New Delhi: Indian Railways is planning to rationalize the number of coaches in trains to 22 or less and that a decision in this regard will be taken soon, railway minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
The railways will be able to run more trains once the number of coaches has been standardized.
Speaking to media, Goyal said, “We have formed a committee to suggest standard number of coaches for all trains. We should keep it 22 or less. Once we have standard numbers, we can run more trains and bring back the good rail experience.”
The move comes even as the national carrier has been drawing flak from the public for non-availability of tickets.
The number of coaches in a train now varies from 12 to 28, depending on factors such as number of trains on a route, festival rush, number of commuters, length of platforms and where the train would start and halt, etc.
The minister said railways was ready to invest in the extra infrastructure required following the standardization of coaches.
“We want to bring back the ‘aah’ factor of railways,” Goyal said, adding that if there is strong support for introduction of Aadhaar for booking train tickets to weed out corruption, the national carrier will be ready to include the provision with the support of the government.
Announcing further plans for 2018, Goyal said Indian Railways is looking to revamp its entire 160-year-old signal system and a decision in this regard would be taken soon.
On the budget, the minister said railways will be happy with whatever is earmarked by the finance ministry as gross budget support (GBS). “We are looking for higher revenues through increase in freight earnings,” he added.
The minister also announced that Indian Railways is considering transferring the research function from Lucknow-based research organization Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to the newly formed National Railway and Transportation University.
“RDSO has several pending applications and with a lot of work in their hand, they are unable to focus on research. We are planning to shift the rail research to newly formed university as it will have all stakeholders—railways, industry and academia—together which would result in better solutions,” said Goyal.
Calling for more competitive bidding for railway projects and various procurement, Goyal said guidelines for reverse bidding were being prepared and the process is likely to start in next few months. Initially the tenders will be for Rs5 to Rs10 crore for selected commodities and the number of items will be expanded slowly. “Railways are open for global bidding and bidders from only those countries will be allowed where Indian companies are given an opportunity to bid,” the railway minister added.