Indian Railways manages the world’s largest rail network. The railways are the lifeline of the nation, transporting men and material across the country at the most economical rates. According to IBEF, the Indian Railways route length network is spread over 115,000 km, with 12,617 passenger trains and 7,421 freight trains each day from 7,349 stations plying 23 million travellers and 3 million tonne (MT) of freight daily. The revenues from the passenger segment in the last 10 years expanded at a CAGR of 10.42 per cent, with the total revenue earnings in FY17 totalling to around US$ 7.2 billion. Passenger earnings stood at US$ 6.8 billion during April-February 2017-18. Indian Railways has recorded 5 per cent jump in freight, passenger traffic in the last 8 months. The going is getting tougher and challenging with every passing day due to growth of population and demand from the industry at large. The policy makers and the people on the ground are collaborating like never before making full use of the technology to ensure smooth transportation of men and material. Still lot needs to be achieved by the railways. Sandeep Sharma takes a look at the railways sector in India.
Railways achieved the highest ever freight loading of 1,162 MT in 2017-18 and 1,107 MT in 2016-17. According to Ministry of Railways, the freight earnings have also shot up with a 12% increase expected over the previous year, projected to be Rs. 1.17 Lakh Cr in 2017-18.
Station redevelopment and upgradation is gaining traction and 68 stations are likely to be revamped with a modern look by March, 2019.
Dedicated Freight Corridors commissioning in phases by 2019-20 is likely to boost the economic growth and profitability of railways. Ateli- Phulera section of Dedicated freight corridor contains 10 number of viaducts and major bridges, 127 number of minor bridges, one rail flyover and 118 road under bridges. There are 6 DFC stations in this section and two junctions, i.e. Ateli and Phulera. The section will become operational on 15th August 2018.
Increased focus on cleanliness has led to introduction of Integrated Mechanized cleaning, bio-toilets, Automatic Rail-mounted machine to clear muck, etc.
Average annual capital expenditure in last 4 years more than double of average during 2009-14
59% increase in the average pace of commissioning new lines from 4.1 km (2009-14) to 6.53 Kms per day (2014-18)
Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) fund of Rs. 1 Lakh Cr has been allocated for safety expenditure over 5 years.
The suburban section of the Bengaluru and Mumbai region received a fillip in the Budget 2018-19. The major investments earmarked for Bengaluru suburban system was Rs. 17,000 Crore and Mumbai suburban system is Rs 54,777 crore in Budget 2018-19 for upgradation and better infrastructure.
Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-speed Rail is moving forward and promises to revolutionise Indian transport sector with highest standards of speed, safety and service
India’s First National Rail & Transportation University in Vadodara is likely to open in August 2018.
Digital initiatives promoting transparency and accountability are enhanced. Introduction of E- reverse auction could help save approximately Rs. 20,000 crore. Cashless Ticketing through 'Utsonmobile' app introduced.
DEDICATED FREIGHT CORRIDORS (DFC)
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) is a Special Purpose Vehicle (spv) established under the Ministry of Railways, to undertake planning & development, mobilization of financial resources and construction, maintenance and operation of the Dedicated Freight Corridors. DFC is a massive programme undertaken by railways to create rail infrastructure at an unprecedented level that will enhance the Indian Railways capacity to meet the ever growing freight requirement. Also, this would lead to creation of industrial corridors and logistic parks along its alignment thereby leading to spurt in economic activity.
Some of the salient features of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) Project are as:- Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) is from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1318 Kms Ludhiana to Sonnagar and 538 Kms Sonnagar to Dankuni) and Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC) is from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Terminal (JNPT) to Dadri (1504 Kms); Designed for a maximum speed of 100 Kmph; Substructure designed for an axle load of 32.5 tons and superstructure with axle load of 25 tons; and Capacity to run long haul train of 1500 meter length. Western DFC passes through States of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra and Eastern DFC through States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. 98.7% of land required for both the corridors has been acquired. Overall 97.2% of total contracts have been awarded. The financial and physical progress on both corridors is 47.2% and 49.6% respectively. Both EDFC and WDFCs are targeted for commissioning in phases by year 2020.
The cost of EDFC is estimated at Rs 30,358 crore while for WDFC, it is Rs 51,101 crore. The actual expenditure incurred till May 2018 for EDFC is Rs 16,308.55 crore while for WDFC, it is Rs 22,156.43 crore.
DFCCIL will run freight train at the maximum speed of 100 km/per hour as against the current maximum speed of 75 kms per hour on Indian Railway tracks whereas the average speed of freight trains will also be increased from existing speed of 26 km/ph on Indian Railways lines to 70 km/ph on Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC).
The Western Corridors is being funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), while the Eastern Corridor from Mughalsarai to Ludhiana is being funded by the World Bank.
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP)
The railways are keen to undertake projects under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode and have identified the areas/projects such as: Building/strengthening of rail connectivity; Private container train operations; Building private freight terminals; Wagon investment/leasing schemes; and Redevelopment of stations.
REDEVELOPMENT OF STATIONS
The railways are going ahead with station redevelopment programme on a grand scale. Currently, the following stations have been identified for redevelopment through PPP mode : Charbagh (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh), Ernakulam Junction (Kerala), Gomtinagar (Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh), Habibganj (Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh), Delhi Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Jammu Tawi (Jammu & Kashmir), Kota (Rajasthan), Kozhikode (Kerala), Madgaon (Goa), Nellore (Andhra Pradesh), Puducherry (U.T. of Puducherry), Surat (Gujarat) and Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) railway stations. Bhubaneswar station in Odisha has been taken up for redevelopment through Partnership with the State Government.
