I was flattered to receive an email from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. But the euphoria ended when I learnt that it is a bulk mail sent to all registered email ids with IRCTC. But I must say that Indian Railways have offered something tangible in the three years of NDA government.
The latest milestones are the new train connecting Guwahati and Indore, and a solar powered train from Delhi to Farukh Nagar in Haryana.
The government must be credited for improving train services in the north bank of Brahmaputra in Assam.
As a regular traveler I felt some experiences are worth sharing. The railway minister writes
“Highest ever 2855 kms of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling commissioned
Mission Raftar to enhance both average and highest speed of trains
Now a journey to Naharlagun from Guwahati is enjoyable. The train is mostly on time. This is because the north bank train line is yet to face any major traffic congestion. Though there are more trains between Guwahati and Bongaigaon the time factor continues to be uncertain and it will continue to be so till double tracking of railway line is completed. But has the double tracking work started ?
The introduction of Shatabdi Express between Guwahati and Dibrugarh/Naharlagun is another good move. But this Shatabdi takes over nine hours to cover four hundred fifty kilometers while NJP-Kolkata Shatabdi express takes one hour less to cover a distance of five hundred fifty kilometers.
The Jan Shatabdi express continues to be as important as it was for travelling between Guwahati/Dimapur and Jorhat. Fifteen years ago the passenger occupancy in the train was limited. But in recent times the train resembles a passenger express halfway through the journey. There are more trains now but still not enough to meet growing passenger movement.
Though the Railway Minister has taken up the challenge of bringing all North East State capitals in the railway map by 2020, but I am ready to give him more time. I will be happier to experience reliability and quality services in trains connecting Guwahati and Silchar.
A major challenge is maintaining cleanliness of stations and coaches considering the gigantic population and improper habits of people. But again cleanliness is now a national agenda. While boarding a train I tried to figure out if there is a change as compared to the years gone by. I was about to draw a positive conclusion but suddenly an exuberant rat appeared from under the seats and then disappeared.
I felt that indeed it’s a long way to go.