Creating capacity ahead of demand, running freight trains at an average speed of 50 Kmph, 100 per cent electrification of railway network by 2024, upgrading speed of passenger trains by 160 to 130 Kmph on select routes and elimination of all level crossings form part of Indian Railways’ ambitious National Rail Plan (NRP) to make a ‘future ready’ railway system by 2030.
As Indian Railways is the growth engine of the nation, NRP is aimed to reform railways to make it more efficient, greener and modern which will translate into cheaper, safer and assured mode of transport to the common man be it in passenger or freight segment. Towards achieving these objectives Indian Railways have embarked on a series of initiatives.
The initiatives, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on Friday said, aimed at formulating strategies based on both operational capacities and commercial policy initiatives to increase the share of the railways in freight to 45 per cent.
The national rail plan further envisages reducing transit time of freight substantially by increasing average speed of freight trains to 50 kmph, the Minister informed.
As part of Vision-24 under the plan, measures have been taken to accelerate the implementation of certain critical projects by 2024 such as 100 per cent electrification, multi-tracking of congested routes, upgrading of speed to 160 kmph on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, upgrading speed to 130 kmph on all other Golden Quadrilateral-Golden Diagonal (GQ/GD) routes besides elimination of all level crossings on these route, a Railways Ministry note stated.
Identification of new dedicated freight corridors, new high-speed rail corridors, assessing rolling stock requirement for passenger traffic as well as wagon requirement for freight, assessing of locomotive requirement to meet twin objectives of 100 percent electrification (Green Energy) and increasing freight modal share, and assessing the total investment in capital that would be required along with a periodical break up are some of the other steps to be undertaken as per the NRP.
The national rail plan also seeks to ensure sustained involvement of the private sector in areas like operations and ownership of rolling stock, development of freight and passenger terminals, development and operations of track infrastructure etc, the Railway Ministry note further added.