NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has become “self sufficient” in the production of modern LHB coaches to provide more safer travel to passengers, Railway Board member Rajesh Agarwal said on Thursday. Speaking at the Rail India Conference and Export organised by Messe Falrankfurt here, Agarwal said, “We are accelerating towards world class Indian Railways. And we are transforming the class of service provided by the railways.” Emphasing that Indian Railways can be become growth riders for the country, he said, “We are not only improving experience but also transforming experience.”
He said the national transporter has become self sufficient in coach production as it crossed the mark of manufacturing 6,000 coaches last year. “We have stopped manufacturing the old Integral Coach Factory design coaches and moved to the modern German LHB coaches, which are much more safer.” Highlighting the jump in production of coaches by the railway factories, Agarwal said, “What we were able to produce in 18 years, we produced the same number in last two years.” He also said that to contribute to the environment, the railways is adopting the technology of generating power from head on generation system and the railways is planning to convert all its manufacturing units into zero-energy in next two years. On the improvements in the quality of travel for passengers, he said, “We have converted over 100 rakes of Rajdhanis and Shatabdi Express trains to ‘Swarn’ standard last year. This year we are planning to convert over 500 rakes to Swarn standard.”
On the freight transportation, he said, the railways is currently transporting about 1.5 billion tonnes. “We are aiming to increase it by a billion in the coming years,” he said. He said, “We are looking at the gross domestic product to grow. China, Germany and Japan grew because of their manufacturing capabilities.” “So it is up to railways once again, which has earlier heralded the industrial revolution in the country to again give a push to manufacturing. Now we are looking at advanced manufacturing,” he said.
The railway official further said that to push the GDP, the share of manufacturing needs to grow from current 17 per cent to 25 per cent. Talking about the congestion on the golden quadrilateral route, Agarwal said, “The golden quadrilateral route of the country is highly congested and is over saturated.” “Sixteen per cent of rail network is carrying 60 per cent of traffic, so to decongest the route we are working to increase the speed of the trains on the route by bringing the MEMU trains with higher speeds,” he added.
About the role of RailTel in providing digital solutions to the national transporter, Chairman and Managing Director of RailTel Puneet Chawla said that in the next two months about 200 stations will be covered by close circuit television (CCTV) cameras. “We have already provided CCTV coverage at over 500 stations. And now we are working to provide CCTV cameras in over 7,020 coaches,” Chawla said.
He further stated that the RailTel is also working to make all the railway offices paperless in the coming days. The Railtel is also working to provide content on demand in moving trains. He pointed out that the Railtel has developed a system that will help in reducing congestion on the rail network. The pilot project is currently being implemented on four routes.