New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a groundbreaking achievement, Indian Railways has demonstrated remarkable progress in electrification, reflecting its commitment to a sustainable and efficient rail network. Since the financial year 2014-15, the electrification of approximately 40,000 Route Km on the Broad Gauge (BG) network has been completed. This represents a significant leap, with electrification rates soaring from 1.42 Km/day between 2004-14 to an impressive 18 Km/day in 2022-23. The current electrification stands at 94% of the total BG network, covering 61,813 Route km. To continue this transformative journey, Rs. 8,070 crore has been allocated for electrification in the fiscal year 2023-24, building on the Rs. 43,346 crore invested during 2014-23.
As of April 1, 2023, a total of 459 railway infrastructure projects are in various stages of planning, approval, and construction across Indian Railways. These encompass 189 New Line projects, 39 Gauge Conversion projects, and 231 Doubling projects, totaling an impressive length of 46,360 km. The estimated cost for these projects is around Rs. 7.18 lakh crore. This massive undertaking underscores the commitment to expanding and enhancing the rail network, catering to the evolving needs of the nation.
The implementation of Kavach, a comprehensive safety and security system, marks a significant stride in ensuring the well-being of passengers and the efficiency of railway operations. Currently deployed on 1465 Route km and 139 locomotives on the South Central Railway, Kavach has made substantial progress on critical corridors such as Delhi–Mumbai and Delhi–Howrah, covering approximately 3000 Route km. The system's main components, including the laying of Optical Fibre Cable, installation of Telecom Towers, provision of equipment at stations and in locomotives, and the installation of trackside equipment, showcase the extensive groundwork.
Certified with a Safety Integrity Level-4, Kavach undergoes further scrutiny by an Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) during commissioning. This meticulous certification process ensures the system's reliability and effectiveness, adhering to the highest safety standards.
Addressing the unique challenge of human-wildlife conflicts, Indian Railways has commissioned works for an Intrusion Detection System to prevent accidents involving elephants. The initiative has commenced on 48 Route km in identified vulnerable sections over the Northeast Frontier Railway. Additionally, considering the vulnerability of locations where elephant movements frequently intersect with tracks, further works have been sanctioned across the Indian Railways network. This initiative reflects a holistic approach to wildlife conservation and railway safety.
The average punctuality of Mail/Express train services from 2020-21 to 2022-23 has been an impressive 88.48%. This commitment to timeliness is crucial in ensuring passenger satisfaction and operational efficiency.
Indian Railways has made substantial strides in environmental sustainability, witnessing a remarkable 44.64% reduction in High-Speed Diesel (HSD) consumption for Diesel locomotives in the year 2021-22, as compared to 2018-19. This achievement underscores the commitment to a greener and more eco-friendly future for rail transportation.
The transformative journey of Indian Railways is evident in its steadfast commitment to electrification, technological advancements with Kavach, infrastructure expansions, and environmental sustainability. These initiatives not only enhance the efficiency and safety of railway operations but also contribute significantly to India's vision of a greener and more interconnected future. The strategic investments and technological evolution showcased in this comprehensive overview underscore Indian Railways' role as a key driver of progress in the nation's transportation landscape.