By Anand Singh
New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) With Railway Minister Piyush Goyal emphasising on safety and improving infrastructure of the national transporter through mega investments and recruitments, deaths from train collisions or derailment in India have fallen by more than 84 per cent, a senior railway ministry official said on Tuesday.
“Deaths from accidents, collisions or derailments in last 12 months i.e. October 2017 to September 2018, have come down to 40,” a senior railway ministry official requesting anonymity told IANS.
He said that between October 2016 to September 2017, the death toll due to several reasons was 244.
“It is 84 per cent fall in the number of deaths,” he said.
The official pointed out that there has even been a drastic fall in the number people injured due to accidents or collisions or derailments.
“In last 12 months (October 2017-September 2018), only 56 people were injured as compared to 491 between October 2016-Sptember 2017, which is an 89 per cent decrease,” he said.
Citing the measures the railways has taken to improve its infrastructure, the official said: “In last six months i.e. between April 2018 to September 2018, the railways has laid, renewed and converted over 2,257 km of tracks on its routes.”
He said this was a 55 per cent increase in the rate of renewing, laying and conversion of tracks.
In the 2016-17 financial year, the railways had renewed, converted and laid about 1,459 km of tracks.
He said that due to all these measures even the punctuality of trains has increased drastically.
“The punctuality score has increased from low levels of around 62 per cent in April to 74 per cent in September-end.
The official said that the Konkan Railway has shown maximum improvement as 95 per cent of the trains were running on time in the zone.
The North Western Railway and Northern Frontier railway also posted punctuality figures of around 90 per cent.
“Ten out of the 17 rail zones have improved their on-time performance to 75 per cent,” the official said.
The official said that out of 17 zones, only three — West Central Railway, South Eastern Central Railway and Northern Railway — have trains with maximum delays and punctuality scores of 65 per cent and below.
The Indian Railways has installed automatic data loggers at 98 places across its routes, which became operational from April 1.
Soon after these became operational, a staggering 94 trains were found running late by more than six hours, but this decreased to 87 in May and 67 in June.
In March, 57 trains were found running late by more than six hours.
The official said that besides track renewal, the Indian Railways is also acquiring a Vehicular Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD) system to detect track faults at a faster pace. Currently, it is detected manually which takes longer time to complete a particular route.
The USFD can detect the flaws in the primary stage. All developed countries have the system to avoid the human element in detecting cracks in the rails.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)