New Delhi, Dec 31: The year 2019 was the first year in the history of railways in which no human life was lost in train accidents and a world class but cheapest semi high speed train under the name of 'Vande Bharat' was launched and the 114-year-old railway board was restructured.
Indian Railways has recorded zero passenger deaths in rail accidents in 2019. According to official data, while the Railways witnessed staff deaths during the last year, there were no passenger deaths in the last 12 months, the data revealed. This year has been the national transporters' safest year in history, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav told reporters here.
He said the changes in the modalities of railway maintenance, especially the renovation and maintenance of tracks, had made 2019 a year of 'Zero Fatality' and the day was not far when the Railways could achieve the goal of 'Zero Accident'. Mr Yadav said a major change effected has been in the railway maintenance system. The rail was renovated by taking the blocks mechanically and systematically.
The use of machines for rail maintenance was started. As a result, there was no accident due to derailment of a train this year. In other major achievements this year, modernisation of the railway's mechanical system took strides. More than 3,500-kilometre-long tracks were renovated, which is about 27 per cent more than the previous year. Between April and November this year, 495 electric locomotives were built -- 60 per cent more than the previous year. There has been a 40 per cent increase in terms of manufacturing of LHB coaches. He said the Railways had enhanced capital allocation for infrastructure development by Rs 1,60,176 crore over the previous year and 64 per cent was consumed by November. There had been 42 per cent hike in electrification and by 44 per cent for construction of foot over bridges. New lines were opened in the year just ending, doubling and change to broad guage. More than 500 km of lines in the Eastern and Western dedicated Freight Corridors have been opened for traffic.
Work has started on the Rs 13,000 crore plan to increase speed, including modernisation of the signaling system on the trunk routes from Delhi to Mumbai and Kolkata, which will be completed by 2021-end. Mr Yadav said trains on Delhi to Mumbai and Kolkata routes will be able to run on demand and this will eliminate the waiting list of tickets on both routes. Responding to questions about the Railways operating ratio being under constant pressure, he said there were economic challenges before the Railways which would motivate it to find new avenues and the results of all the new measures this year would be visible. (UNI)