Too Many Trains and Little Tracks Hurting Indian Train Time Table


Indian Railways is an awesome organization based on its operations and coordination. But when it comes to its quality of service, railways is still lagging far behind the passenger expectations. Our rail network has the potential of reaching people to their destinations much quicker and safely, but it cannot do so. Apart from some Premium trains, every other train is hurt by delays along the route. Passengers have even designated some stations as the main culprits behind the late running of trains. But the truth is much different to the popular belief. Indian railways time table always leaves enough time for trains to cover the distance between two stations. Why then are the trains late?

Do we not have the kind of technology to support the traffic of trains? Indian railways have the third largest railway network in the world. There are millions of people working to make the trains run on time between the destinations. Some of you would be surprised to know that we have a control room with all the advanced settings, just like the ones we are habituated to seeing in the Hollywood movies! Yet, the people manning or using these technologies are often helpless. Why?

Trains are Stranded at Stations

Well, each year there is a rail budget and new trains are announced alongside the new reforms. This means each track is filled with more and more trains. Though the additional trains are reducing the shortage of tickets and people do not have to search extensively for trains between two stations, yet this means the tracks along the busy routes are always full. Just like the roads, rail tracks across India are getting congested each year and at times this leads to a standstill.

Recently there has been a term used for the Allahabad – Mughal Sarai section of the railways, it is known to many passengers as the Bermuda Triangle of Indian railways. Passengers tend to blame the technicians for the delays. But as a matter of fact it is the traffic of trains and the availability of empty tracks that have to be blamed. This route witnesses a large traffic of trains all through the day. So, it is really difficult for the operators to find empty platforms. Even when there is an empty platform, the operators have to give preference to the Premium trains first and there are a hefty number of Premium trains plying through this route.

Apart from this, there is not only Express, Superfast or Premium trains plying across a particular route in India. There are also slow moving goods vehicles and local trains. These need tracks too. So a particular train might be moving at over 65 KMPH speed, and then stop all of a sudden in the middle of nowhere. This is done to sidetrack the slow moving train ahead and let the high speed train pass. Or to pass another deemed important train through. Problem with many Indian trains is not in their high or low speeds. It is shifting from a high speed to a standstill. Most trains may travel through a particular stretch at great speeds, only having to wait for half an hour at a signal waiting for trains ahead to vacate a platform.

The problem of delays in the Indian railways stems from imparity between the number of tracks and trains. While the number of trains keeps on increasing each year, sadly there is no new lines set up to accommodate this increase in traffic. This is the reason why live train status for most trains in India will suggest they are running at a hefty delay.


  1. After reading this, we could say that Railways needs to dedicate some time in finding alternative routes to clear the traffic.

  2. A good analysis by Rail Yatri. However, this thing has been cited even earlier by commuters. The prime focus should be to try and work for an optimum solution once the root cause is known. Another point which should be stressed is NOT TO INCREASE the number of trains in the railway budgets to come in the future.

    The railway ministry and planning team should try to focus their attention towards betterment of the quality of existing trains and not towards increasing the quantity of railway rakes.

  3. I live in Delhi but my hometown is in Bihar (Sitamarhi) and thus for all my life I have been travelling from either Delhi to MUZAFFARPUR or to Patna, and seriously speaking i am a big fan of Indian railways, (infact I am trying to get a good post in it and not the IAS through the Civil Service Examination, so as to try to do some reforms in Railways).

    I understand the problem of traffic on these two routes and the load that the rails have to bear thereby, but actually situation could be improved if time tables are re planned, such as around 6-7 premium trains starts between 15:50 – 17:25 from New Delhi towards Mughal Sarai, for them nearly 10-12 express/superfast trains have to vacate the tracks for their passage at various distances, eg: 15708, 14006, 12382/12304, 12570/22406, 12398, 12368, 22858, etc. Along with these there are other local trains also. Here if time tables of some of the trains are cleverly managed then they can avoid this overtake or atleast some time could be saved, for eg: if 12368 that presently starts at 14:40 from ANVT have to run behind 12398 till Mughal Sarai, inspite of having only a technical stoppage at Kanpur, whereas 12398 have 2 other stoppages at ALJN and ALD, this means atleast 25-30 more minutes to complete the distance between Delhi and MGS, thus if their time tables are interchanged and 12368 is also made to run behind the Dbrg Rajdhani 12424 in the same way as 12394 runs behind the 12310 and the 22406/12570 then 12368 can easily cross MGS without being overtook by the batch of Rajdhanis, moreover a good time table may even prevent 12398 from being overtook by 12310 and 22406/12570 thus saving around 30 important minutes. The same could be done with some other trains that run closely to these two trains.
    Another thing is about Tarin No. 12260, I have never able to understand it’s time table as once again it starts at 19:40 from NDLS and overtakes many trains such as 12560, 12330/12380, 12226, 12818/12874, because of this not only the above mentioned trains, but also those that starts after 12260, such as 12554, 12402, 12556, 12562 badly suffers. Why can’t 12260 be also started with the same batch of premium trains or if some space has to be given as it’s average speed is better than them then start it before 18:50 when the batch of express trains starts with 12560, this will be able to ease some tension. Another option is to run it on the other day along with 12424, or maybe in the morning with 12004.

