From provision of Wi-Fi facilities at more than 6,400 railway stations to offering world-class on-board passenger services and raising the speed of key trains, Indian Railways has its work cut out for the next couple of months- leading up to October 15. The six are among 167 projects a group of ministers has zeroed in on for the NDA to execute.
The 6 projects include:
- Wi-Fi for passengers,
- Elimination of all manned level crossings on the Golden Quadrilateraland installation of an advanced signalling system,
- Raising the speed of trains on the New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai routes to 160 kmph to reduce the travel time to 12 hours from approximately 14-hour,
- Hiring of private passenger train operators, where selected trains will be run by private parties,
- Provide world class services on board the railway network,
- And corporatisation of the production unit of rolling stock.
Out of 8,738 stations, 6,441 stations are to be provided with Wi-Fi. So far, 832 stations have already been equipped with the facility. The Union cabinet is likely to approve the conversion of the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes into corridors where trains can run at a speed of 160 kmph. The move will boost Indian Railways‘ambitious Mission Raftaar (speed), which is intended to boost the maximum speed of both passenger and freight trains.
They already have prioritised six corridors, which we call Golden Quadrilateral which carry 58% of the freight traffic and 52% of the passenger traffic but has a share of only 16% of the total network. Currently only 5% of Indian Railway network is fit for 130kmph and only 0.3% fit for 160kmph, while the coaches and locos are compatible to run at 160kmph. We will begin with two routes and will take four years from the time of approval to complete the project.
The Delhi-Mumbai corridor has 431 level crossings, which need to be removed. The Delhi-Howrah corridor has 60 level crossings that need to be eliminated.
To install an advanced signalling system, Railways has signed an MoU with RailTel Enterprises Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RailTel Corporation of India Ltd, for modernising the system on four sections, which includes automatic train protection system. The new signalling system will help the railway to reduce the distance between two trains and increase capacity.