A) Big boost in West Bengal Railway Infra: Total electrification by 2023
Railway Minister announced that all Railway Lines in West Bengal will be electrified by 2023.
He unveiled the newly electrified Manigram-Nimtita section and a road underbridge at Manigram in the Azimganj-New Farakka section and five foot overbridges in various stations under the Bandel-Katwa-Azimganj section.
The minister also inaugurated two foot overbridges at Sujnipara and Basudebpur stations and flagged off a goods train on the newly electrified Manigram-Nimtita section.
In the last six years Rs 19,811 crore have been invested in Bengal to improve railway infrastructure.
The 34-km Manigram-Nimtita section of Eastern Railway has been electrified at a cost of Rs 52.05 crore to reduce carbon footprint and promote green energy. This is a part of the high utility network, “Sagar Purvodaya Sampark Line” from Howrah to Dibrugarh and will also help to switch over freight rakes destined for Sagardighi thermal power plant and the Sonar Bangla cement plant from diesel to electric traction.
B) Indian Railways get Budget booster
The budget 2021 brought cheers for Indian Railways. It got huge infra push of 2.15 lakh crore comprising of 1.07 lakh crore of gross budgetary support and remaining from internal sources.
The finance ministry has opened its purse strings wide, allocating a whopping Rs 40,932 crore for new lines, Rs 26,116 crore for doubling, Rs 5,263 crore for traffic facilities; Rs 7,122 crore for new ROBs/RUBs (road over-bridge and road under-bridge). Thus along with creation of new assets, there is extra push on safety as the existing level crossing gates are being eliminated.
The Indian Railways is taking efforts for simplification of Railway board and other officer cadres. The Railway board was down sized last year and Chairman was re-designated as Chairman cum CEO.
C) Indian Railways to soon connect Mizoram’s capital Aizawl with its network
Indian Railways plan to connect all the state capitals in the country’s north-eastern part received a boost after Budget 2021-22 allocated Rs.1, 000 crore for the Bairabi – Sairang project in Mizoram.
Northeast Frontier Railway(NFR) is executing the Bairabi – Sairang new railway line project in Mizoram. Railway Ministry plans to complete the project by March 2023.From Bhairabi there will be four stations namely, Hortoki, Kawnpui, Mualkhang and Sairang in the project. From Sairang station the capital of Mizoram Aizawl is not far away.
Background of Bairabi – Sairang project:
The Bairabi – Sairang new railway line project was sanctioned in the year 2008-09. The length of the entire project is 51.38 kms. The anticipated cost of the entire project is about Rs. 5521.45 crore.
Challenges of Bairabi – Sairang project:
There will be 55 major and 87 minor bridges in the entire project. The project will also have 5 Road Over Bridges(ROBs) and 6 Road Under Bridges(RUBs). The entire project will also involve the construction of several tunnels. A total of 12639.20 meters (approx) of tunnelling works will have to be done in this project. For the construction of the project, 487.47 Hectors (approx) of Land Acquisition and Earthwork of 347.89 Lakh Cum is being done. Transformation of North East by providing connectivity to all state capitals is the motive if the Government of India. The infra push taken by Indian Railways will go a long way in modernizing the North-Eastern states and their connectivity in the region.
D) Redevelopment of New Delhi railway station estimated at ₹5,000
Redevelopment of New Delhi railway station has been taken up on the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode and the cost of the project is estimated at the cost ₹5,000 crore, Minister for Railways Shri Piyush Goyal said.
The facilities proposed include congestion-free non-conflicting entry/exit to the station premises, segregation of arrival/departure of passengers, adequate concourse area without overcrowding, integration of both sides of the city, integration with other modes of transport systems e.g. Bus, Metro, etc., user-friendly international signage, well illuminated circulating area and sufficient provision for drop off, pick up & parking etc.
