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Indian Railways (IR) is faced with a number of challenges. For speedy capacity creation, IR recognizes the importance of enhancing project execution capabilities. Considering the enormity of the resources required for plan investment in rail infrastructure, and given the limitation of public resources, efforts are on by IR to generate sufficient internal surplus, and tap innovative methods of financing, to meet these needs.

The focus is on prioritizing investments in important areas like dedicated freight corridors, high-speed rail, high capacity rolling stock, last mile rail linkages and port connectivity, and attracting private and FDI investments to supplement available resources. Major initiatives taken by the GoI are as given below:

  • Various measures to improve passenger amenities, infrastructure and services, and initiatives under Make in India, freight initiative, resource mobilisation initiative and green initiatives, etc. High-speed communication network put in place with the help of 48,818 route kilometres. Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, has developed a first-of-its-kind stainless steel three-phase energy-efficient AC-AC
    transmission 1600 HP DEMU train set.
  • Mobile application for freight operations – Parichaalan – has been introduced.
  • IR is installing solar panels on rooftops of coaches for the train lighting system. Solar plants of 50 MW to come up on the rooftops of IR buildings.
  • Diamond Quadrilateral network of High Speed Rail connecting major metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai) to come up.

High Speed Train Project: The feasibility report of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was approved by the GoI in December A new special purpose vehicle with 50 percent equity participation from the Ministry of Railways and 50 percent from the state governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat will be set up to implement the project. Major features of the project are as given below:

  • Project completion cost is approximately Rs. 97,636 crore (including price escalation, interest during construction and import duties) – average per km cost of construction works out to be Rs. 140 crore. To be completed in 7 years.
  • Japan’s ODA (official development assistance) will be Rs. 79, 165 crore (81 percent of project cost) for 50 years with 0.1 percent interest and a 15-year moratorium.
  • Total length of the proposed corridor will be 508 km between the Bandra Kurla complex in Mumbai and Sabarmati/ Ahmedabad in Gujarat – to cover 12 stations with a maximum design speed of 350 kmph (with a 320 kmph operating speed).
  • Sixty-four percent of the corridor will be constructed on the embankment, 25 percent viaduct, and 6 percent tunnel, with a standard gauge.
  • To have 10-car trains (750 seats) in the beginning and 16-car trains (1200 seats) in the future. Thirty-five trains per day each way will operate by 2023 and will go up to 105 trains per day each way in 2053.
  • It will have approximately 36,000 daily users per day (both ways) in 2023, which will go up to 186,000 per day (both ways) or 68 million per annum by 2053.

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