Railways to improve capacity, speed by modernising signal system

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: After kicking up efforts for high speed and semi-high speed trains, Indian Railways (IR) is now planning to revamp the signal system on existing lines, to improve capacity and speed. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said in a programme here yesterday that since the high speed railway corridors are very costly affairs, it requires huge investments from private or foreign partners.

This would be a different path but semi high speed at 160-200 kmph is possible on existing tracks by improving them substantially, he added.

While indicating that high speed railway would be possible on foreign investments only, Mr Prabhu said today, IR is in a miserable situation.

The operating ratio is on an alarming level. There are many projects worth Rs six-eight lakh crores pending.

Besides safety measures, modernisation of stations, rolling stocks and signal system, IR requires Rs 10 to 12 lakh crore, said the Minister.

He also announced that his ministry would bring a white paper on overall situation of railways, which would help to diagnose the real challenges before it and find out a way to deal with them.

On claims and allegations about privatisation of railways, Mr Prabhu categorically rejected them and said that he is never in for privatisation of railways.

Privatisation is an ideological debate and Railways is only focusing on the outcome of passenger services, he added.

“Wherever we feel necessary, we would get private investment. Recently, Railways has rolled out very clear sectoral policy guidelines for inverters and different model agreement drafts.” He emphasised that getting investments by these ways, does not mean privatisation at all. The Minister clarified that the government has announced 100 per cent FDI in new railway projects like High speed railway, dedicated freight corridors and private lines for port connectivity. However, any step would be taken only after taking all stake holders into confidence, including railway trade unions, Mr Prabhu added.