Top 8 Factors Determining Train Punctuality in India

Indian Railways transfer almost 2 million people every day. The railway tracks have reached to every nook and cranny of Indian terrains interlinking the long-distance places of India. No doubt, Indian Railways have introduced some of the most expensive and luxurious trains and the count of premium trains are quite long. However, the premium trains segment including Rajdhani express, Duronto and Shatabdi trains, being the pride of India, maintain their punctuality. In spite of being the major medium of transportation, the trains are also accused for being an “unpredictable means of transport” as the delay in trains are quite common in the Indian Railways which is a major issue.

There’s no surprise that we have spotted many passengers with their luggage on the station waiting for their train and frequently checking the train running status. It feels really annoying when the train moves slowly and reaches at the destination late. With the rapid development of the Indian Railways and the advanced railway services like convenient amenities at railway stations, online IRCTC services and ordering food online in train are the parameters which denote the dedication of Indian railways towards passengers’ comfort. Undeniably, the IRCTC online applications have helped the passengers to plan their journey easily; still the issue of the late arrival of train exasperates the passengers.

There are some obstacles on the way to railway movement that hampers the railway transportation. To answer the most awaited question “Why trains get delay”, here’re some of the top reasons that affect the train punctuality in India. These reasons naturally hamper the movement of the trains as a result your train gets delayed.

  1. Natural climatic change:
    Climatic change is the most influential factor in determining the speed and transportation system of Indian trains. Sometimes the natural climate becomes a big obstacle for operating trains. Squall, thunderstorm, and sometimes aggressive heat during summers affect the motion of the train. Most probably, due to climatic changes, the trains are rescheduled which causes delay in arrival of train at source station and as a result it reaches late at the destination.

  2. The Winter–wrinkle: Fog
    Fog is also a major reason for train delay in Indian trains. The railway tracks are spread through different paths and terrains. They have their own spiral and parallel type structure that makes the train to move through different directions. In the case of extreme fog which in turn gives a blur vision can lead to major accidents. To avoid such incidents the trains run slowly during the time of winters. In such a case the trains are re-scheduled, canceled or delayed for long hours.

  3. Engine Change
    Sometimes, to cover the long distance destinations, trains are required to change the engine after crossing a long run distance. However, the time taken in the changing the engine is not specified in the time-table and the trains reaches at the destination late than the specified time. In some trains, engines are switched from diesel to electric which requires heavy time leading to a delay in scheduled departure.

  4. Heavy Rainfall and Monsoon:
    Most of us love the rain. Don’t we? Have you ever experienced the small pearl-like drops coming all the way from tranquil sky? This view from any fast moving train is just awesome. But when it comes on its height, the same rainfall becomes a troublesome situation to handle by the Railways. Heavy rainfall can affect the movement of the train by placing it in a halt position in the mid of the journey. Also, during the time of heavy rainfall the train speed is slowed-down for maintaining the balance. Another serious issue is the water logging on tracks due to which the trains are re-scheduled or delayed.

  5. Crew Change
    It’s an important phenomenon in railway transportation. The trains are not handed by a single group of railway employees. The train driving is a rigorous task that requires high attention and mental stability. To maintain the energy of the crew members the trains are halt at certain stations where the crew members get changed. In this process, sometimes all the crew members are not present at that particular time to take their shift. Sometimes trains are kept halted at the station waiting for new crew members to handle the train further. This process is complex and rigorous that takes time. Duty timings of the loco pilots are also one of the major factors of determining the train speed and its timely departure.

  6. Water Refilling System
    To combat with the rising complaints of water crisis in trains, railways ensures that there are no water-related issues during the movement on tracks. Water refilling is done at various stations which is a time-consuming process leading to delay in trains.
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  7. Track Repairing
    The Indian Railways network is a wide spread transportation network that run on the iron-built tracks. Maintaining such a vast spread railway tracks is not an easy task. Many times due to the repairing of the railway tracks at the particular platform or in a route of a particular train, the trains are stranded in the mid way that affects the speed of the train resulting in train delay.

  8. Technical issues and over saturated routes
    This is also one of the major elements affecting the train scheduling system and speed. There are many lines which are all time busy with the trains passing by frequently. In such cases the premium trains are given preference first and other express trains are stranded in the mid of the way to wait for a signal to pass after the premium trains cross. Sometime coach and Engine related issue too affect the speed of the train.

These are the top factors affecting the speed and time-table of the trains operated by the Indian Railways. In spite of such factors the Indian Railways keeps on upgrading their services to make journeys a comfortable and pleasant one for the passengers. According to a report published in the Economic times the Indian Railways are maintaining almost 70 % of the train punctuality and steps are taken to improve it further.