NEW DELHI: Train operations are unlikely to be what they were before the pandemic with the Indian Railways preparing a ‘zero-based’ timetable for all trains. This means the schedule and frequency of all earlier time-tabled passenger trains will be rewritten giving the railways flexibility to reduce the number of halts of mail/express trains and some other trains as well, sources said.
Earlier this week, V K Yadav, railway board chairman said that the plan to roll this out has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it will be implemented.
Sources said in some cases stoppages of express/ mail trains would be done away with after assessing the number of passengers boarding and de-boarding at these stations. “It would also be easier to stop some of the trains running once or twice a week. Many halts were approved in the past due to political considerations,” said an official.
The reduction in number of halts is expected to result in reducing the travel time as trains can run non-stop for longer distances. The railway board chief had said the 151 trains to be operated by the private players will also be part of the zero-based timetable trains.
Meanwhile, some railway officials told TOI that the railway ministry should take care while deciding the timing of the trains by private operators. “It should not go the Air India way that we allow private players to run trains during the most preferred timings,” said an official.


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