Indian Railways (IR) is the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest under one management. Globally, Indian Railways has the fourth largest rail network, after the United States, China and Russia. The Government is making attempt to boost rail connectivity across the length and breadth of the country. With the launch of Train18, the focus has now shifted to improving on the speed which can help in raking additional revenue, decongesting the network, and ultimately benefitting the people and the businesses. To enhance safety aspect, IR is implementing Automatic Train Protection (ATP) Systems in selected sections. These systems helps Loco Pilot to run the train confidently even during impaired visibility. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the Railways sector in India...
Indian Railways have registered a positive growth of 1.8% in the number of passengers carried and 5% in freight traffic in 2018-19 as compared to the previous year. Total capital expenditure has more than doubled from Rs.2.3 lakh crore in 2009-2004 to Rs.5.1 lakh crore in 2014-2019. The Capital Expenditure of Rs.1.58 lakh crore for 2019-20 is the highest ever. The Capex is utilised for undertaking various capacity augmentation works like Dedicated Freight Corridors, High-speed Rail, high capacity Rolling stock, last mile rail linkage port connectivity and Bullet trains. Further, the Ministry of Railways has issued a policy framework for participative models in 2012 for attracting investments in rail connectivity and capacity augmentation projects from sea ports, large mines, logistic parks and other industries/industrial clusters. Under the participative models, 11 projects of Rs.4000 crore have been implemented, 12 projects of Rs.20877 crore are under implementation and 7 projects of Rs.13046 crore have been granted in-principle approval by the rail ministry. Indian Railways have set a goal for 2022 to increase modal share of freight transport from 33% to 45%.
IR has registered 59% increase in the average pace of commissioning of New Line / Doubling/ 3rd & 4th line projects from 4.1 Kms per day (2009-14) to 6.53 Kms per day (2014-18).
Bogibeel Bridge, longest rail-cum-road bridge in India was commissioned in 2018. First indigenous semi high speed train Vande Bharat Express between Delhi and Varanasi launched. Vande Bharat Express is an engine-less self-propelled train which can attain speeds of up to 180 kmph.
According to IBEF, the Indian Railways’ revenues increased at a CAGR of 5.48 per cent during FY07- FY19 to US$ 27.13 billion in FY19. Earnings from the passenger business grew at a CAGR of 5.58 per cent during FY07-FY19 to reach US$ 7.30 billion in 2018-19P. Freight revenue rose at a CAGR of 5.84 per cent during FY07-FY19 to reach US$ 18.20 billion in 2018-19.
India was among the top 20 exporters of railways globally. As of 2017. India’s exports of railways have grown at a CAGR of 27.05 per cent during 2010- 2017 to US$ 303.29 million. Exports of railways in 2018 (up to July 2018) stood at US$ 278.05 million.
The railways is moving forward with improvement works in the following areas: Network Decongestion (including DFC + electrification, Doubling + electrification & traffic facilities); Network Expansion (including electrification); (North Eastern & Kashmir connectivity projects; Safety (Track renewal, bridge works, ROB, RUB and S&T); Information Technology / Research; Rolling Stock (Locomotives, coaches, wagons – production & maintenance); Passenger Amenities; High Speed Rail & Elevated corridor; and Station redevelopment + logistic parks projects.
The railway projects require massive funding. The investment in the railways sector touched Rs.1,21,000 cr in 2016-17, from Rs.93,795 cr (2015- 16), Rs.58,718 cr (2014-15), Rs.45,979 cr (AVG 2009- 14), and Rs.24,307 cr (AVG 2004-09). To sort the funding issue, the railways are forming JVs with State Governments for certain projects. Revenue streams from tariff and commercial exploitation of space rights are being explored. The railways are forming JVs with Public Sector Units (PSUs) who are the primary customers for undertaking the construction/ expansion of lines which can benefit the PSUs. In such cases, PSU companies have to provide funds upfront for undertaking such projects. Apart from this the Indian Railways are trying to tap international low cost pension and insurance funds for 20/30 year period. According to the Government of India estimates, the Railways Infrastructure development would need Rs.50 lakh crore during 2018-2030. Railways are likely to encourage investment more in suburban railways through SPV structures like Rapid Regional Transport System (RRTS) proposed on the Delhi-Meerut route.
PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION
Public-Private-Partnership is proposed for development and completion of tracks, rolling stock manufacturing and delivery of passenger freight services. sector to further boost growth.
DEDICATED FREIGHT CORRIDORS (DFC)
Ministry of Railways has sanctioned two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) at the total cost of Rs.81,459 crore, Eastern DFC (1856 kms) is having approx. 50% loan support from World Bank and the Sonnagar-Dankuni section (538 kms) is to be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Western DFC (1504 kms) substantially funded through soft loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Out of total estimated cost of Rs.81,459 crore, Rs.52,347 crore are being provided through loans from World Bank and JICA.
The DFC project aims to segregate freight and passenger services, decongest existing routes, improve the efficiency of the passenger services, higher transportation output with faster transit time due to increase in average speed of trains. Running of planned double stack container trains and heavy haul trains will further augment to the carrying capacity and thus help increase Railway’s market-share in freight segment and also help in reducing the unit cost of freight transportation.
BULLET TRAIN PROJECT
A High Speed Rail Project is coming up between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, which is being implemented with Japanese technical and financial assistance of 81% of estimated total project cost Rs.1,08,000 crore. The total length of the Project is 508 kms and having 12 stations. The maximum design speed will be 350 kmph and operating speed will be 320 kmph. The project is likely to be completed by 2023.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY MEASURES
Indian Railways has taken number of steps for energy conservation and to increase energy efficiency. Some of the measures taken include:
i) Use of energy efficient 3-Phase technology with regenerative features for electric locomotives, Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMUs), Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs), train sets for better energy efficiency. ii) Introduction of Head On Generation (HOG) system in trains to reduce diesel fuel consumption in power cars. 350 electric locomotives are equipped with hotel load converters.iii) Provision of energy efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting in all Railway installations including Railway stations, service buildings, Residential quarters & coaches for reduction in electricity consumption. iv) Regular energy audits at consumption points - Energy Efficiency studies of 6 Production Units and four (4) Workshops were conducted and upto 15% energy efficiency improvement achieved.
v) Emphasis on the use of 5 Star rated electrical equipments. vi) Regular training of Loco pilots for use of coasting, regenerative braking features and switching off blowers of electric- locos in case yard detention is more than 50 minutes. vii) Trailing locomotive of multi units (MU) hauling empty freight trains are switched off to save energy. viii) Energy consumption on electric locomotives is regularly monitored through microprocessor based energy meters provided in all the electric locomotives and benchmarking is done based on average energy consumption. ix) Monitoring the fuel consumption with respect to trip ratio of diesel locomotive drivers.
x) Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) has been provided in 986 diesel locomotives to reduce fuel consumption when locomotive is idle.
xi) Monitoring of idling of diesel locomotives is being done through remote monitoring and management of Locomotives and trains (called as REMMLOT). 2606 locomotives at present are equipped with REMMLOT.
xii) Use of 5% bio-diesel in traction fuel- Blending of bio-diesel with HSD, to the extent of 5%, to save HSD.
xiii) 20% Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) substitution in DEMUs -CNG usage emits less GHG than liquid fuels.
Indian Railways have the distinction of being the only railway in the world to be using CNG run power cars for passenger transportation. IR has also started conversion of DEMU Driving Power Car (DPC) into dual fuel mode DEMU/DPC with CNG. 25 numbers of DPCs have been converted and are under operation.
LINKING NORTHEAST STATES
The Government of India aims to connect all State Capitals of North Eastern States by 2020 except Sikkim in which case, new line work has been sanctioned up to Rangpo in first phase. The capitals of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura States have been connected by Broad Gauge (BG) rail network. All these Capital connectivity projects being in hilly terrain of Himalayas involve large number of tunnels and major bridges including very tall bridges in a very challenging geological environment. Works of new BG lines have been taken up by Railway by its own fund to connect the remaining Capitals of North Eastern States i.e. Meghalaya (Shillong), Manipur (Imphal), Nagaland (Kohima), Mizoram (Aizawl) and Sikkim (Gangtok).
