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.