If railway officials are to be believed, the central railway (CR) services have been more punctual over the past few days. Reason: goods trains are being diverted from Karjat to Panvel, from where they are reversed to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT), Apta and Thal.
For the 40 lakh CR commuters, the punctuality of suburban services was a huge concern, as it fell to 83% in 2015-16 from 87.1% in 2014-15. The 2016 CAG audit report states at least 5% (80 services) are more than 15 minutes behind schedule. According to railway officials, punctuality has gone up to 88%. However, they did not have any data to back this up and said the figure was based on an estimate.
The suburban services are mainly affected because of entry of goods and long-distance trains. The goods trains, which have 42, 45 and 58 coaches, take a lot of time to pass by. Till then, the suburban services are put on halt, thus causing delays. “Goods trains take a long time to pass. Moreover, any failure adds to the congestion. So we are diverting the goods train from Karjat to Panvel via Chowk-Chikale station,” said Ravinder Goyal, divisional railway manager (DRM), CR.
Till now, these trains used to take the Kalyan-Kopar-Nilaje-Taloja route to reach Panvel.
“Most of our goods trains come from the Lonavala section to Karjat. We now reverse them from Panvel. This has given relief to passengers from Ambernath and Badlapur ,” said Goyal.