New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): India's national transporter Indian Railways is now planning to utilize the lockdown period in carrying out effective and productive activities to enhance the capacity of its infrastructure. Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a recent meeting conducted with the senior management said that they were not utilizing the lockdown period well enough for long-term planning.
He has identified as many as 19 areas to work on for critical policy intervention which includes increasing train speeds and the ability of railway tracks to handle trains with higher speeds, the use of artificial intelligence (AI), reducing the turnaround time of trains, identifying more items to carry as freight, increased surveillance of its operations through CCTV cameras, etc. According to the plan, the five busiest Railway routes of New Delhi-Mumbai, New Delhi-Howrah, Howrah-Mumbai, New Delhi-Chennai, and Chennai-Howrah are likely to be taken up in the first phase of this exercise.
This exercise involves identifying the need for each train on these railway routes as well as justifying the existence of every train that is added to the system based on pre-set operational principals. This move will increase the efficiency of the Indian Railways network and its services. In the agenda, it has also been included to increase the average speed of train services by upgrading sectional speed on the railway network.
The Railway will also carry out a study on other key areas like how much time a train takes to be ready, after reaching its destination, for the next journey after completing its washing/cleaning/maintenance, etc. Presently, a train has an average of six hours’ time in their home bases to turn around for their next journey. Sources said that the agenda also includes the places in the railway system, which under the surveillance of CCTV cameras, should be monitored from the common software platform (Rail Drishti). Indian Railways is also supposed to work out on reducing the fuel cost, review procurement of wagons, as well as review the Railway Act with respect to monetization or utilization of railway land.