NEW DELHI: Amid instances of huge rush of passengers and crowding in long distance trains, railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has directed officials to work on a plan to deploy special trains for the same destinations that can be run 30-40 minutes before or after the scheduled departure of popular trains which have high passenger demand. Work will start soon to chalk out “train path” to operate around 1,000 such trips in a year, which will have more general and sleeper coaches, sources said.
A train path is the infrastructure capacity needed to run a train between two places over a given time-period.Sources said these additional trains on high demand routes will have the same fare and will also have some AC coaches. “These won’t be replicas of popular trains since these will have not more than two AC3 coaches. The remaining coaches will be general and sleeper coaches. This will cater to a large section of passengers,” said a source.
Officials said running these trains with the current line capacity won’t be an issue. Currently, the railways operate around 3,000 mail and express trains daily.
Vaishnaw on Thursday held a review meeting with all members and senior officials of railway board along with general managers of zonal railways and divisional railway managers via video conferencing on issues, including overcrowding of trains, security, safety measures for operations and punctuality of trains.
TOI has learnt that considering the increasing demand, Vaishnaw asked officers to prepare the plan to ramp up production of general and sleeper coaches to 2,500 per year. “We need to have more general and sleeper coaches to run additional trains. As we augment the capacity, we will have enough scope to add more trains in the next couple of years,” said an official.
In an official release, the railway ministry said Vaishnaw emphasised that safety and infrastructure are paramount and there cannot be any compromise on these fronts. “On punctuality front, the minister directed officials to analyse the root cause of train detention on certain stretches which impact the overall punctuality. He said that unwarranted train detentions shall not be acceptable. Punctuality figures are to be strictly monitored and overall punctuality should be improved,” it said.

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