At least 26 trains, which have been running inordinately late for the last few weeks due to dense fog in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, will be cancelled once a week for a month from December 17 to January 15 in order to restore their punctuality.
The announcement made on Sunday is likely to add to the woes of passengers going to New Delhi and other long distance destinations.
“The move will help us streamline the timing of express/mail trains, which have been running inordinately late in the past few weeks,” East Central Railway (ECR) chief public relations officer AK Rajak said.
The Rajdhani Express, Sampoorna Kranti Express, Anand Vihar-Danapur Express, Patna-Howrah Janshatabdi, Patna-Ranchi Janshatabdi and Saharsa-Amritsar Express are among the 26 trains that will be cancelled.
The railways has also cancelled seven mail/express trains originating/terminating/passing through ECR zone for a month. This apart, 32 passenger trains plying in various divisions of the zone have also been cancelled for two months.
Fog disruptions leads to cancellations of thousands of trains every year and several accidents have been reported during the season in previous years.
While thermal imaging and radar guidance systems have enabled aircraft to land in foggy conditions, the Railways has been struggling with technology upgrade plans for decades.
As per the weekly cancellation schedule, the Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express (12309) will remain cancelled on Tuesday and New Delhi-Patna Rajdhani Express (12310) will not ply on Wednesday. The Rajendranagar-New Delhi Sampoorna Kranti Express will remain cancelled on Wednesday and will not run from the national capital on its return journey on Thursday.
The Howrah Janshatabdi (12024) that shuttles between Patna and Howrah every day except Sunday will remain cancelled on Thursday on both up and down routes. Patna-Ranchi Janshatabdi (12365) that runs daily will not run on Friday every week. The Saharsa-Amritsar Express (15209) will not run on Sunday and on its return journey, the train (15210) will not ply on Friday.
As many as 16 trains were running late on Sunday. They include 12402 Magadh Express (14 hours late), 13008 Toofan Express (16 hours), 15484 Mahananda Express (20 hours), 14056 Brahmaputra Mail (11 hours), 12394 Sampoorn Kranti Express (22 hours), 12392 Shramjeevi Express (15 hours), 15635 Dwarka Express (9 hours), 13484 Farakka Express (18 hours) and 12424 Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express (9 hours), 13007 Toofan Express (2 hours), 12331 Himgiri Express (11 hours), 15645 Lokmanya Tilak Express (3 hours), 12317 Akal Takht Express (8 hours), 12303 Poorva Express (10 hours), 13258 Jan Sadharan Express (18 hours) and 13238 Kota-PNBE Express (28 hours).
Seven flights operating to Patna were also delayed on Sunday while one was re-directed. The flight delays ranged from 35 to 115 minutes.
GoAir flight (G8 272), which has a scheduled arrival of 11.40pm from Bengaluru, was delayed by 29 minutes. IndiGo flight (6E 5126 from Delhi) was delayed by 68 minutes, Air India 409 by 115 minutes, GoAir (G8140) also from Delhi) by 73 minutes, Jet Airways (9W 727) by 34 minutes, IndiGo (6E 703) flight by 57 minutes and IndiGo (6E 787) flight by 35 minutes.