The Indian Railways envisages reducing the travel time on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes at an investment of over Rs 13,500 crore. This is one of the 11 proposals prepared by the Railways in its 100-day plan, with instructions to initiate immediate action to implement them by August 31.
- “In a proposal approved by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, the Railways plans to increase the train speed to 160 kmph on the busy routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah in the next 4 years,” a senior Railway official said.
- The official said,”By increasing the speeds on these busiest rail routes, the travel time between Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai will be reduced to 12 hours and 10 hours, respectively, as compared to the current 17 hours and 15.5 hours.”
- At present, the maximum speed on these routes, which account for 30% of passenger and 20% of freight traffic, is 130 kmph.
- The proposal envisages that in the next 100 days, approval should be obtained for this project and the proposal is being sent to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs (CCEA), the official said.
- The estimated cost to upgrade the speed on the 1,525-km New Delhi-Howrah route will be Rs 6,684 crore and on the 1,483-km New Delhi-Mumbai route will be Rs 6,806 crore.
- The entire project is proposed to be implemented within 4 years from the date of approval.
Private players to run trains
- Under this 100-day plan, it may also consider giving premium trains including Rajdhanis and Shatabdis to private players.
- The official said, also two trains, covering important tourist destinations or connecting major cities on less congested routes, may be allotted to Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on an experimental basis.
- The Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ) could be issued within the next 100 days.
- However, before engaging private operators, the Railways will consult the trade unions, the official added.
Corporatization of production units
- The other plans to be initiated within the next 100 days include the corporatization of production units.
- Currently, the railways has 7 production units (PUs):
- Chittaranjan Locomotive Works
- Integral Coach Factory
- Diesel Locomotive Works
- Diesel Modernisation Works
- Wheel and Axle Plant
- Rail Coach Factory
- Modern Coach Factory
- The document proposes to hive off PUs including associated workshops into government owned new entity ‘Indian Railways Rolling Stock Company’ under the railway ministry and drive technology partnership and modernisation.
- It proposes that each PU with a CEO will function as an individual profit centre, reporting to the Board or the CMD of the new entity.