Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha has sent a letter to the Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav, asking to implement six potentially transformative ideas, as part of the ambitious 100-day agenda drawn up by the second term of Modi government.
Indian Railways to introduce several passenger-friendly amenities in the coming days, including free WiFi facilities at more than 6,400 stations and higher speed for some trains! The national transporter is all set to launch these initiatives under its 100-day roadmap, up to 15 October 2019. According to an HT report, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha has sent a letter to the Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav, asking to implement six potentially transformative ideas, as part of the ambitious 100-day agenda drawn up by the second term of Modi government. The six ideas are among 167 projects that a group of ministers has zeroed in on for the Modi government to execute.
Indian Railways big-bang 100 day plan!
According to a Railway Board official, the six tasks chosen for Indian Railways include WiFi facility for passengers, elimination of all manned level crossings on the Golden Quadrilateral, raising the speed of trains on New Delhi-Mumbai route and New Delhi-Howrah route to 160 kmph to bring down the travel time from approximately 14 hours to 12 hours, hiring of private passenger train operators, where selected trains will be operated by private players, corporatization of production units of rolling stock, installation of an advanced signalling system. The Railway Board will brief the cabinet secretary on the status of these railway projects every Friday, the report said. The 100-day plan will be implemented with effect from 5 July to 15 October 2019.
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According to the national transporter, 6,441 out of 8,738 railway stations are to be provided with free WiFi service. So far, 832 railway stations have been equipped with the high-speed WiFi facility. Moreover, it is being expected that the Union cabinet will approve the conversion of the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes into corridors, allowing trains to run at a speed of 160 kmph. The move will also give a major boost to railways’ Mission Raftaar, which aims to enhance the maximum speed of both freight and passenger trains.
A railway official was quoted in the report saying that Indian Railways has prioritized six corridors (Golden Quadrilateral), which carry 52 percent of the passenger traffic and 58 percent of the freight traffic but only has a share of 16 percent of the entire network. At present, only 5 percent of Indian Railways’ network is fit for 130 kmph and only 0.3 percent network is fit for 160 kmph, while the locos and coaches are compatible to run at a speed of 160 kmph. The move will begin with two routes and will take four years from the time of approval to complete the whole project, he said.
According to another official, the Delhi-Mumbai corridor has as many as 431 level crossings, which need to be eliminated, while the Delhi-Howrah corridor has a total of 60 level crossings that need to be removed. On the other hand, to install an advanced signalling system, an MoU has been signed between the national transporter and RailTel Enterprises Limited. The advanced signalling system will help Indian Railways’ to reduce the distance between two trains as well as increase capacity, the report said.