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Railways May Drop 600 Mail/Express Trains and Discontinue Link Coaches

NEW DELHI, Oct 16: In a bid to boost the financial health of the Indian Railways, the national carrier is learnt to be planning to drop some 600 mail and passenger trains from its list of the number of trains operated by it before the Corona-induced lockdown. It also might do away with some 10,000 odd halts, including some “night halts” which increase the running time and cost.

The railway board chairman V K Yadav while talking to media persons had given hints about possible drastic changes the Indian Railways was planning in its operations but did not give any detail. He said the new plan would come into operation when the new time table was implemented but he could not give the time-frame considering the given Covid pandemic situation. The new plan and the new schedule would come into force only when the Railways begin “normal operations” which he expected could be in the next couple of months.

The Indian Railway sources said under the new plan, about 360 passenger trains would be upgraded to mail/express trains and some 120 mail/express trains would be upgraded to super-fast trains to meet the passengers’ demand.

The railway authorities were also not favour of operating “link coaches” for different destinations under which a coach is detached from the main train at a particular location and re-attached to another train to take it to a destination different from where the original train was destined to reach. This helped the passengers of the originating station to travel to another destination unconnected with direct service without being required to disembark and re-embark from the train but the railway authorities find it to be cumbersome and financially non-viable. “It is better to run separate direct trains than link coaches,” the sources said.

The new time table was being planned in consultation with the IIT, Mumbai, the sources said. It also considering to operate freight services only through the dedicated corridor or at special time slots and also avoid arrival and departure of passenger trains at odd hours, particularly in late night hours which cause a lot of inconvenience to the passengers, the sources said.

(Manas Dasgupta)