New Delhi: Amid criticism over perennial delays, Railways on Thursday said it has registered a four per cent increase in train punctuality during the 2012-13 fiscal.
"... We were able to carry more than 8,500 million passengers in 2012-13, achieving an improvement of four per cent improvement in punctuality and 7.6 per cent in safety," Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal said at the railway week award function here.
At present, the punctuality rate stands at about 76 per cent.
Noting that Indian Railways entered the one billion tonne club during the fiscal by achieving a loading of about 1010 million tonne, he said the achievement came despite the sluggishness in the core sectors.
"This is no mean achievement as the incremental loading itself stood at 40 million tonne," he said.
During the financial year, 500 km of new lines were added to the system, while 705 km of route was doubled and 605 km converted into broad gauge.
Focusing on the ambitious dedicated freight corridor project, he said construction activity has picked up both on the Eastern and Western corridors, with 92 per cent land in the Eastern corridor and 84 per cent on the Western corridor getting finalised.
Railways also plans to launch a 24x7 helpline by this year to strengthen safety of passengers and check crimes against women in trains and stations, which will be tracked on real-time basis across the country.
Around 139 officers and Railway Board staff were given merit certificates and cash awards for their services in the 2012-13 financial year by Mittal.
In addition, 80 outstanding sports persons and 12 artists of Railway Board who excelled in inter-ministry and all India civil services competition were also felicitated.