, delay in replacing old tracks and in doubling tracks through Kottayam and Alappuzha further cause late running of trains. There was delay in sourcing tracks and other materials for track replacement,” confided senior Railway officials.

Railway passengers’ associations have been on the warpath, seeking steps to speed up trains, since commuting by bus is often slower and costlier. Regular train commuters, mostly women, reach the destination at late hours due to trains running late by many hours.

“Ernakulam Junction is an important station connecting many cities across Kerala and any delay here will have a direct effect on commuters’ travel plans,” said RailYatri's spokesperson Florina Soren.

Movement curbs

Responding to the issue, Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager Shirish Kumar Sinha said that a modern track renewal machine and allied equipment had been deployed to replace old rails with heavier ones. “Though trains can travel up to 100 kmph through these new rails, their speed is ideally 80 kmph due to steep curves and gradients in Kerala,” he said. Four-hour movement curbs are imposed at section blocks five days a week during the night to replace tracks. Trains operating through such areas are rescheduled or diverted. “I am monitoring track renewal works on a daily basis,” he said.

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