NEW DELHI: Indian Railways has proposed a Rs 4.2 lakh crore mega plan for multi-tracking of seven high density corridors – Delhi-Howrah, Mumbai-Howrah, Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Guwahati, Delhi-Chennai, Howrah-Chennai and Mumbai-Chennai – for introduction of faster passenger trains and quicker movement of freight.
In a proposal for the Union Cabinet, the railway ministry has said that the programme spread over the next 10 years, from 2024-25 to 2023-34, will involve doubling and laying of third and fourth line on different stretches of these corridors according to the traffic demand. The plan also includes construction of flyovers and underpasses. The proposal has been circulated at a time when the railways plans to introduce more modern Vande Bharat trains with sleeper facility that have maximum design speed of 220 kmph.
TOI has learnt that railways has identified 213 such projects that need to be undertaken on these corridors, which have breached the saturation point, and 200 such works will be completed in the first phase. For fast-track decision-making, the transporter has proposed more financial powers to the Railway Board and the minister.
Sources said the main reason behind the proposal to pump in huge government investment in the seven corridors is to increase capacity for running more trains. While the combined length of these corridors is 10,969 km and is barely 16% of the entire Indian Railways network, these cater to 41% of traffic. This has resulted in huge pressure on these corridors, leaving hardly any room for introduction of more trains or increasing their speed, sources said.