he railways, after focusing on hastening the doubling of various tracks and speeding the process on the Dedicated Freight Corridor project, wants to increase the average speed of trains.
“When the freight corridors are commissioned, it will definitely remove some of the congestion, which will help increase the speed,” Rail Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said here.
He was attending an event organised by a local business chamber.
The railways, Prabhu said, were collaborating with various companies from Germany, South Korea, Japan and China to work out the modalities and proceed with increasing the average speed of trains. A Railway Board official said most trains run at an average of 130 km an hour.
Work is also on for a plan to connect coastal areas with the hinterland, to spur cargo movement. The railways ministry has already created a new mobility directorate, to focus on train movement and enhance speed.
“A plan is also being worked out to increase the width of passenger bogeys by 350 mm, which can add one more row of seats,” the official said.
Prabhu added 400 stations across the country were to be redesigned and four modes of collaboration were being readied. “The first one will be between the government and foreign companies. The second will be between the central government and state government, the third will be with private players and the last will be a public-private partnership,” he said.
The long-pending project on a wagon manufacturing plant in Kulti, West Bengal, would soon be concluded. “It will be commissioned very shortly,” said Hemant Kumar, member (mechanical) of the Railway Board.
The factory is a joint venture project between Steel Authority of India and RITES, both government companies. It will be named SAIL-RITES Bengal Wagon Industries. Work began in 2011 after the railways minister and the present chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, inaugurated the project.