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A new ‘zero-based’ timetable will be implemented by the Indian Railways, wherein approximately 500 regular trains shall be discontinued and about 10,000 stops removed from the timetable post the coronavirus pandemic, and once train services resume normalcy.
Around 15 per cent more freight trains will run on exclusive corridors and the average speed of passenger trains will increase by about 10 per cent, according to a report by The Indian Express.
Through this new adoption, Indian Railways is expected to generate over Rs 1,500 crore and extra earning will come without a change in fares or other charges. According to the internal projections of the Ministry of Railways, this estimated income will be earned because of the new timetable and as a result of operational policy changes.
The timetable has been titled ‘zero-based’ as it will not just re-examine the existing system but re-design operations from scratch, which will be developed by the Railways Ministry and IIT-Bombay experts.
The coronavirus pandemic halted the running of trains, which provided the ministry to re-imagine the functioning of the existing system, and goals of the new timetable have been set to ensure optimum and efficient utilisation of transport resources.
The details of the timetable have not been revealed but sources told publication that trains with less than 50 per cent occupancy on average in a year may be merged with other, more trains or will not be on the new timetable adding that long-distance trains will run non-stop within 200 km of each other, unless there is a major stop on the way. A total of 10,000 stops have been removed, and the removal will only be in respect of certain trains.
The report quoting sources also says that all passenger trains will run on a “hub-and-spoke model”. The “hubs” will be cities with a population of a million or more, where all long-distance trains will terminate. Smaller places will be linked to the hubs through connecting trains, as per the timetable. “Major tourist destinations and pilgrimage centres will be classified as hubs,” a senior Railway official told the website, however suburban networks such as the Mumbai locals, will not be affected by the new timetable.