New Delhi, Feb 1 (IANS) V.K. Yadav, Chairman Railway Board, on Friday said the Indian Railways has got the highest ever capital expenditure of Rs 1.58 lakh crore and the main focus of the national transporter would be safety, capacity creation, improvement in mobility and passenger security.
Speaking to reporters here at the Rail Bhawan after the interim Budget was presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal, Yadav said, “As Finance and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal mentioned in his interim Budget speech that this year has been the safest year so far.”
“And we are focusing on safety, capacity creation, improvement in mobility and passenger safety,” he said.
The Chairman said that the railways eliminated all the unmanned level crossings on its broad guage network. He said that the railways has been working on the automatic train protection system.
Yadav said that the railways has undertaken 43 projects in the northeastern states with an estimated cost of Rs 93,000 crore.
Earlier in the day, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the infra allocation for northeastern region has increased by 21 per cent to Rs 58,166 crore in 2019-20.
Goyal also said that Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have come on India’s rail map for the first time.
Yadav said the budgetary allocation to railways has increased by 21 per cent this year as compared to the last year.
The Chairman said that the national transporter has prioritised track renewal for the safety of the passengers. “Between 2013-14, the rate of track renewal was 610 km, which increased to 4,050 km in 2017-18 and now we have planned to renew 7,000 km of tracks in 2019-20,” he said.
He also said that the Indian Railways plans to complete the Dedicated Freight Corridor by 2021.
Speaking about the engine-less Train 18, now named as Vande Bharat Express, Yadav said, “It has got all the clearances from the concerned authorities and it was now fully ready to be commissioned into service any day.”
“Train 18 will be 35 per cent faster than other trains on New Delhi-Varanasi route,” he said.
He said that the railways has ordered 30 more Train 18 sets.
Railway Ministry officials said that the national transporter is elated by the success of the Train 18, which hit a maximum speed of 180 kmph during trials.
According to officials, the railways has given a revamped target for its coach factories across the countries – the Modern Coach Factory in Rai Bareli, the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and its factories in Kapurthala and Haldia.
The official pointed out that the railway plans to manufacture 200 Humsafar Express coaches, 290 Deen Dayalu coaches, 40 Antyodya coaches and other coaches for metros, electric multiple unit (EMUs) and mainline electric multiple units (MEMUs).