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Nearly 50 trains delayed
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 1
The blinding New Year fog has affected the schedule of nearly 50 Delhi-bound trains from the Railway Minister’s home state Bihar besides Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Apart from this, 17 trains have been rescheduled, five terminated midway and one cancelled. While the Unchahar Express between Ambala and Allahabad has been cancelled and five other trains have been terminated for the entire month of January.

According to Northern Railway, the first day of the New Year reported sluggish train movement on the tracks due to lack of visibility. While the Farakka Express from Malda town was reported to be running time by 18 hours, the Sadbhavna Express from Sultanpur was running behind time by 14 hours.

But despite the disruption in rail traffic that has caused inconvenience to hundreds of passengers, the Chairman Railway Board, Mr J.P. Batra, disagreed that signaling was not up to the mark on the vast network of Indian Railways that runs 11,000 passenger and 4,000 goods trains everyday. “It is not correct to say that signaling is not up to the mark. There is no signaling system in India that is economical and can take care of the fog. We are jointly engaged in research with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and defence laboratories on ways of dealing with the fog situation in an effective manner. As of now, signaling has to be physically seen by the driver for him to take action. We have taken action to cancel some trains and followed the standard practice of issuing instructions to all drivers to reduce the speed to a level they feel comfortable. During the fog, inspection by officers and supervisors in various zones is more frequent.”

Mr Batra said that the time on run became very high on goods trains. “As a result, my requirement of engines, wagons and drivers goes up and this affects loading.”

Sources in the Northern Railway told TNS here that while the Magadh Express from Islampur near Patna is running late by eight hours, the Amritsar-bound Saryu Yamuna Express from Darbhanga and the Licchvi Express from Samastipur are running late by seven hours and 15 minutes. The Sikkim Mahananda Express and the Kashi Vishwanath Express are running late by seven hours.

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