Millennium Post
Big Story

Speed benchmark to classify trains as 'superfast' quite 'low': CAG report

Speed benchmark to classify trains as superfast quite low: CAG report

New Delhi: The 55-kmph benchmark is quite "low" for classifying trains as "superfast", the CAG has said while highlighting that many such trains run below the minimum speed.

In May 2007, the Indian Railway decided that if the average speed of a train, in both up and down directions, is a minimum of 55 kmph on broad gauge and 45 kmph on metre gauge, it would be treated as a 'superfast'.

In November last year, the Railways had stated the extant policy for categorisation of services into 'superfast' stipulates that such trains should have an average end-to-end speed of above 55 kmph.

"The reply is silent on the fact that 123 trains categorised as superfast were actually scheduled for running at an average speed less than 55 kmph fixed under the extant policy," the Comptroller and Auditor General of India stated.

It noted that the "benchmark of 55 kmph for classifying a train as superfast is itself low, given the MPS of rolling stock and sectional speed".

The criteria for classifying trains as 'superfast' has not been changed since 2007, the CAG stated.

"Audit found that out of 478 'superfast' trains of the Indian Railway, the scheduled speed of 123 'superfast' trains was less than 55 kmph," it mentioned in its report submitted on Wednesday.

The CAG audit also found that amid little improvement in average speeds, the travel time of trains has increased over the past few years and that overall punctuality has declined. A review of the Complaint Management System by the CAG revealed there was a sharp increase in the number of complaints about punctuality in the Indian Railway.

During the periods 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18, the number of complaints lodged in the system for late running of trains was 9,112, 20,025 and 35,793, respectively.

The complaints increased to 40,077 in 2018-19, a 340 per cent rise since 2015-16.

The audit also found that for mail and express trains for 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 an average of 13,15,456 trains were reported through the integrated coaching management system each year.

Of these, only 29.64 per cent (3,89,877 trains) reached on time and 20.17 per cent (2,65,391 trains) arrived before time. The remaining 50.19 per cent (6,60,188 trains) were delayed.

Before-time cases indicate poor timetabling by the provision of extra running time.

"The audit is of the view that punctuality measured on terminating basis does not conform to global best practices. It noticed that by computerized timetabling, the grouping of trains, conflict resolution and integrated maintenance, punctuality of trains can be improved," the CAG report noted.

Next Story
Share it