Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has announced series of measures to tone up
rail safety including priority allotment of Rails to track renewal over
construction of new lines or gauge conversions. It has also been proposed to
increase the speed of 700 trains from November first and complete
electrification of entire railway network in five years.
Announcing at his maiden press conference after taking over as Railway
Minister on September 28, Mr. Goyal said the railway administration will lay
tremendous stress on field inspection of railway tracks by officers.
The announcements which prioritize rail safety come in the wake of spate of
railway accidents in Uttar Pradesh which led to the resignation of previous
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.
The Railways will give overriding priority for granting maintenance blocks
and eliminate in a time bound manner the remaining unmanned level crossings.
By next year, the railways will abandon ICF built coaches in favour of LHB
coaches. Production of ICF coaches has already been stopped and the existing
ones will be phased out by next year. In case of rail accidents casualties are
higher in ICF built coaches as they tend to roll over one another.
Mr. Goyal also announced the speeding up of seven hundred trains with
effect from November one. As many as 48 trains are being converted from Mail
Express to Superfast Category.
It has also been decided to complete the electrification of the entire
railway network by the next four to five years. Railway expects to save a sum
of Rs Ten thousand crores by way of energy costs. It will also reduce pollution
and dependence on imported diesel.
About twenty railway stations will be modernised soon with superior
infrastructure and passenger facilities including hotels, eateries, shopping,
multi modal transport hub.