News Brief

Big Expansion Of Vande Bharat Service, Energy Efficient Coaches And Freight EMU On The Cards In Upcoming Budget

Arun Kumar Das

Jan 24, 2022, 11:19 AM | Updated 11:19 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the nation’s much awaited first Vande Bharat Express (@BJP4India/Twitter)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the nation’s much awaited first Vande Bharat Express (@BJP4India/Twitter)
  • Reducing the travel time with a maximum speed of 200 kmph on the existing track while providing better passenger comfort and safety are expected to be the hallmarks of the rail sector in the coming days.
  • 6,500 coaches, 1,240 locomotives and about 35,000 wagons are slated to be the rolling stock programme for the fiscal 2022-23 in the upcoming Budget as Indian Railways is aiming at a complete makeover of its fleet.

    Proliferation of Vande Bharat trains with gradual shifting from loco-hauled trains to engine-less trainsets with distributed power system and introduction of lightweight energy-efficient aluminum coaches equipped with articulate/tilted technology on the existing track are likely features of the Budget 2022-23 as the state-run transporter is gearing up to make itself future-ready for the next generation.

    Reducing the travel time with a maximum speed of 200 kmph on the existing track while providing better passenger comfort and safety are expected to be the hallmarks of the rail sector in the coming days.

    Like trainsets in the passenger sector, railways is also proposing to introduce EMU for freight operation with wagons with distributed power on the lines of the Vande Bharat Express.

    Freight EMUs are operational in Japan and Germany which do not require a separate, heavy-haul locomotive to pull lightweight cargo, thus saving energy.

    It can accelerate and decelerate faster, which means it can stop at shorter distances, and drop off small-size boxes at more locations.

    There will be an announcement of the action plan in the Budget
    to attract small and medium scale businesses with special focus on container operations.

    An increase in the budgetary allocation to Indian Railways could be to the tune of 20 per cent to touch Rs 2.5 lakh crore in the financial year 2022-23.

    There would be a provision of Rs 5,000 crore as a token gesture for promotion of new technologies like Hyperloop and hydrogen fuel-based train in the budget.

    Since the rail sector is badly hit by Covid-19 for the last two years, an increase in capital expenditure is expected so that Railways could serve both passengers and freight customers better, said a senior railway ministry official.

    Railways is also encouraging innovations around smaller containers that can fit into trains as well as trucks. In order to increase its share in loading, the railways would be targeting other types of cargo including lighter weight goods that are largely transported by road at present.

    With the aim of expansion of trainset service, the Budget is expected to provide a big push to more trains on the lines of the Vande Bharat Express, a semi-high-speed train.

    At present, two Vande Bharat Express trains are in operation on the Delhi-Varanasi and Delhi-Katra routes. Vande Bharat has been one of the pet projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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