With proper planning, NFR has converted the unprecedented lockdown period into an opportunity to speed up maintenance work ever since regular passenger trains stopped plying throughout the country. The lock-down period provided some time gaps to take up track and other maintenance work, although freight carrying trains as well as parcel trains are running regularly with essentials items 24 x 7 and there were restrictions on the movement of men and material due to lockdown in the entire country. All these works were done with detailed planning and continuous monitoring maintaining all COVID-19 related health protocols (e.g. social distancing etc.) despite an increase in the movement of parcel trains and freight trains during the lockdown period.
It was found that emphasis given on maintenance of assets leads to a substantial increase in asset reliability decreasing asset failures and thereby increasing the average speed of freight-carrying trains due to fewer detentions and speed restrictions. In the NFR area, the average speed of goods trains are continuously on the rise. The monthly average speed of goods trains up to 13.09.2020 increased from 27.21 kmph to47.83 kmph over the same period of last year. That is an increase of more than 75%. On 13.09.2020 the average speed of freight trains was 45.37 kmph against 27.47 kmph on 13.09.2019. That is an increase of 65%.
An increase in the average speed of goods train minimizes the turnaround time of the wagons thereby enabling Railways to maximize the use of the wagons which is necessary to carry essential commodities to every part of North Eastern states in view of the present COVID-19 scenario in India. The increased average speed, resulting from the elimination of detentions and speed restrictions due to asset failures, also contributes to energy conservation by decreasing fuel consumption.
It can be mentioned here that more than 4000 freight carrying and more than1000 parcel trains movements were done by NFR during this pandemic period up to13th September 2020 to ensure that there is no scarcity of essential and other commodities within its jurisdiction.N.F. Railway is in the process of taking necessary measures to sustain this increase in the speed of freight-carrying trains even after the restoration of all regular passenger trains services in near future. Adequate time for the running of freight-carrying trains will be there in the new zero-based time table to be introduced throughout IndianRailways soon.