New Delhi, Sep 10: After the commissioning of Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) between Delhi to Mumbai and Delhi to Howrah, both these routes will be developed as semi-high speed dedicated passenger corridor and trains of private operators will be allowed to be run on them.
Giving this information, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav here on Monday told a press conference that the Railways has started work in this direction under a long term plan, adding that between December 2021, DFC of about 3,000 km will be operationalised. After this, the routes from Delhi to Mumbai and Howrah will be left only for passenger trains.
He said the Cabinet had also approved a plan to speed up 160 km of Grand Quartilateral and Grand Coord routes connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata with each other. This work will be done on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes. After this, the construction of three DFCs for other routes will start, Mr Yadav said, adding that more than 60 per cent of the Railways' traffic runs on the Grand Quartilateral and Grand Coord routes.
Mr Yadav said after adequate capacity has been developed on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes, private train operators will be allowed to run trains on them. He said it will take many years now, but the Railways has started work on the long term plan, adding that it has been decided to run the Tejas Express between Delhi to Lucknow and Mumbai to Ahmedabad as a pilot test or pilot project of private train operations and they include loco pilots, full management within the train except guards, from ticket booking to catering.
Both these trains will be operated by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express will start operations next month.
He also said the flaws and merits of this pilot project will be studied and based on that the service conditions will be corrected. The Chairman of the Railway Board informed that efforts are being made to promote e-catering in Railways so that passengers can get their favorite food. When asked about providing cheap food for poor travelers, he said, 'there is also a plan to give good quality dal rice, chole bhature, rajma rice, poori sabzi or South Indian dishes for Rs 50 only.'
He informed that the Railways has successfully implemented the program of providing free Wi-Fi facility at its 6,000 railway stations. Also, 44 base kitchens have been brought under the purview of CCTV cameras. Referring to the modernisation of the rolling stock i.e. coaches and engines of the Railways, he said that the Railways will focus on exports with modernisation of its production plants. He said the Railways will also modernize LHB coaches.
When asked about the production of trainset of Vande Bharat Express, Mr Yadav said the first rake of Vande Bharat Express running between New Delhi to Varanasi is consuming more energy than the global standards. Due to high energy consumption, operation of only two trains in a section is possible. Therefore, the Railways has decided to first fix that issue and then start production. He said that 15 sets of Train-18 will be made in the year 2019-20 and 25 sets in 2020-21. UNI