While you may not have felt it, there has been an improvement in on-time performance of trains in the Indian Railways, according to numbers given by the ministry of railways.
According to them, in July 2013, there was a 5% improvement in the number of trains reaching within 15 minutes of scheduled time compared to July 2012.
In addition, according to the ministry’s numbers, 82.7% of all long-distance trains (mail and express) in India ended their journey on time in the period from April 2013 to July 2013.
For passenger (local) trains, the on-time percentage was 76.1%. On average, on-time performance was 78.1%.
The Indian Railways is one of the world’s biggest rail networks, and is the country’s largest employer, with nearly 1.4 million on its rolls. Even the Indian armed forces employ only 1.3 million.
However, Indian Railways, which is run as a government department instead of as an arms-length company, has a reputation for poor punctuality, which it has been trying to improve in recent years.
It operates 1474 long distance trains in the mail and express category per day and 3370 ‘day trains’ or passenger trains, usually meant for office goers and daily commuters.
Many tracks in India are still ‘one-way’ or ‘single lane’, which requires that a train be stopped at a station or lay-by to allow another train to pass in the opposite direction, or to overtake it.