As many as 67 express trains and 26 passenger trains are being introduced this year, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced on Tuesday.

Presenting the 2013-14 Railway Budget, Mr. Bansal also said that five Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs) are being introduced this year besides eight DEMUs.

Besides, he proposed extension of as many as 57 trains and increasing the frequency of 24 trains.

The express trains include Hazrat Nizamuddin-Mumbai AC Express via Bhopal, Khandwa and Bhusawal, which would be a weekly service, and a similar venture between Bikaner and Chennai.

As part of providing greater connectivity to Vaishnodevi, a New Delhi-Katra AC Express is being introduced, which would run six days a week. The Katra stretch connecting the holy town to Udhampur is expected to the commissioned by May-June.

With the commissioning of the line, feasibility of issuing ’yatra slips’ to pilgrims travelling by rail at the time of booking of the ticket is being explored in coordination with the Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board.

A Puri-Ajmer Express, which would be a weekly service, is also being introduced so also a weekly Puri-Sai Nagar Shirdi Express.

Una-Nangaldam in Himachal Pradesh is being connected to Hazoor Saheb Nanded in Maharashtra through a weekly express train which would travel via Anandpur Saheb.

Also being introduced is a weekly Ahmedabad-Jodhpur express and a similar venture between Bandra and Haridwar, and Bandra and Jaisalmer.

Yesvantpur-Lucknow Express is also being started weekly via Rae Bareli and Pratapgarh.

The Railway Minister said that to facilitate the journey of pilgrims, he has decided to add more trains to religious destinations as trains to such places are always overcrowded.

He has proposed to take up the construction of railway line from Rama Mandi to Maur Mandi via Talwandi Sabo to provide connectivity to Takht Shri Damdama Sahib, which is the only Takht among the five Sikh Takhts that is yet to be connected by rail link.

Highlights:

Marginal increase in cancellation, reservation charges

67 new express trains to be introduced; 27 passenger trains, 8 DEMUs

Opposition disrupts Rail Budget speech over new train announcements

Operating ratio expected to improve to 87.8 per cent in 2013—14 from 88.8 per cent in the current fiscal

5.2 per cent growth in passenger traffic expected in 2013—14

Railway hopes to end 2013-14 with a balance of Rs 12,506 crore

Allocation of Rs 1,000 crore each made for railway land development authority and railway station development authority.

Railways set to enter 1 billion ton freight club of China, Russia and US

New train Azadi Express to places linked with the freedom struggle to be introduced, fares to be concessional

Common rail-bus ticket to be introduced for Katra-Vaishnodevi pilgrims

Internet booking to be provided from 0030 hours to 2330 hours

Internet booking to be strengthened with next-generation e-ticketing system to eliminate delays

Special A/C coaches ‘Anubhuti’, to be introduced in select Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains to give excellent ambience with commensurate fare

Railways will use Aadhar data base for bookings and validation of passengers

SMS alert service being rolled out shortly to intimate passengers about reservation status

Free wi-fi facility to be provided in select trains

Plan to allow e-ticketing via mobile phones

Railway committed to bring marked change in passenger amenities

Aim to eliminate 31,846 level crossings

Identification of 104 stations for upgradation in places with more than one million population and of religious significance

Railways to set up six more Rail Neer bottling plants

Rs. 95,000 crore shortfall, meeting this shortfall will mean a paradigm shift

Rs one lakh crore to be raised from public—private partnership, Rs 1.05 lakh crore through internal resources in the 12th Plan, says Railway Minister P K Bansal

12th Plan railway size to be Rs 5.19 lakh crore, with gross budgetary support of Rs 1.94 lakh crore

Steep increase in input costs have been met with hike in freight rates: Bansal

Railways powerful vehicle driving the growth of the country: Bansal

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal presents his maiden budget in Parliament

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal arrives in Parliament to present his maiden budget.

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