Potential Benefits of Indian Railways’ New Zero-based Timetable

An attempt to create a zero-base timetable exercise for the Indian railways was made back in 2006. Nevertheless, considering the traffic situation and how challenging the task was technology-wise back, then it had to be discontinued. Only a few train schedules underwent minor alterations.

Objectives of a zero-base timetable

  • Aims at increasing the train travel speed in the country.
  • To organise consignment traffic as well as maintenance slots within a 24-hour period daily.
  • Enhance the Indian Railways capacity utilisation.
  • Integration of the 130 kph speed upgrades on various trunk routes.
  • Segregation of consignment traffic and passenger traffic efficiently.

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Zero-base timetable benefits to passengers and railway operations

  • Journey time will be reduced for multiple trains which run on a higher maximum permissible speed.
  • Unwanted stoppages can be removed, and the average speed can be improved.
  • Terminal changes can enhance accessibility altogether.
  • Extensions of trains can facilitate improved connectivity amidst existing services.
  • A zero-base timetable can prove to help clear cobwebs, saving on slots, merging of train services into one, and could optimise schedules.
  • Segregated traffic could result in improved track capacity usage.

How is the zero-base timetable being formulated?

The Indian Railways is performing a detailed review of all non-remunerative stoppages within the network to eliminate such kinds of stops for many trains. Passenger trains which commute 200 km and above are being upgraded to the mail/express category. For this category of trains, the stoppages will likely be removed. The train occupancy is being reviewed; there are plans to either merge services concerning multiple trains or terminate the badly patronized ones.

For any clarifications/feedback on the topic, please contact the writer at bhavana.pn@cleartax.in

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