In order to carry out urgent works, repairs and modifications to existing infrastructure, suspension of all train movements in a given section is inescapable. This cessation of all activities—called a ‘traffic block’—had been hard, if not impossible, to order so far; this was on account of the over-16,000 trains originating everyday on the Indian Railway’s vast 67,000 km of network.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the number of trains originating every day dropping to less than half, and a ‘traffic block’ could be ordered at the drop of a hat!
ECR (East Central Railways) did just that to fast-track nearly a dozen projects where suspension of rail traffic for long periods of time was involved. These projects had been dragging along for years as train operations were being routinely accorded top priority and providing ‘traffic blocks’ was simply out of the question, unless it was for a safety-related task.
Upgrading the 390-km long ‘Jhajha to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya (erstwhile Mughalsarai) station’ route to run trains at 130 kmph instead of the earlier 110 kpmh was now possible since long ‘traffic blocks’, extending upto six hours could be ordered.