National Rail Plan aims to increase modal share of Indian Railways in freight to 45%

Indian Railways have prepared a National Rail Plan (NRP) for India – 2030. The Plan is to create a ‘future ready’ Railway system by 2030. The NRP is aimed to formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase modal share of the Railways in freight.

  • The objective of the Plan is to create capacity ahead of demand, which in turn would also cater to future growth in demand right up to 2050 and also increase the modal share of Railways to 45% in freight traffic and to continue to sustain it.
  • To achieve this objective all possible financial models including Public Private Partnership (PPP) are being considered.
  • The main features of the National Rail Plan are:-
    • Formulate strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase modal share of the Railways in freight to 45%.
    • Reduce transit time of freight substantially by increasing average speed of freight trains to 50Kmph.
    • As part of the National Rail Plan, Vision 2024 has been launched for accelerated implementation of certain critical projects by 2024 such as 100% electrification, multi-tracking of congested routes, upgradation of speed to 160 kmph on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, upgradation of speed to 130kmph on all other Golden Quadrilateral-Golden Diagonal (GQ/GD) routes and elimination of all Level Crossings on all GQ/GD route.
    • Identify new Dedicated Freight Corridors.
    • Identify new High Speed Rail Corridors.
    • Assess rolling stock requirement for passenger traffic as well as wagon requirement for freight.
    • Assess Locomotive requirement to meet twin objectives of 100% electrification (Green Energy) and increasing freight modal share.
    • Assess the total investment in capital that would be required along with a periodical break up.
    • Sustained involvement of the Private Sector in areas like operations and ownership of rolling stock, development of freight and passenger terminals, development/operations of track infrastructure etc.
  • The draft plan has been put up in the public domain (The Indian Railways website) and is also being circulated amongst stakeholders for comments/remarks.
  • Once the comments/remarks from stakeholders have been obtained, the NRP in its final form will be issued incorporating the pipeline of projects that will be executed up to 2030.
  • The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for each project will be prepared and processed for sanctioning. Once sanction is obtained, fund requirement on a year to year basis will be worked out and the funds earmarked in the annual capital expenditure.
  • The NRP is for the entire Indian Railways network and not only for districts connected to the existing rail network but also districts indirectly impacted by rail transportation.
  • In effect virtually all the districts of the country get linked to the plan.
  • Implementation of the NRP has already commenced.
  • The Indian Railways has identified and prioritised a large number of projects designated as Super Critical, Critical and Coal/Port connectivity, for completion as per the Vision 2024 document which is a subset of the National Rail Plan.

Dedicated Freight Corridors:

Ministry of Railways is executing the work of construction of two dedicated freight corridors namely Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors (EDFC & WDFC) to augment the rail transport capacity along above routes to meet the growing need of the economy and facilitate faster evacuation of freight traffic. The salient features of DFC are as under:

  • Maximum permissible Speed – 100Kmph
  • Long haul and Higher Trailing load – upto 13000 tonnes per train
  • Double stack trains on WDFC
  • Efficient handling and value added services at freight terminals of DFC.
  • Enhanced axle load of 25 tonnes
  • Higher maximum moving dimension of Wagons
  • Automatic Signalling with Mobile Train Radio communication
  • Overall enhanced throughput

Out of 2843 km of DFC (1337 km Ludhiana to Sonnagar of EDFC & 1506 km JNPT to Dadri of WDFC), 657 km has already been commissioned.

This information was given by the Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 24th March 2021.

Source: PIB-Press Release | Image Credit (representational): DFCCIL