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    Railways plan more Vande Bharat trains, dedicated super-fast passenger corridor for Delhi-Mumbai

    Railways plan more Vande Bharat trains, dedicated super-fast passenger corridor for Delhi-Mumbai

    Railways plan more Vande Bharat trains, dedicated super-fast passenger corridor for Delhi-Mumbai
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    By Anu Sharma   IST (Updated)

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    Indian Railways is set to face a challenging journey ahead with ambitious targets. While its privatisation drive will be closely watched by one and all, the state-run unit's plan to produce 40 Vande Bharat rakes by 2022 and create dedicated passenger corridor fit for 160 km per hour are no mean feat to achieve.

    Indian Railways is set to face a challenging journey ahead with ambitious targets. While its privatisation drive will be closely watched by one and all, the state-run unit's plan to produce 40 Vande Bharat rakes by 2022 and create dedicated passenger corridor fit for 160 km per hour are no mean feat to achieve.
    Vande Bharat Express, earlier called Train 18, is the country's first indigenous high-speed train that can run up to a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. The train was introduced in February this year on Delhi-Varanasi route and covers a distance of around 750 km in 8 hours. As of now, one more such rake is available and it is likely to be put into service soon but, as against expectation of continuous production of this train, allegations of lack of transparency has put brakes on its progress. Now, having set a tender process for its manufacturing, the production of Vande Bharat is back on track.
    "We are going to build 40 rakes of Vande Bharat till 2022 and that will happen in a batch of 15 for one year and 25 for another," Railway board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said recently.
    When it comes to creating the infrastructure lucrative for private players, the public sector unit has also planned several dedicated passenger corridors fit for 160 km per hour and freight corridors fit for 100 km per hour throughout the country. However, priority will be to create such corridors on high-traffic Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes.
    The speed up-gradation project will also be taken up for golden quadrilateral and diagonal routes such as New Delhi- Chennai, Chennai-Howrah, Chennai-Mumbai and Mumbai-Howrah. Three new dedicated freight corridors have been planned on Delhi-Chennai, Howrah-Mumbai and Kharagpur – Vijayawada.
    "Approval for raising of speed on New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Howrah routes to 160 km per hour has been obtained on 5.8.2019. The project will be implemented by 2022-23. This will increase the average speed of passenger trains by 60%," Yadav said, adding that journeys by Rajdhani trains will also become fully overnight soon.
    But railways still has a long way to go when it comes to punctuality. On average, trains are running late by 125 minutes this year as compared to 174 minutes last year. As per the figures available with railways, 73 percent trains are on-time as compared to 66 percent last year.
    "...better asset maintenance to improve reliability, monitoring of late start of trains, adherence to time tables and balancing between block requirements for safety works and infrastructure creation, freight and passenger train running," are some of the measures that Railways is undertaking to improve its punctuality.
    Taking into account the infrastructure and technology up-gradation requirements, Railways' capital expenditure for FY20 is at Rs 1.6 lakh crore. However, the ambitious targets set by Railways will need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore, as announced in the Union Budget 2019-20, for electrification, automatic signalling, capacity augmentation, speed up-gradation, dedicated corridors, and increased production among others.
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