PASSENGERS WILL be encouraged to choose Railways over airlines to travel between Mumbai and Delhi, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday. According to him, the journey time between New Delhi and Mumbai Central railway stations would be brought down to the extent that it could be lesser than air travel and the time needed to commute between the two airports. “A number of items have been discussed to increase the facilities for passengers. People will hear some good things from railways in the future as the plans unfurl. We hope the plan also encourages passengers to travel between Mumbai and Delhi by train rather than face airline rigor and stress for commute,” he said.
Goyal was speaking at the annual convention of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in Mumbai, where he was sharing his views on the ways in which India could meet its energy needs. “One goes all the way up to the airport in central Delhi, waits in check-in queues for at least an hour, flies in circles for another hour in the planes and then gets in to an (Mumbai) airport where it takes at least two hours driving to reach your home. In comparison, we hope to bring you from New Delhi station to Mumbai Central station in a shorter and more efficient time in the near future,” he said.
The Railways plans to upgrade the network between Mumbai and Delhi so that the journey between the two cities can be finished in 13 hours, three hours less that the current running time for Rajdhani Express. The use of new Linke Hofman Busch (LHB) coaches for this has been proposed. Goyal said that India may not have to wait for a bullet train to see positive changes. “The bullet train project, initiated between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at present, will expand through the length and breadth of the country. Getting technology and getting India connected to what is best in the world in equally important,” he said.
The new suburban time table in Mumbai will see an addition of 80 services in the by the next month. Goyal said that Mumbai would remain the top priority for him. “We were working on plans with the state government to expand the suburban network of railways in terms of available supply. We can rapidly scale up the available supply of facilities for local suburban commute. Mumbai is on the top of my agenda and it has been my priority. You (People) will get to hear some very good things in the coming days as plans unfurl,” he said… Electrifying the entire stretch of the 35,000-kilometre rail network in the country would be the aim, he said.
“Railways will continue to face competition in freight revenue from airfares and roads. We will then use railway land to install solar panels and use solar energy for generating electricity. Through these efforts, we could save Rs 8,000 crore of consumption of diesel. Our aim would be to prepare India for a sustainable future,” he said.