61 escalators planned; AC EMU to be launched in Mumbai
Among the other passenger-friendly initiatives announced by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge in his interim Railway Budget, 61 escalators will be installed and an air-conditioned EMU service will be launched in Mumbai in July.
The Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor is likely to roll out after the completion of the joint feasibility study for a high-speed corridor. Semi-high speed trains on select routes are also on the anvil.
Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya will be put on the rail map with the completion of the Harmati-Naharlagun and Dudhnoi-Mehendipathar new lines by March. The northeast will also benefit from the conversion of the 510-km Rangiya-Murkongselek section to broad gauge.
Two premium trains have been planned from Delhi and Chennai to the northeast to cope with the rush.
Concerned at the recent incidents of fire, the Railways intend to go for a multi-tier protection for electric circuit and portable fire extinguishers on AC coaches, locos, guard vans and pantry cars, and replace LPG cooking appliances with electric induction. Mr. Kharge was as cursory in summing up the UPA government’s achievements as he was in outlining the course of action for the 12th Plan period with an impassioned plea to “take a serious note of its urgent investment and other needs…it is critical for the Railways itself to be restored to a more central place in the national planning.” Most of the targets for 2013-14 were missed, but for freight earnings.