Ambitious targets set, but execution remains key to reaping benefits
In the first part, we revealed IR’s plans to start work on increasing speeds across the golden quadrilateral. In this part, we take a look at IR’s infrastructure enhancement plans in its roadmap for the future.
Dedicated Freight Corridors:
Multiple deadlines have been set and missed for commissioning of the two dedicated freight corridor lines, the Western DFC and the Eastern DFC. The new roadmap reveals a fresh deadline of December 2021 for full commissioning of both corridors.
Of these, Khurja to Bhavpur section on the EDFC is expected to be completed by December 2019, and Rewari to Palanpur on the WDFC is expected to be ready by February 2020.
The Ministry also plans to conduct feasibility studies on new freight corridors on Delhi – Chennai, Kharagpur – Vijayawada and Mumbai – Howrah routes starting July 2019.
Doubling / Tripling / Quadrupling
The Ministry’s roadmap also sets an ambitious target to complete doubling / tripling / quadrupling of all identified sections on the Golden Quadrilateral or its diagonals by December 2021. However, unless the speed of execution is significantly improved, achieving this target will be a tough task.
Implementation of the master plan for doubling work is planned to be fully completed by 2024.
Improvement of Freight and Passenger Traffic Throughput
With many lines operating well beyond designed capacity, IR also plans efforts to optimize the available capacity for better efficiencies.
To this end, the Ministry envisions making more routes available for double stack container traffic. However, no clear information on routes or deadlines has been provided.
IR also plans to increase speeds of freight trains. Efforts to achieve better speeds have been made for years, with little to show. High-speed wagons and locomotives with better power have been added to the fleet for a long time now.
The Ministry also proposes timetable rationalisation for passenger services to improve occupancy and throughput. One such large-scale exercise was conducted during the tenure of Lalu Prasad Yadav between 2004 and 2009 but resulted in limited changes and benefits.