New Delhi: Getting a confirmed ticket on the train, especially during festivals or peak seasons, has been a perennial problem for millions of passengers in India. However, this may soon become a thing of the past, as the Railways have embarked on a mega plan to purchase new trains and increase the number of services across the country.
Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has announced that the Railways will spend Rs 1 lakh crore (10 trillion) on this scheme, which will be implemented in the next four to five years. He said that the aim is to provide confirmed seats to everyone, as the number of railway passengers is growing rapidly.
The minister said that the Railways is facing a huge demand-supply gap, as more than 2 crore passengers travel in trains every day, while the Railways runs only 10,754 trains daily. He said that the Railways needs to add at least 3,000 more trains to end the shortage of waiting list in the country.
He said that the Railways has already increased the frequency of 568 trains as compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is not enough to cater to the annual passenger traffic of 100 crore. He said that the Railways expects that by 2030, the annual passenger traffic will reach 1,000 crore, and hence it is necessary to increase the number of trains by 30 percent.
The minister said that the Railways is preparing to replace thousands of old trains, which have low speed and high maintenance costs, with new and modern trains. He said that the Railways will purchase about 7 to 8 thousand new trains in the next 15 years, which will also increase the number of trains by 3 to 4 thousand.
He said that the Railways will also get more vacant routes for running passenger trains, after the completion of the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) for goods trains. He said that the DFC will free up about 6,000 kilometers of track, which are currently used by both passenger and freight trains.
The minister said that the Railways has a long-term vision of expanding and modernizing the Indian Railways by the year 2030, for which it has planned an investment of about Rs 12 lakh crore. He said that the Railways has already spent 70 percent of the Rs 2.4 lakh crore allocated to it in the current financial year. He said that the railway is laying about 16 kilometers of track every day, which will be about 6 thousand kilometers by March.