As far as the passenger train operation is concerned the sole and core factor that gauges its efficiency is ‘punctuality’. It is monitored at various levels of Railway Operation and management. It is an all-important index which decides the overall working of passenger operation. It is undeniable and understandable facts that image of Railways solely depend on this factor. Any deviation or dilution of punctuality will lead to doom and gloom on the part of everyone. Considering the essence of punctual running it is the endeavor of every railway man to strain every nerve to achieve this and no stone shall be left unturned.

Concept of punctuality:

Punctuality on its own cannot be defined like any scientific item. It differs with perception of persons. What is punctuality in the eyes of a passenger may not be the same from what railways perceive. Both are striking a different note.

Passenger’s perspective:

As far as a passenger is concerned, he is more guided and governed by timings mentioned in public timetable. Accordingly he wants and wishes the train shall and must arrive and depart asper these published timings. The ‘comings’ and ‘goings’ shall not only applicable to originating destination stations, but he expects punctuality at intermediate station also. A passenger views any variation as unpunctual; he will be upset and will be in a downbeat mood if the train has not adhered to the published timings.

Indian Railway’s perspective:

Indian Railways concept of punctuality is not the same as that of a passenger. Train working is inherited with certain innate qualities. As such train being ‘track bound’ the freedom of movement is possessed with certain limitations. In the case of railways a train is said to be punctual when it reaches its destination as per the arrival time given in PTT. It might not have arrived/departed from intermediate stations according to mentioned timings. Railways also wish passengers perception of punctuality to be fulfilled, but in actual working and in practice. It may not be possible due to its uniqueness in working.

Not loosing time (NLT) concept:

In Indian Railways trains are running from one end of a country to another covering a network of more than 63000 route kms traversing through sixteen zonal railways and many divisions. Separate administrative set up is available for each zone/division and efficiency in working is judged through such unit-wise. A late running of a train in one railway/division due to any reason cannot be accounted in another ones performance. The receiving railway/division cannot be forced to accept the responsibility for late reception. The reasons for unpunctual running may be genuine or in genuine. It is unwise and undemocratic to blame another railway/division for delayed running of the train over another one. Under these circumstances, a concept of not losing time is evolved.
This means, if a train is taken over by a railway/division from another railway/division with a late arrival of say 15 minutes and if its continues to run with the same late and handed over to another railway/division with same 15 minutes or may be earlier also, then as far as this railway/division is concerned the train has not lost any time further and said to be punctual. This concept is known as ‘NOT LOSING TIME’. In case if the train is handed over by 20 minutes late, then it is derived that the train has lost punctuality only by 5 minutes.

Calculation of punctuality: 

Punctuality is calculated for train wise (Mail, Express, passenger, suburban) and gauge-wise. The formula is expressed in percentage. Targets are fixed for Zonal railways. Punctuality statistics are maintained for trains reaching destinations at right time. Punctuality statistics on Division /  Railway is also maintained, so that trains are not late over a particular Division / Railway.



Factors affecting punctuality:

1. Operating Department:

  •  Faulty time tabling.
  •  Bad controlling.
  •  Late placement of rakes on platform.
  •  Extra time in shunting, loading & unloading.
  •  Signals is not taken off in time.(Rec.& Desp.)
  •  Delay by Station staff in asking, giving & handing over the Authority to proceed to LP.
  •  Missing token / tablet.
  •  To maintain connection with the trains arriving late.
  •  Late start of trains on account of Guard.
  •  Defective rake links.
  •  Extra time at road side station for shunting
  •  Improper planning at terminal facilities.
  •  Wrong Marshalling.
  •  Defective Loco pilot / Guard links

2. Mechanical / ACT(RS):

  •  Failure of Passenger / Goods loco.
  •  Engine defects.
  •  Coach failure.
  •  Hot Axle / Flat tyre.
  •  Late turning out of train engine from shed.
  •  Air pressure / vacuum trouble, brake binding etc.
  •  Time lost on the run.l

3. S&T:

  •  Failure of Points, track, signalling or interlocking.
  •  Failure of means of line clear working i.e. Block Instrument / Block Telephone etc.
  •  Failure of Control telephones.
  •  Non availability of signal maintainer. (ESM, MSM, TCM)

4. Engineering:

  •  Excessive Engineering speed restriction. (Over and above the Engineering Allowance)
  •  Engineering block being bursted.
  •  Stopping of trains on banner flags or by showing danger signals.
  •  Rail breakage, lurch felt by loco pilot.
  •  Improper track patrolling.

5. Electrical:

  •  Defective lights and fans in trains resulting ACP by the passengers.
  •  Tripping / failure of OHE.
  •  Failure of electrical water pump.
  •  Failure of Head light of the engine or bad focusing.
  •  Bursting of Power Blocks & Power +Traffic Blocks.
  •  Train lighting and Air conditioning problems.

6. Commercial:

  •  Inadequate labour for the work of loading and unloading work.
  •  Dispute due to duplicate reservations.
  •  Insufficient halt for loading and unloading of packages.
  •  Alarm chain pulling.
  •  Overcrowding.

7. Miscellaneous:

  •  Storm.
  •  Heavy rain.
  •  Floods.
  •  Cattle run over.
  •  Accident.
  •  Public agitation.
  •  Poor visibility due to thick & fog, dust.

