Port Wings News Network:
Ministry of Railways conducted a one day workshop “Mission Raftaar” aimed at raising the average speed of freight trains and coaching trains in New Delhi. The workshop was inaugurated by Shri Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways & Shri Ashwani Lohani, Chairman,Railway Board. All the members of Railway Board along with General Managers of Zonal Railways & Senior Railway officers were present on the occasion.
On this occasion, Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways & Coal said, “This workshop is an exercise with the top management of Indian Railways to brainstorm about the increase in speed of freight and passenger trains. Also, host of issues ranging from punctuality, rolling stock, removing bottlenecks in terms of traffic, elimination of Unmanned Level crossings were discussed. Indian Railways is enthusiastically taking up all the issues with the determination to find the solution in a time bound manner.” He also stated that coal loading was highest i.e. 555 MT in 2017-18. In last three months, 18.7% increase is witnessed in coal loading. Ministry of Railways & Coal is coordinating well so as to ensure there is no shortage of coal in power plants. He added that demand for coal has also witnessed an increase due to less imports. He complimented Coal India Limited for increasing supply of coal in last three months.
Earlier in the day, in the inaugural remarks, Shri Rajen Gohain, Minister of State for Railways said, “Indian Railways has been emphasizing on capacity building and lot of work has been done, now the time has come to address the bottlenecks so the speeds of trains can be increased. Railway officials have the best expertise to come up with solutions to implement Mission Raftar.”
Shri Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board in his inaugural remarks said, “This workshop aims to address the futuristic needs of Indian Railways. Indian Railways have been prioritising safety of its passengers and Indian Railways have considerably achieved the best figures in safety record. It is the time to ponder over the challenges which have been a constraint in providing speed to the trains, also a strategy needs to be devised & implemented.”
It aims at doubling the average speed of freight trains and increasing average speed of coaching trains by 25kmph over a five year period.
Average freight train speeds are ~24kmph and average passenger train speeds (excluding suburban trains) is ~44kmph.Increasing average speed of trains is considered essential for reducing the travel time for passengers, transit time for cargo, operational cost, improving revenues and railway’s market share.
This is part of the strategy to keep pace with the growing competition from the competing modes viz. road and airlines etc. In the national perspective, rail share of ~45% in the transport basket is considered desirable in view of railways being environment friendly and economical mode of transport.
Major constraints to mobility such as non uniform sectional speeds, level crossings, low speed turnouts, low speed/ acceleration/ deceleration of passenger trains, adequacy of horse power of trains, time response of braking system etc. have been identified and a multi-pronged strategy has been developed to overcome the existing impediments due to fixed infrastructure, movable infrastructure, operational practices and institutional mechanisms.
Specific Actions and Policy Decisions have been initiated on the railways for addressing different factors inhibiting average speeds. Principal routes of the railways on Golden Quadrilateral along with diagonals (Delhi – Mumbai, Delhi – Howrah, Howrah- Chennai, Chennai – Mumbai, Delhi – Chennai and Howrah – Mumbai) which carry approximately 58% of freight traffic and 52% of coaching traffic with a share of only 15% of the network taken up for initial emphasis.