    Another problem is with train no. 12562, this is one of the most irrevular train and the prime reason is firstly it runs behind 12402 which has 5 stoppages between Delhi and Kanpur whereas 12562 has only 1, thus as an average of around 12-15 mins per stop (Stoppage time+Deacceleration time+ acceleration time), it should be have a gap of atleast 48-60 mins atthe start, but in reality it is only 35, moreover 12562 has to overtake 12556 an another superfast (God knows for what reason) which it hardly does, thus increasing it’s (12562) running time by another 20-30 mins, this makes the trains running behind it – 12428, 12418, 12820, 12582 also late. Another reason behind all this is the overtaking of 12226 by 12554, thus making things more harder for 12402, and of course for all the trains behind it.

    Another problem is with train no. 12502 and 12350 that shares their time table from New Delhi to Patna and even futher upto Mokamah, now both these trains have to run behind a non-superfast train 14056 from delhi to Mokamah, which makes them vulnerable for becoming late as 14056 cannot overtake any other express train and so, the other two can also not do the same and try to make up some time if they have become late only because they are destined to run behind 14056, moreover they can’t run at their full speed of 110 as 14056 runs at only 100 kmph, this surely tells you that something is wrong and all this is happening with a Sampark Kranti (12502), a class of train which are boasted of taking less time to reach their destination because of very few stoppages, but then it is running behind a non superfast train which has a number of stoppages, this really needs a change. The same skrt of pro lem is with the train no. 12212, a garib rath, which gets late almost everytime between the strech of Gorakhpur and Narkatiaganj all because it is not given pass by the 15274, and that too when the time table allows it!!! Making it reach it’s destination MFP almost late everytime.

    That’s all for now, I have many more ideas and solutions, and I would be really happy to share with you, just send me an acknowledgement so that i am aware that I am not wasting my time and my voice is being heard.
    Let’s raise the standard of Indian Railways and make it one of the best among the world.
    Thanks for Reading.

    • 12368 time table must be change for on time arrival at pnbe.for this it must be attach with a lhb rack or just run behind 12424 and reached patna on or before 3.30am.
      22406 runs always late because it has asingle rack for up &down an another rack must be required.

    • At present 12394 runs on time because high speed lhb coaches and always maintains a closer distance and run just behind pnbe rajdhani .but before this it has no lhb coaches so always reached late 6 to 7 hours daily.but at present it reaches patna before its time.
      Vikramshila has also a non stop train between pnbe &anvt but always late in up & down both side because of more no. Of rajdhani garib rath and at present 12394 passes it near kanpur.
      Vikramshila runs from bhagalpur under maldah division.vikramshila must be replaced by lhb coaches for its on time arrival but drm of maldah refuses since please change it.

  4. As you say so the no. of slow moving passengers is 1 between Mughal Sarai and Allahabad. No. of memu trains what so ever. (When express superfast can be ran as memu why run memu). as far as freight is concerned Dhanbad division has more freight than others. Clear from fact that it is Dhanbad division which is highest revenue generator. For no. of trains Patna- Mughal Sarai has far more trains. The main problem u forgot to mention is that Allahabad division does not allow trains going to Manikpur to bypass it. It is normal for a train to be delayed at signal station outer. But keeping train stranded for hours on platform is utter stupidity. Why still there is no third track on Yamuna in Allahabad while a 3 km track bridge was built at Dehri on Sone. Clearly project approach is miserable. A majority of problems can be solved with few crossover flyover tracks from Prayag and Manikpur.

  5. As u told that due to large no. of trains, there is delay . I was daily commuter for 4 yrs on this section during 2006-2010 and at that time also the numbers were almost same on this track during morning hours and evening hours but it took me only 2.5 hours generally to cover the distance by a super fast train. It is not the trains only reason, but the tendency of passing goods trains is the main culprit behind delay. As goods trains are the main earner for the railways, they give them preference. Now average travel time on this section is 5-6 hours. Don’t you think that frm 2.5-3 hrs to 5-6 hrs travel time is a much concern. Mostly trains have single stoppage at Mirzapur but all of them stops at all stations and just crawl along this section. Really u have to get some another excuse for this delay.


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