Allahabad : The North Central Railway (NCR) appears to have pulled off a Houdini act by improving both infrastructure and punctuality of trains on its system, which is one of the busiest rail-routes of the country.
Level Crossing Gates on the main trunk route (Mugalsarai-Ghaziabad) are a major impediment in the smooth running of trains. In order to have a level-crossing-free trunk route, NCR is constructing Limited Height Subways (LHS) under the level crossings in order to give free passage to road users and to do away with the rail-road conflict. Over the period of past one year, till, 17th May, 2017, NCR has completed construction of LHS in 18 Locations on the Mughalsarai-Ghaziabad trunk-route while work on 5 more LHS is in progress.
Another critical work that was completed recently was the remodelling of the operationally-crucial Dadri yard which was undertaken for 12 days from 29th March to 22nd April, 2017. For completing this work, the yard was operated in the Non-Interlock mode for 12 days.
The impact of this Non-Interlock-remodelling work will now be seen in the form of the 3rd line between Aligarh and Ghaziabad becoming operational up to Ghaziabad, which formerly got terminated in Dadri. This will allow parallel movement of trains in the up direction on 2nd and 3rd line right up to Ghaziabad, thus easing the load of traffic on the existing ‘up’ line. In addition to these works, important capacity and throughput enhancement works have been completed.
These include relaxation of permanent speed restriction between Jhingura and Pahara Stations from 50kmph to 90kmph and, additional loop at Unchdih and Aligarh Stations along with commissioning of electrification of Cheoki-Shankargarh section in Allahabad Division, and Re-construction of washable apron on PF No 2 at Agra Fort Station (for which the platform had to be blocked for traffic for 12 days). A major doubling work between Jhansi and Parichha-comprising of a section of 22kilometers-is currently underway.
Concurrent with these capacity and throughput enhancing infrastructural works, the NCR has run 162 holiday specials on its already jam-packed system from February to 17th May, 2017 which is almost double of the 96 holiday special trains that were run by the zone in the same period last year. In addition to the special trains, 4 pairs of new trains have been introduced on the zone while a 5th pair had been extended from Kanpur up to Allahabad.
With so much action going on, common logic dictates that the railway zone should take a major hit on the punctuality of its trains. However, this is where the zone has pulled off the Houdini act. According to the latest figures from the Operations department of the NCR, the cumulative punctuality percentage of the trains on the NCR had actually registered an improvement when compared to the same period last year. As on 16th May, 2017, the cumulative punctuality percentage stood at 60.60 percent which is more than the punctuality percentage of 59.9 percent in the same period last year.
As any railwayman knows, it is no mean feat to do a balancing act between infrastructure works and maintaining punctuality on rail routes with high traffic density. That the NCR has managed to improve both is a feat worth an honourable mention.