Railway Board starts work on cleaner, faster train system

Even though a formal Board meeting is yet to take place, as Board chairman Ashwani Lohani was away, given Goyal’s reputation of being a hard taskmaster, work is on to show the minister a blueprint soon.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Published: September 6, 2017 3:48 am
Piyush Goyal, Railway minister, modi cabinet reshuffle 2017, new portfolios, modi portfolios, cabinet reshuffle, nirmala sitharaman, piyush goyal, suresh prabhu, new cabinet ministers, new ministers list, full list of new ministers, modi cabinet, full cabinet of ministers modi, modi full cabinet, india, indian express news Piyush Goyal has been given the charge of Railway Ministry. (Source: PTI Photo)

Increase speed to convert more trains into “super-fast” category, fit bio-toilets in all coaches by January 2018, total electrification of railway network in about a year, drastically bring down turnaround time of trains, and improve the look and feel of coaches. These are some of the items on agenda which the Railway Board has started working on since the brief meeting with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday, sources said.

On Tuesday, the Railway Board remained busy preparing implementation strategy on these items. Even though a formal Board meeting is yet to take place, as Board chairman Ashwani Lohani was away, given Goyal’s reputation of being a hard taskmaster, work is on to show the minister a blueprint soon. Each Railway Board member is also preparing 10 big ideas in respective fields for a turnaround of the state of affairs, sources said.

One of the ideas, sources said, is to bring down the turnaround time of each train at destination from the current six hours to about an hour. At the end of every long-distance journey, each train undergoes primary examination of six hours to be ready for the next run. If this time is reduced to an hour by deploying extra manpower, officials said, operating efficiency and potential for earning will increase manifold. The only challenge is to find the required manpower, they added.

While the present target of retrofitting coaches with bio-toilets is 2019-20, Goyal wants that to be completed by January 2018, sources said.
Increasing speed of trains is one of the issues pushed by PM Narendra Modi and the PMO. Goyal appears to have signalled to the bureaucracy that this task will be a priority, and that he would not like delays in implementation. Accordingly, speed of another 700 or so trains will be upgraded in near future. While many passenger trains will be turned into mail or express trains, many of the latter would upgrade to the “super-fast” category, officials said.

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  1. S
    Sep 6, 2017 at 5:41 pm
    Just by changing the name from express to super fast and I increasing the tivket5price will not make it so. Recently I was travelling from Rourkela to Panvel by a super fast train where there is no concession for senior citizen. But the so called super fast train reached Panvel 9 hours late . So the new railway minister first need to see that all the trains are running dot in time before upgrading it.
    1. P
      Pritis C
      Sep 6, 2017 at 11:43 am
      Honourable Minister of Railways has been misguided by the caucuse of Railway Electrification with all Myths avoiding ROR / ROI. RE will surely increase the higher Operating Ratio ( R O) which means Expenditure more, Earnings lesser. Present RE ( Electrical Member- ML) making public fool for the vested interest of ML, Contractors and others.
      1. V
        Venkateswaran Anand
        Sep 6, 2017 at 10:46 am
        A sure fire recipe for bankruptcy!While on one hand, Railways keep saying that running passenger carrying trains is a losing proposition,the ministry is planning to invest more in passenger trains stead of wasting money on electrification(NOT A SINGLE ELECTRIFICATION PROJECT HAS EARNED THE RETURNS ON INVESTMENT ) to which CAG has repeatedly objected, investment should be made in upgrading tracks and improving reliability of equipment. As it is, manpower productivity of IR is one of the lowest in the world.By inducting more manpower, the losses will increase. I expected more positive steps to increase the share of freight,make railways compe ive with road and make a quantum leap in containerised traffic or roll-on, roll off traffic