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Business News/ News / India/  Planning 1 lakh crore investment in new trains, says Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav
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Planning ₹1 lakh crore investment in new trains, says Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav

Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said that this is part of a larger upgrade that seeks to increase the number of trips and the availability of trains for goods and services.

Indian Railways has used 70% of their ₹2.4 lakh crore budget for FY24 (Photo by Rajkumar)Premium
Indian Railways has used 70% of their 2.4 lakh crore budget for FY24 (Photo by Rajkumar)

The Indian Railways is looking to acquire new trains with a total investment of 1 lakh crore over the next few years, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told The Economic Times. He said this comes due to increased demand in the passenger travel sector.

The minister added that this is part of a larger upgrade that seeks to increase the number of trips and the availability of trains for goods and services.

"The goal is to replace aging rolling stock for which 7,000-8,000 new train sets will be needed. Tenders for the same will be called in the next four to five years. This will entail floating train procurement tenders worth around 1 lakh crore which will be honoured over the next 15 years by replacing the older rolling stock," Vaishnaw said.

Vaishnaw further said that the Railways has already utilised 70 percent of their 2.4 lakh crore budget for FY24, adding that progress in the track laying project is going as planned. Adding, "We will need an investment of close to 12 lakh crore in the Indian Railways to cater to the current level of economic growth by 2030."

The proposed procurement of trains will involve maintenance contracts and specific conditions mandating their production within India, leveraging existing Railway infrastructure.

Advancing Railway Infrastructure

He also highlighted significant structural and procedural reforms that expedited capital spending within the Railways. The capital budget is specifically earmarked for a substantial renovation, encompassing the enhancement of crucial infrastructure such as trains, tracks, safety technology, and stations.

On specific projects, the minister said that completion of the 1337 km Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor will open up new industrial hubs and facilitate Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals. Around 80 percent of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor is also complete.

According to Vaishnav, as much as 5,000-6,000 km of tracks have been laid in the current fiscal – averaging 16 km of work per day. This is an increase compared to 5,243 km of tracks laid in FY23, which averaged 14 km per day.

Eliminating Waiting Lists

The Indian Railways at present operates 10,754 daily train trips, and the plans to add 3,000 more trains aim to eradicate waiting lists entirely. "To resolve the issue of waiting lists in passenger categories, except during peak demand months, we aim for a 30 percent increase in trips by the end of this decade," Vaishnav said.

The national transporter has already increased trips by 568 compared to pre-Covid years, allowing it to accommodate 700 crore passengers annually. This figure is expected to rise to 1,000 crore annual passengers by 2030.

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Published: 15 Dec 2023, 11:31 AM IST
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