MADURAI-VANCHI MANIYACHI-TUTICORIN LINE
Indian Railways is implementing doubling of Madurai-Vanchi Maniyachi-Tuticorin (Thoothukudi) line covering 160 Km with electrification. An expenditure of Rs.341.83 crore has been incurred upto March, 2019 and outlay of Rs.170 crore has been provided for the year 2019- 20. On this project, earthwork, bridge works, ballast supply etc. on entire stretch have been taken up. During 2019-20, Kadambur-Tattapparai (30 Km) section is targeted for commissioning and Madurai- Kalligudi (30.92 Km) & Kalligudi-Satur (38.26 Km) sections are planned for commissioning during 2020-21 and remaining portion of the project is planned for commissioning by 2021-22.
MUMBAI URBAN TRANSPORT PROJECT PHASE-IIIA
The Mumbai suburban railway network on Central and Western Railways has 385 route kms. There are five corridors, two on Western Railway, two on Central Railway and one on Harbour Line. Everyday about 8.0 million people travel in the suburban sections in more than 3000 train services. in March 2019, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved Phase-IIIA of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The total estimated cost of the project will be Rs.30,849 crore with completion cost of Rs.33690 crore. The project is likely to be completed in five years. The project aims to introduce AC coaches, extension and creation of rail corridors, decongest entry / exit at the stations, increase in safety, capacity and efficiency of suburban network by introduction of Communication Based Train Control System, etc.
THIRD RAIL LINE BETWEEN NARAYANGARH AND BHADRAK
Indian Railways plans to undertake the construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal & Bhadrak in Odisha covering 155 km length at a total cost of Rs.1,866.31 crore. The project is slated for completion during the year 2023-24.
UJJAIN-FATEHABAD GAUGE CONVERSION PROJECT
The gauge conversion of Ujjain-Fatehabad (22.96 Km) meter gauge to broad gauge has been sanctioned in the year 2016-17 at a cost of Rs.104.82 crore as Material Modification to Ratlam- Mhow-Khandwa-Akola gauge conversion project. Land acquisition has been taken up. Earth work, blanketing, bridges work etc. are in different stages of execution in the available land. The section is targeted to be completed in current financial year 2019-20.
BG LINE CONNECTIVITY FROM SIVOK TO RANGPO
Indian Railways is implementing the broad gauge line connectivity project from Sivok to Rangpo (44.39 km). The project was sanctioned in 2008- 09. So far, the expenditure of Rs.554.46 crore has been incurred on the project upto 31.03.2019. The project is delayed as the West Bengal Government has not given encumbrance free land (77.78 Hectare forest land after cutting of trees) to Railway due to which, even the timely finalization of tenders is getting affected.
RAILWAY STATIONS UPGRADATION
The Indian Railways have identified stations for upgradation based on various feasibility studies conducted. These stations will be taken up for redevelopment based on financial viability in phases, especially the stations located in major cities, pilgrimage centres and important tourist destinations. The station redevelopment work is in progress at Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Habibganj (Bhopal) station in M.P. The contracts for redevelopment have been awarded for Gomtinagar, Charbagh (Lucknow) and Puducherry stations.
As per the flash report of the Statistics and Programme Implementation Ministry (MOSPI) for December 2018, 205 railway projects are facing cost overrun amount to Rs.2.21 lakh crore. The original cost of these projects was `1,68, 116.34 crore which is now anticipated to be Rs.3,89,745.97 crore. MOSPI have monitored 367 rail projects in December 2018 and reported that 94 of these projects are facing time overrun.
The challenges are many, and lot needs to be done in the rail segment. To attract large investment, IR is likely to implement projects through public private participation (PPP) mode. Lots needs to be done on improving operational efficiency, providing better passenger amenities, and harnessing the power of speed in moving people and goods across the country.