Patna, Apr 13 (PTI) Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani today said 65 to 70 per cent trains run on time and the Railway’s prime focus was safety of passengers.

Lohani, who was accompanied by East Central Railway (ECR) General Manager L C Trivedi and other senior officials, was in the Bihar capital to take part in the 63rd Regional Railway Week.

“In the entire Indian Railways, 65 to 70 per cent trains run on time, while 30 to 35 per cent trains run late. It is because of the fact that we (Railways) do not want to compromise with the safety aspect, which is our prime focus,” he said.

“We are not going to compromise with safety aspect in any way,” Lohani told reporters here.

The Railway Board chief said there are plans to improve facilities in all passenger trains, and make coaches “look better”.

“We have taken a major decision this year as per which we are constructing only modern LHB coaches from April 1, 2018. About 5,000 coaches are being constructed.

“The construction of old coaches has been stopped and these old coaches will be used as replacement only,” he said.

Lohani said bio-toilets will be installed in all the coaches by March 2019, as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Replying to a query, Trivedi said the Railway Board has given in-principle approval for handing over the existing R-block Digha rail line to the state government for construction of roads.

He, however, said there are some problems related to cost evaluation of the land on which the R-block Digha rail line stands.

The cost of the track plot has been evaluated at Rs 896 crore, Trivedi said.

The proposal has been sent again to the Railway Board for re-evaluation, he said.

The Bihar government plans to construct a six-lane road using the land on which the track is laid to provide seamless connectivity between north and south Patna, Trivedi said.

He said that as per the Railway Board’s direction, Patna-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, which currently runs at a speed of 110 kmph, would soon run at 130 kmph.

“There is a requirement of a certificate from Commissioner of Railway Safety for running the train at 130 kmph. We have given application for this,” he said.

Replying to another query on the frequent delay of passenger trains, Trivedi said the maximum speed of all the trains running on the ECR zone will increase by 10 per cent (from the present 100 kmph to 110 kmph).

“Our Chief Operating Manager has issued an order two days ago to increase the maximum speed of all the trains running on the ECR zone by 10 per cent,” he said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.