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New tracks for Indian Railways – check out Minister Suresh Prabhu’s new initiatives

Sanghamitra Kar
8th Aug 2016
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The Indian Railways, the largest rail network in Asia and the world’s second largest network operated under a single management, has introduced a string of new initiatives for the passengers.

The Railway budget presented by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu proposed the introduction of new types of trains ‑ Humsafar, Utkrisht Double-decker Air-conditioned Yatri (UDAY), Gatimaan and Tejas. The fully air-conditioned three-tier Humsafar Express will be launched in the next few months.

Indian railways
Apart from this, the Railway Ministry announced a number of launches last week.

Rail Geet – Dedicating the song to the employees and passengers, Suresh Prabhu during the launch said that the song will give them the spirit of marching ahead and working unitedly for the growth of Indian Railways. The initial wordings of the song are“Bharat ki Rail Mahan hai – Pragati ki Pehchan hai – Bharat ki ye Shan hai – Desh ki ye Jaan hai – Indian Railways, We love Indian Railways.”

“Rail Geet” is meant for enthusing more than 13 lakh Railwaymen and establishing a connect with general populace at large. Composed by music director Shravan and sung by Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurti, this song has been written by a former railway officer Satya Prakash, who worked in various capacities in Indian Railways and retired as Addl. Member (Tourism & Catering), Railway Board.

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The song has two versions – a longer version of five minutes duration and a shorter version of three minutes duration

Modernising through PPP mode – The Railways will redevelop eight stations‑ Vihar, Bijwasan, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Habibganj (Bhopal), Shivaji Nagar (Pune), SAS Nagar (Mohali) and Surat will be redeveloped. The Ministry plans to redevelop ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category stations on ‘as is where is’ basis, by inviting proposals from developers with their designs and business ideas. The cost of it will be met by leveraging commercial development of land and air space in and around the stations.

However, no time fame has been set for this.

Integrated security plan - With the intent to enhance security in the railway stations, the ministry through its integrated security plan will strengthen surveillance mechanism at 202 railway stations. ISS has been conceptualised as comprising close circuit television (CCTV) camera, access control, personal and baggage screening system and bomb detection and disposal system, which together provide multiple checking of passengers and its baggage from the point of entry in the station premises till boarding of train. The anticipated cost of ISS project stands at Rs 385.06 crore.

Capacity creation- The Ministry plans to infuse Rs 8.56 lakh crore over the next five years (2015-2019) and include major areas like Network Decongestion, Network Expansion, Safety related works, rolling stock procurement, station development works, modernisation, speed raising, signalling, traffic facility works, information technology and customer service improvements.

Solar power- For the first time, Indian railways will be setting up solar panels on roof top of coaches, which will help in the train lighting system in 18 narrow gauge coaches and two broad gauge non-air conditioned coaches on trial basis.

Railways will provide solar panel on roof top of general coaches of two number of day running intercity trains and 50 percent narrow gauge coaches plying on Pathankot-Joginder Nagar route in Kangra Valley section and Kalka-Shimla section for extended trials for one year in all weather conditions.

Devices to avoid accidents at crossings - The Railways had earlier developed Train Actuated Warning Device (TAWD) to warn road users about approaching trains at unmanned level crossing gates but could not ensure vandal and theft proof. However, the ministry has now taken steps which ensures the same:

  1. i) RDSO in association with IIT Kanpur is developing prototype vandal and theft proof equipment.
  2. ii) ISRO has also taken up a project based on satellite communication system to warn road users at unmanned level crossing gates. This is currently under development. 

Equipments will be deployed in a phased manner at unmanned level crossing gates after a suitable tamper and theft proof equipment is developed.

Measures to prevent roof-top travelling on trains

The following steps are being to prevent passengers travelling on roof-top of trains:

1.Frequent announcements will be made to educate the passengers.

2.Special awareness campaigns are also being organised to sensitise the passengers about the dangers.

3.Warning boards cautioning people.

4.Regular drives are being conducted and the persons apprehended are prosecuted under the relevant provisions of the Railways Act, 1989.

5.Ladder has been removed from the end panel of all coaches.


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Facilities for poor people in general bogies of trains - The General second class coaches will soon be provided with the amenities like mobile/laptop charging socket, dustbins and Braille signages. Also, in the Railway Budget 2016-17, introduction of Deen Dayalu coach and Antyodaya train services were announced catering specially to general second class passengers. Additional amenities such as water filters, cushioned luggage racks, toilet occupation indication display board, hand holds in doorway area, enhanced mobile charging facility, etc., have been included in the design of Deen Dayalu coach as well as that of Antyodaya service coaches.

Railway projects for doubling and tripling of railway lines- With plans for capacity expansion, Indian Railways is carrying out various projects expeditiously to double/triple/quadruple the existing railway lines and each zone has been allocated money depending on the length and other expenditures. 


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