Indian Railways play a major role in not only catering to the transportation needs of the country, but also in bringing together the diverse geographies and promoting national integration. Being one of the most energy-efficient and affordable mode of transport, the railways are ideal for movement of bulk commodities and long-distance travel. Also, the Indian railway network has the honour of being one of the largest railway systems in the world under a single management.
Indian Railways transports 2.65 million tonne (MT) of freight and 23 million passengers every day. Recent statistics and developments pertaining to this crucial infrastructure segment are discussed hereafter.
The Indian Railways generated revenues of Rs.78, 868.17 crore (US$ 14.66 billion) during April-November 2012-13 as against Rs 66, 150.48 crore (US$ 12.31 billion) during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 19.23 per cent. While the total goods earnings increased by 24.14 per cent, total passenger revenue earnings shot up by 8.97 per cent.
The revenue earnings from other coaching amounted to Rs. 2, 061.30 crore (US$ 383.54 million) during April-November 2012. The total approximate numbers of passengers booked during 1st April - 30th November 2012 were 5700.57 million compared to 5517.86 million during the same period last year, showing an increase of 3.31 per cent.
The cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow into the railways related components sector stood at US$ 258.26 million from April 2000 to November 2012, according to statistics released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
- Thales Canada and Thales India have bagged train signalling and train control contracts from L&T Hyderabad Metro Ltd. Thales Portugal has also received a communications system deal under the same set-up. The Hyderabad metro project will be first in India to run on a communication-based train control system. The administration is determined to bring the best of international players in metro rail technology to place the project across international standards
- Marking the initiation of a regular reefer container train, the first refrigerated container train of the Container Corporation of India was flagged off from Hyderabad to Mumbai port. The first consignment, that symbolised the commencement of operations from Hyderabad to different ports in the country, consisted of seven refrigerated containers containing temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products
- Indian Railways subsidiary Ircon International, Chhattisgarh Government, and South-Eastern Coalfields (SECL), have come together to develop two rail corridors at an outlay of about Rs 4,000 crore (US$ 744.2 million). The project will facilitate movement of passengers and freight, primarily coal and the preliminary work pertaining to it will commence before the end of 2013
- The first 'green building' of the Indian Railways developed by Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN) has been inaugurated recently. The Railways hopes that the building will earn internationally recognised green building certification, 'platinum' rating. The set-up would be used to train newly recruited engineers of the Indian Railways. Apart from the civil engineers who get in-house training in track and bridge, many railway engineers from developing countries as well as other government departments and private organisations will also get the training in the institute
- Recognising the needs of physically challenged persons, the Indian Railways might introduce Braille stickers in trains to make travelling easier for them. The final details for the initiative are under process and might get introduced in the Rail Budget 2013-14. Braille is a writing system which enables visually challenged and partially sighted people to read and write through touch. The Railways has also decided to provide special arrangements in all mail and express trains to facilitate comfortable travelling for such passengers