MOU WITH MRVC
In the month of May, 2018, the Ministry of Railways had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation Ltd (MRVC), a Joint venture of Ministry of Railways and the Government of Maharashtra, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Railways. MRVC is implementing Rail projects on Mumbai suburban system under Mumbai Urban Transport Projects (MUTPs). The MOU laid down the targets for 18-19 for various important activities of suburban projects. As per targets under MoU, MRVC shall spend Rs. 1464 crore towards completion of various suburban projects of capacity enhancement, safety up-gradation and passenger amenities.
Indian Railways (IR) is going ahead with its plan to harness solar energy in a big way. The railways has planned to set up 1000 MW of solar power plants comprising 500 MW rooftop and 500 MW land based solar plants. The rooftop solar plants will be provided at Railway stations and various service buildings.
INSTALLATION OF CCTV CAMERAS
CCTV cameras are proposed to be installed progressively at all stations except halt stations and passenger carrying coaches except General Coaches subject to availability of funds.
SAFETY INITIATIVES AND ENHANCEMENT
ICF Coaches will be no more manufactured and it has been decided to shift to Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) design coaches. These coaches are safer, lighter in weight, have higher carrying capacity, and higher speed potential, increased codal life and better safety features as compared to Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches.
Vigilance Control Device (VCD) is fixed in all electric locomotives to prevent human error.
Simulator based training is being imparted for enhancing driving skills
Electrical/Electronic Interlocking System is provided to eliminate human error.
Automatic Train Protection System has been implemented.
Interlocking of Level Crossing (LC) Gates to protect L.C Gate with signals to avoid accidents has been done at 11085 gates upto 30.06.2018.
Track Circuiting of stations to enhance safety for verification of track occupancy by electrical means instead of human element has been completed at about 6001 stations upto 30.06.2018.
FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND PARTICIPATION
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) equity inflow from April, 2014 to December, 2017 in Railway sector is US$ million 389.83. The FDI investment has been utilised for manufacturing of Rolling Stock (Coaches and Wagons including its parts), Signalling Equipment and Locomotives (Diesel and Electric) & parts of locomotives. FDI in Railway Infrastructure sector on automatic route in the areas namely:- (i) Suburban corridor projects through PPP; (ii) High speed train project; (iii) Dedicated freight lines; (iv) Rolling stock including train sets and locomotive/coaches manufacturing and maintenance facilities; (v) Railway Electrification; (vi) Signalling systems; (vii) Passenger terminals; (viii) Infrastructure in industrial part pertaining to railway line/sidings including electrified railway lines and connectivities to main railway line; and (ix) Mass Rapid Transport Systems.
The Railways have signed agreements with ALSTOM (France) and General Electric (USA) for manufacturing and maintenance of electric and diesel locomotives. As per contract 800 electric locomotives and 1000 diesel locomotives are to be manufactured and supplied from the factory set up by the companies at Madhepura (Bihar) and Marhowra (Bihar) respectively over a period of 11 years.
In the area of building High Speed rail infrastructure, the Ministry of Railways has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China, France, Spain, South Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, Russia and Germany for cooperation. A Memorandum of Cooperation has been signed with Government of Japan for Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project which includes transfer of technology and Make in India. Foreign Governments and Railways have shown keen interest in the station redevelopment program which includes French Railway (SNCF), Korean Railway, Governments of Federal Republic of Germany, China and United Kingdom.
Indian Railways had entered into partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in July 2016. As part of this partnership, CII is facilitating various railways’ production units, workshops and other units go the Green way and in the process equipping them to green the operations and practices.
VISION AND ASPIRATION
As per Indian Railways Vision & Plans document 2017-2019, Indian Railways (IR) vision is to be a key driver of India's growth and development. IR aims to be the engine for India's economic growth and the engine for India’s economic growth and development by being safe, financially viable, environment friendly and caring for its customers and employees. IR aspires to add 1.5% to India’s GDP by building infrastructure to support 40% modal freight share of India’s economy. IR will provide safe travel by achieving a ‘Near Zero fatality’ performance. IR will develop integrated business solutions to capture new traffic. IR will provide air cooled/temperature controlled services for long distance travel to all segments of passengers in India. IR is committed to leveraging latest technology, employee trainings and infrastructure upgrades on stations and trains to increase customer satisfaction. IR will take a proactive approach to ensure sustainability especially environmental in its pursuits.
Source: Indian Railways
The opportunities are immense and the investment requirement for building and upgrading rail infrastructure is massive. The railways are undertaking several initiatives to upgrading its aged railway infrastructure and enhance its quality of service. The finance minister had announced a capital expenditure of Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the Indian Railways in the Union Budget 2018-19. IR is working towards doubling 18,000 km of lines, 36000 km of track renewal, elimination of 4267 unmanned railway crossings, manufacturing of world-class train sets, massive electrifications works, modernisation of stations, installation of CCTVs, modernisation of signalling systems and provision of better passenger amenities. Lot of investment is at stake and economic activities are likely to be multiplied with the partial commissioning of DFC sectors. The opportunities for private sector participation are increasing every passing day. The improvement in the operational efficiency and sustainability is the key to the growth of the railways in India.