Aimed at decongesting the existing rail network, the Indian Railways will commission 2800 km of new track in the current year. Railways have plans ready to lay new tracks besides starting work on three new freight corridors that will further take the load off the tracks and increase the average speed of passenger trains. Railway officials said it is targeted to lay 7 km of tracks every day in the year 2016-17 as compared to the average of 4.3 km per day during the previous UPA regime.
The laying of new track including doubling and trebling is being undertaken in some of the most saturated corridors such as Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah, Delhi-Chennai, Howrah-Chennai Ahmedabad-Rajkot. Officials said the priority is on decongestion of the choked corridors to facilitate faster movement of trains and for this we have used new ways to speed up the process.
Indian Railways also plan to begin work on three freight corridors, namely East West corridor, North South corridor and East Coast corridor. These new dedicated freight corridors (DFC) will ensure faster movement of goods besides taking the load off existing rail network. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that the average speed of superfast trains will be increased by up to 25 km per hour in the next three years. "Laying new tracks, replacing old ones and doubling and tripling of lines are essential to clearing the traffic bottlenecks. Traffic congestion also leads to delay in transportation of goods which is a major source of railways' earnings," said a senior Railway Ministry official. While North-South DFC is being planned to connect Delhi to Chennai, East-West DFC will link Kharagpur with Mumbai and East Coast DFC will connect Kharagpur to Vijayawada.These three additional DFC will be funded through innovative financing mechanism including PPP. Railways have already done a feasibility study for these three corridors. Currently, work is going on Western and Eastern DFC. While Western corridor is being funded by Japan, the Eastern is World Bank funded. Both Western and Eastern corridors will be electrified routes.
Presenting the budget for the year 2016-17, the Railway Minister had emphasized on connectivity with ports in India. While the railways have already commissioned Tuna Port in Gujarat; rail connectivity projects to ports of Jaigarh, Dighi, Rewas and Paradip are under progress. Officials said rail connectivity for the ports of Nargol and Hazira will be executed under PPP model in 2016-17.