Indian Railways has set a target to renew 3,200 kilometres of track in the current financial year, stated Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
It is unclear how much of this target has been achieved so far in the first five months given the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.
17,985 km of track has been renewed over the past five years starting from financial years 2015-16 to 2019-20 , according to the minister’s reply.
In the same period, 4,727 bridges have been repaired, rebuilt, strengthened or rehabilitated on the Indian Railways’ network, the statement adds.
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Minister Goyal also explained that track due for renewal is identified on the basis of criteria laid down in the Indian Railways Permanent Way Manual. Some of the criteria listed are traffic carried on the track, age of the track, condition, incidences of rail fracture, corrosion, wear and maintainability of the existing track.
In case of Metre Gauge or Narrow Gauge lines that are sanctioned for gauge conversion, track renewal work is taken up after taking into consideration progress of gauge conversion work, he added.
Similarly, bridges are considered high priority in terms of safety on Indian Railways. All bridges are inspected twice a year and assigned an Overall Rating Number. Based on this rating, rebuilding or strengthening of the structure is undertaken, the Minister clarified.