E) Indian Railways to vaccinate its frontline staff against COVID-19
Indian Railways has started preparations for getting its frontline employees vaccinated against COVID-19. The front line staff consists of Travel Ticket Examiners (TTE), Drivers, Railway Protection staffs(RPF), Guard, Ticket counter staffs, station masters etc.
The health of its staff is utmost priority for Indian Railways.
F) Aim to maintain higher speeds of freight trains in 2021: Railway Board head
Indian Railways was able to run freight trains, its major earning source at double the speed it used to run earlier. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a Rail Ministry, the average speed of a goods train stood at 23.6 kmph in 2019-2020 and rose to 42.9 kmph in 2020-2021. Speedier freight trains also resulted in more loading of goods.
Freight loading increased by 9 per cent in November 2020 and rose to 109.68 million tonnes, up from 100.96 million tonnes in November 2019. The loading will improve further in coming months.
According to the Rail Ministry, an additional 481 km of DFCCIL line will be commissioned by March 2021 taking the cumulative to stretch of DFCs to 1138 km (stood at 657 km in November 2020). This will improve the average speed of trains to 70Kmph.
G) Train to Nepal: Boost for railway connectivity with the Himalayan neighbour
India-Nepal railway connectivity gets a boost!
The 34.90 kilometre stretch from Jayanagar to Kurtha is a part of the 68.72 kilometre long Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway line project which has entirely been funded by the Indian Government. Under the project’s first phase, the rail line from Jayanagar in the district of Madhubani, Bihar will be connected to Kurtha in the neighbouring country, Nepal and will be extended up to Bijalpura by the month of March this year.
The Indian government has spent an amount of around Rs 550 crores for the rail line section up to Bijalpura which is further 17 km from Kurtha in Nepal. After Bijalpura, the new railway line will be developed till Bardibas after the Nepal Government hands over land for the railway project.
Jayanagar is 4 Km from the India-Nepal border. This route covers Janakpur, Nepal’s famous pilgrim centre which is located at a distance of 29 Kms from Jayanagar. This railway project is being undertaken by IRCON and so far, all rail engineering, as well as infrastructure works, are complete.
The trails on the project started with DEMU trains being brought from KRCL(Konkan Railway corporation limited)
H) Indian Railways’ longest freight train ‘Vasuki’ sets a new record.
Indian Railways’ South Eastern Central Railway(SECR) zone has created another record when it operated the longest freight train on the Indian Railways network.
“SECR Raipur division for the first time amalgamated five rakes of freight coaches from Bhilai D Cabin till Korba which falls under the Bilaspur division,” as per Railways.
The total length of the freight train was around 3.5 kilometers after joining the five rakes and it was named ‘Vasuki’. The distance between Bhilai to Korba is 224 kilometers and the long-haul freight train named ‘Vasuki’ covered the whole distance with five rakes of a freight train.
I) Ayodhya to get UP’s largest ‘pilgrimage’ railway station
Coinciding with the UP government’s ambitious project to develop Ayodhya as a big tourist destination, the Indian Railways is re-developing the holy town’s railway station to cater to one lakh passengers per day.
The station will be developed in two phases. The first phase is expected to be completed by September and will include double-storied building, mela shed, circulating area, two foot overbridges, dormitory, sick rooms, escalators, elevator, food court, air-conditioned retiring room, LED billboards, furnished quarters of railway staff and other facilities.
In the second phase, the Railways will develop a waiting and parking area for pilgrims in the southern part of station after acquiring land from the state government.
Since Ayodhya has double electrified rail track, the Indian Railways is further working to create a single circuit by collaborating Faizabad station, Acharya Narendra Dev Nagar station, Ayodhya station and Ramghat Halt station. Soon, the railway is likely to rename the Faizabad station as Ayodhya Cantt railway station for the circuit.
The idea of creating one circuit is to handle a large fleet of trains coming from the southern and western part of India. Majority of pilgrims are expected to visit Ayodhya via train, although the city will also have a grand international airport close to the railway station.