Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Sunday said electrification of rail lines will be fast-tracked and doubled in the next five years. He said the railways reached a new record this year in terms of “electrification, laying of new lines, track-doubling work and fitting of bio toilets”. “The number of bio toilets installed in trains in the last one year matches the figure of the past six years,” he told a gathering after launching various infrastructure-related initiatives of Konkan Railway in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
“The Railways has electrified 48 per cent of the country’s tracks and aims to double the same in the next five years. Only broad-gauge lines will be covered under conversion drive. When Railways converts narrow and metre-gauge track into broad gauge ones, they will be electrified too. “The drive will reduce the use of diesel, cut down cost, protect environment and help in smooth movement of rail traffic,” the Minister said.
Prabhu said the government is also focusing on track-doubling work. “In the last two-and-a-half years, we have sanctioned 12,500 km of track-doubling work. In the last 75 years, we covered only 15,000 km.” The project will reduce congestion, end train delays, improve safety and ensure fast move of passengers and freight,” he said. The minister said the number of trains running on Konkan Railway route would be doubled in the few years.
“Konkan Railway has been witnessing a significant change in the last few years. The Konkan Railway services have completed 25 years. In the next few years, the number of trains on the route would be doubled,” said Prabhu. “We are working on digitalizing the entire Railway network. We are launching enterprise resource planning (ERP) programme under which more than Rs 10,000 crore would be invested,” he said. “The digitalisation drive will bring huge improvement in operations, reduce inefficiency and also reduce cost,” the minister added.