SCR targeting 100% electrification by next financial year, says General Manager A.K. Jain

’The proposal to run Vande Bharat trains in SCR is under consideration by the railway ministry and will be finalised soon’

Published - December 29, 2022 12:33 am IST - HYDERABAD- Photo by Nagara Gopal

South Central Railway General Manager Arun Kumar Jain, belonging to the Indian Railways Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE), 1986 batch, took full charge last month, after holding key posts of DRM-Hyd, principal chief signal & telecommunications engineer where he oversaw implementation of pilot project of the indigenous Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and others.

In this interview, the electronics engineering graduate from Gorakhpur and masters in computer engineering from IIT-Kharagpur, gives a glimpse of his plans ahead.

You have worked here in several capacities handling key departments, what will be your focus this year?

I have been here for five-and-a-half years and its been a memorable experience. A lot of work has been done on capacity enhancement in terms of new lines, doubling, tripling and electrification. We will continue to expedite these works, which will help us run more trains – passenger and freight on time. Safety is the top most priority. We are the only zone implementing TCAS across 1,465 km and we will take it to more routes. Increasing train speeds across main corridors and providing world class amenities to passengers by upgrading major stations are our major tasks.

What is the progress of infrastructure upgradation so far and targets ahead?

We are targeting to complete 100% electrification of our broad gauge network by the next financial year. Till November, we have commissioned around 180 km of lines - 13.9 km new lines, 87.22 km of double line and 78.17 km of third line. We have electrified 385 km., 539% higher when compared to same period last year. Our plan is to complete the last mile connectivity and this ensured completion of Bhadrachalam-Sattupalli and Vijayawada-Bhimavaram-Nidadavolu-Narsapur routes.

When do we get to experience faster trains because even Express trains do not seem to run beyond 70 kmph?

Our thrust has been towards decongesting the saturated sections, particularly the golden quadrilateral and golden diagonal routes with speeds increased to 130 kmph., except the Vijaywada-Gudivada section. TCAS or ‘Kavach’ will be deployed on these routes to make train operations faster and safer. Tracks were upgraded along heavy density network of Secunderabad-Kazipet, Balharshah to Gudur and Wadi to Renigunta.

What about complaints about trains punctuality going for a toss, with special trains especially being noted for delays?

Our punctuality is about 90% despite several constraints of saturated routes, weather, traffic blocks due to maintenance or upgradation works, stops, asset failures, etc. Special trains are run on high density routes which have heavy demand during holidays and festivals, while taking care not to upset the running schedule of regular trains. We also have to balance freight movement. The experience of running clone trains has not taken off because of capacity constraints like path availability in different sections. Instead, our regular trains were augmented by 200 coaches, which is like running nine new trains this year!

What is the progress on stations upgradation?

Work has commenced on three stations – Secunderabad, Nellore and Tirupati, ₹1,100 crore in total, for which contracts have been awarded. Techno-feasibility studies were completed for Jalna and Aurangabad stations. These surveys are on at – Kacheguda, Begumpet, Rajahmundry, Gudur and Nanded. Hyderabad, Vijaywada and Renigunta stations are to be developed under the PPP mode – public, private partnership mode. Within the twin cities, Lingampally has been developed as alternate coaching terminal and Cherlapalli is being developed as an alternate terminal at a cost of ₹221 crore.

When can we expect Vande Bharat trains set running in SCR?

Vande Bharat train sets are being allotted in a phased manner to various zones. We have already sent a proposal on which routes these trains can be operated here. The proposal is under consideration by the railway ministry and will be finalised soon.

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