The Indian Railways is set to begin its largest track renewal exercise (as indicated by media reports), wherein it is expected to replace 8,000 km of old and depleted lines on trunk routes. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 10,000 crore, and it will include the overhauling of the entire signalling network to improve safety.
These steps are expected to reduce derailments by around 50 per cent in the next two years. Indian Railways has planned to invite global tenders for the procurement of rails. The Ministry of Railways is planning to start work in the coming financial year and complete it by the end of fiscal 2020.
Indian Railways replaces about 2,500 km of old tracks on an average every year. In the current financial year, it plans to renew tracks spanning almost 3,000 km. The ministry is also looking at bringing in advanced signalling systems to allow trains to operate at higher frequency even on busy routes.
Reports also suggest that the Railways is seeking funds worth Rs 15,000 crore for safety related works from the finance ministry in the upcoming budget. The money will be spent on renewal of tracks, repairing of old bridges, upgrading the signalling network and removing unmanned level crossings. The finance ministry allotted about Rs 5,000 crore for the safety fund this financial year.