Indian Railways has been upgrading its infrastructure – from new world-class train sets to airport-standard railway stations and more! In 2018-2019 financial year, the national transporter achieved several firsts on this count. There is an increased focus on offering Indian Railways passengers more value for money at every step – booking IRCTC train tickets, waiting at railway stations and finally undertaking the train journey. We take a look at 5 remarkable firsts by Indian Railways in the last financial year:
1) Record number of coaches: The three coach factories of Indian Railways – Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and Modern Coach Factory (MCF) made a new record together by manufacturing as many as 6037 coaches, breaking last year’s record of 4470 coaches. The growth in coach production during 2018-2019 has been 35 per cent more than the previous year. These coach factories manufactured various coaches including power, pantry, other cars along with many new products in train-set, MEMU (Mainline Electric Multiple Unit), EMU (Electric Multiple Unit), LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch), special category including Vande Bharat Express.
2) Vande Bharat Express: India’s first engine-less semi high-speed train set – Train 18 named Vande Bharat Express was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the month of February. The train, which can attain a maximum speed of 180 kmph runs between New Delhi and Varanasi, completing a journey in around eight hours. Manufactured under Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ programme, the train boasts several modern features including European-style seats, disabled friendly toilets, wheelchair parking spaces, fully sealed gangways, automatic doors with sliding footsteps among others. The roll out Train 18 marks a shift in passenger experience and also suggests Indian Railways’ focus towards manufacturing world-class train sets.
3) IRCTC website upgradation: The official website of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been revamped with a focus to serve passengers/users better. The IRCTC website, irctc.co.in, has been upgraded with many new features. Some of the new features that were added to make online ticket booking easier include the waitlist prediction feature. Also, now people can easily check trains as well as the availability of seats without logging in.
4) World-class railway stations: For the first time, Indian Railways has started to transform its stations into world-class airport-like hubs. In 2018-19, several railway stations including New Delhi railway station, Jaipur Junction, Lonavala station, Haridwar Junction, etc. were beautified and redeveloped with various modern features such as LED lights, lifts, escalators, modular water kiosks, water ATMs, modular catering kiosks, stainless steel benches, etc. Also, development work is being carried out at Gandhinagar and Habibganj stations to turn them into world-class airport-standard stations.
5) 12,000 HP electric locomotive: As part of a 3.5 billion euros Make in India deal, Indian Railways got its first 12,000 HP electric locomotive from Alstom. The electric locomotive was developed at Alstom s factory in Madhepura, Bihar. With the launch of the electric locomotive, Indian Railways made a big achievement in order to go green and reduce the carbon footprint. The high-powered electric locomotive has been developed will an aim to run on dedicated freight corridors, pulling freight at much-improved speeds. Interestingly, the deal under which the locomotive has been rolled out is said to be the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project in Indian Railways.