Railways draws up big plan to double its loading capacity by 2024, calls for ‘reinvention’

As the Indian Railways continues to rely more on freight train movement to generate revenue, it has now drawn up an ambitious plan to almost double its loading capacity in the next four years, ThePrint has learnt.

The plan needed to achieve “2,024 MT (metric tonne) loading in 2024” was mentioned in a letter dated 3 November that was sent by the Railway Board to general managers across all divisions and zones. At present, the Railways’ loading capacity is about 1,200-1,300 MT.

To double up its loading, the board has listed several steps needed to boost infrastructure on a priority basis.

They include doubling of tracks on the 11,000 km high density network (HDN) and 23,000-km highly utilised network (HUN), and tripling and quadrupling of 3,000 route km on the high density network.

Upgrade of the speeding on the Golden Quadrilateral to 130 kmph by December next year, and the entire HDN and HUN by 2024, upgrade of the speed of New Delhi-Mumbai and New Delhi-Kolkata freight trains to 160 kmph by 2024, identifying all signifying work by March 2024, commissioning the Eastern and Western Dedicated Freight Corridors by June 2022, and completing at least 146 railway electrification projects by December 2024 are among the other steps.

“As is apparent, the vision is ambitious and it will require the Indian Railways to reinvent itself to achieve the vision,” said the letter by the Member, Infrastructure, Railway Board, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint.

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