NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is in the process of transitioning to semi-high speed and high-speed network routes only, with train speeds of 160 and 320 kilometres per hour (kmph) across its entire network, a senior official said.
“We have decided to go for only two types of speed on our network,” Railway board chairman VK Yadav said at the International Rail Conference here on Tuesday.
“The existing network will be gradually upgraded to 160 kmph. And then we are going to have high-speed network at 320 kmph,” Yadav said. “The Mumbai-Ahmedabad work is already going on and we have already identified few more sections,” Yadav said, referring to the bullet train project.
The cabinet earlier this year approved the plan for upgrading the speed on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes to 160 kmph, which would require an investment of around Rs 13,000 crores.
“Accordingly, we are positioning ourselves to manufacture coaches suitable for 160 kmph, suitable for 320 kmph for the future,” Yadav said.
“Our vision is to produce all these coaches in India, and therefore we are taking necessary steps required for modernisation of all our production units,” Yadav said.
Yadav added that the Indian Railways will look at multi-tracking on 34,000 route kilometres of high-density railway network over the next three to four years.
“We have decided we will go ahead, in a very focussed manner for multi-tracking,” Yadav said.
Apart from the eastern and western dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) which are to be sanctioned by December 2021, the national transporter has already began work on three more DFCs as it looks to decongest passenger train network.
Yadav said that after commissioning of DFC, Indian Railways’ existing network will be free to run passenger trains and the national transporter will be having enough capacity to introduce more passenger trains. “And therefore, we have decided and we are very soon going to start the bidding process for introduction of private train operators,” he added.
The Indian Railways has identified more routes for around 150 trains and the bidding process for selecting private train operators will begin soon, Yadav said.