Remedial measures to improve punctuality - Efforts by Railways:

Loco Pilots to run at MPS – Now a day, Loco Pilots have been instructed to run at MPS always. Earlier Loco Pilots used to run at booked speed and in case of late running only they were authorized to run at MPS, to make up time. This has been dispensed with now. This will very much reduce the pressure on Loco Pilots. In case of late running, pressure was mounting on Loco Pilots and they were under tremendous stress to make up time. To avoid this extra strain, Loco Pilots are advised to run at MPS from starting station itself.

Starting a train before allowed time when arrived late – At every station a specified time is given for stopping / starting. If a train arrived after the published departure in PTT, it may be started before the allowed time after ensuring all transactions are over. These will in some extent help in minimizing the late running. It is the responsibility of all those concerned to cooperate and ensure that the business connected with the train is completed and carried out at the earliest and train started soon. This will mainly applicable to parcels loading / unloading, any attaching/detaching of coaches and subsequent examination, preparing and handing over train related documents in time etc.

Punctuality drives – To enhance and enlighten the efficiency of punctuality, at various levels punctuality drives are conducted periodically. Recurring reasons for late running are identified and instructions are issued for corrective action. Staffs are counseled and if needed to be pulled up and punished. Awards are given for fine performances. These drive help in detecting any system defects such as poor visibility of signals, poor engineman ship, inadequate sighting distance of signals etc. Reports are made out at the appropriate levels and follow-up action is initiated.

Punctuality meeting— Punctuality meetings are conducted at Zonal/divisional levels at the highest level. Reasons are analyzed and directions are issued then and there. Punctuality position from divisions is reported to Zonal headquarters and in turn to ‘Railway Board daily.

Monitoring of specified trains at specified level - Punctuality of some important trains is closely monitored at higher levels. Punctuality for such trains is watched at the level of Minister/Board officials/Zonal Railway officials. This helps in creating awareness among the staff on punctuality. By this way punctuality consciousness is developed in the minds of railway men.

Efficiency of Railway men - Train running may be put up in the following way and efficiency
can be very well judged -

Originating Station.                                                  Destination Station

1. Leaving right time                                                   1. Arriving right time
2. Leaving right time                                                   2. Arriving late
3. Leaving late                                                           3. Arriving right time
4. Leaving late                                                           4. Arriving late.

Railway men’s efforts will be appreciated and applauded once item No 1 is taken care of.. It will also be a laudable feature if the train arrived in time due to any late start (item No 3) of uncontrollable reasons.

Conclusion: Punctual running of trains is not one man’s affair. It reflects the concept of teamwork. All factors should work in tandem to achieve punctuality. A train might have traveled 500 Km punctually and only 5 Km may be left to reach the destination. A failure on the part of man or material at this stage may force the train to reach the destination late. All good efforts put up by many quarters so far for 500 Km will go waste due to failure of somebody or something. All parameters shall go hand in hand so that punctuality can be maintained always. Concerted efforts and cohesiveness in working is the need of the hour. In a world of competitiveness punctuality plays a prominent role in passenger train operation. Once railway man makes punctuality as a way of life, then the commons will be in cloud nine and Railways
will be in the seventh heaven.

Movement Advice:

1. Movement advice is an advice given by the divisional control office through Central Control to the Owning Railway of the wagon / vehicle regarding their movement on the users railway.
2. The control office advises the Central Control of the concerned Railway.
3. The Central Control conveys the message to the Central Control of the Owning Railway.
4. The movement particulars of the special kind of stock should be advised to the STM (Goods) in the HQ’s office on the telephone.
5. The advice is conveyed at 10:00 hours in the morning daily.
6. The message should be included in the daily statement of special stock submitted to the HQ’s office.
7. The movement advice helps in tracing of the wagons / vehicles and plan accordingly.
8. In the event of interruption of through communication, such advice shall be given to the Owning Railway within 48 hours.
9. The movement advice must contain all the detailed particulars of the wagon / vehicle along with contents there in.
10. Timely movement advice helps in smooth and safe movement of traffic. 

PPM (Passenger Profile Management):

1. Maximization of earnings from passenger traffic by maximizing the occupation and earnings of each train.
2. CRIS has created a website www.trainenquiry.com.
3. Zonal Railway will create a PPM 204enter under CCM/PM of each zonal railway.
4. PPM 204enter must have a good PC with internet.
5. The zonal PPM 204enter will be linked to the Railway board PPM 204enter.
6. Zonal PPM 204enter will carry out analysis of all its primary ownership coaching trains
which will include all reasoned accommodations available on these trains.
7. The zonal railway will analyze the data ware housing report options.
8. Zonal PPM centers will use the various reports to identify poorly occupied and poorly earnings trains.

a. The reason for poor occupation of each train will have to be analyzed and indicated with
proposed course of action on a daily basis
b. Zonal railway will send the details on a daily basis in an Excel sheet format enclosed herewith as an E-mail attachment to the Railway board PPM 

9. A comprehensive review of utilization of various quota at trains sources and different remote
location of Central railway train has been done under PPM.
10. Quota at various remote locations have been scrutinized and redistributed on the basis of

utilization report and wherever found suitable.

Google+ Followers