The Indian Railways is poised for a major structural and operational transformation in the next few years with passenger trains slated to be run at 160 kmph in the Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata sector while freight trains will be run at 100 kmph.
Towards South, from Delhi-Chennai, Kharagpur-Vijayawada sectors. the plan is to run passenger trains up to 130 kmph and taking the speeds up to 160 kmph will take five to 10 years, depending on the infrastructure development, said Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav.
“Our vision to see that trains — passenger and freight — are run on demand in the 5-10 two years in the Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata sector by upgrading our capacities. We have divided major works into super critical and critical works to complete them in the two-five years frame,” he said, in an exclusive interaction with The Hindu during his recent visit to the city to inaugurate the financial management institute.
Instructions were issued to increase speed of all passenger trains to 110 kmph and move to 130 kmph within the next two-three years down South where average speeds are between 45 kmph and 110 kmph.
About 76% of the ‘super critical’ 68 works was done and the remaining 24% work, requiring about ₹7,500 crore, was expected to be completed within a year or so. There were 58 works where 91% was yet to be done in ‘critical’ category, costing up to ₹85,000 and scheduled to be done in three years for which funds were being sourced – these include doubling, tripling lines and traffic facilities at various locations across the country.
“This will give us tremendous mobility and we have identified the works based on having more efficient operations and also economic considerations like freight movement,” he said.
The most important development would be completion of the freight corridor between Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata by Dec. 2021 of about 3,000 km and it was being monitored at the Prime Minister level.
“In fact, Mr Narendra Modi himself took the initiative to personally call up the Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh for removing certain bottlenecks when I briefed him about our initiatives,” he recalled.
Mr. Yadav said the Mumbai-Delhi-Kolkata sector had the highest passenger output and once the freight corridor was completed there would be two dedicated lines for movement of freight and rest for passenger trains mostly. It was double-lined 100% all alone with sections of three and four lines in certain areas.
The Railways had identified 11,000 km of ‘congested’ lines in other parts carrying 60% traffic on East-West and North-South routes. A ₹500-crore feasibility study was under way to upgrade the 5,800 km of the section as another phase of dedicated freight corridor, he said.