NEW DELHI: The government has drawn up a Rs 2.8 lakh crore revamp plan for Indian Railways – Re-Build Railways – that hinges on safety, including supply of track detection machines from Australia, redevelopment of 65 stations and raising the average speed of trains.
Indian Railways is tying up with an Australian company called Track IQ that will provide technology and equipment, including a sensor-based system to detect rail cracks.
The tie-up will be announced on Wednesday.
“Making Railways safer is the first priority. We are tying up with Australia to get the technology. We have set the target to reduce accidents by 50% in next two years,” a top rail official said. The national transporter will also make its research wing, SHRESTHA, operational at the earliest. The research wing will focus on piloting the upcoming global rail technology that will minimise accidents.
The rail ministry has changed tracks and now wants to focus on elements that can deliver tangible results quickly. Almost Rs 18000 crore are being spent on making Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata rail corridors semi high speed.
The Re-Build Railways plan also includes retrofitting 40,000 coaches and making them safer and also making trains discharge free in a year by installing almost 50,000 bio-toilets.
“Ongoing projects such as the 3,300-km dedicated freight corridors will also be made operational within a year and a half. The corridors being constructed at the cost of Rs 1lakh crore will increase the average speed of freight trains from the current 25 kmph to 70 kmph and would substantially reduce the rail freight tarrifs,” the official said.
Railways claims that in the last four years, it has spent almost Rs 4 lakh crore on infrastructure creation and modernisation, against Rs 4.9 lakh crore that was spent between 1947-2013.
The national transporter has sanctioned 13,000 km of new rail lines in last three years against commissioning of 8,000 km that was done in 30 years before 2014.
With the 2019 elections in sight, the government has asked all infrastructure ministries to focus on early completion of projects and undertake new ones that could be made operational by 2019.
Trackside Intelligence Pty Ltd, or more commonly Track IQ, is an international manufacturer and supplier of railway equipment and services for the purpose of measuring operating conditions. After developing the (Bearing Acoustic Monitor) and WCM (Wheel Condition Monitoring) systems, Track IQ formed a partnership with Siemens to install the systems in the UK and Continental Europe.
Although Track IQ operates out of Australia, more than 120 of their systems have been installed around the world. The company currently services 12 countries, including China, Australia, France, USA, New Zealand, UK, Norway, Mexico and Brazil.