Will increase passenger capacity on railways by 3 billion: Vaishnaw

The railway board has been directed to formulate an action plan on all the policy initiatives discussed by June 15

Ashwini Vaishnaw

Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

Dhruvaksh Saha New Delhi

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After a ministry-wide Chintan Shivir held over two days, Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said an action plan was in the works to augment passenger traffic on Indian Railways to 11 billion travellers a year.

Current capacity of the railway network was 8 billion, but the demand was for an additional 3 billion, Vaishnaw said, adding that the Centre’s aim was to eliminate waiting tickets in rail travel.

Passenger and freight trains in India are riddled with delays, largely due to infrastructural shortcomings of tracks that allow for slower speeds even if the locomotives are capable of higher speeds, such as Vande Bharat.

“Productive discussions were held on how to bring half of the rail network (30,000 route kilometres) on a sectional speed of 160-180 km per hour (kph),” Vaishnaw said.

Meanwhile, forward planning has been adopted keeping estimates of future traffic and congestion points on the railway network, so that these choke points can be avoided in time.

The railway board has been directed to formulate an action plan on all the policy initiatives discussed by June 15.

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The minister also mentioned that the design for Vande Metro has been finalised and work is on to decide routes on which the intercity shuttle services will ply.

Work is also underway to increase sectional speed on some sections beyond 180 kph, a top railway official at the event said. As it moves one step closer to aluminum Vande Bharat trains, the railways now aims to operate future Vande Bharat trains at over 200 kph.

“Standard gauge offers technology for high speed operations, but the concerns that we can’t achieve speeds higher than 180-200 kph on our broad gauge network are unfounded. It is doable,” the official said.

First Published: Jun 2 2023 | 10:05 PM IST

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