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Railways targets coaches better than Vande Bharat, may put cadre merger on back burner

The Times of India logo The Times of India 01-08-2021 Dipak K Dash
a large long train on a steel track © Provided by The Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has set the target to induct world class coaches in trains which will be superior to the premier ones in Tejas and Vande Bharat. The new railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has set three other priorities, large scale roll out of the train collision avoidance system (TCAS), which is being branded as “Kavach”, station redevelopment and high speed or bullet trains.

Sources also said the plan for the controversial merger of eight railway services into a single service of IRMS could be put on back burner. There had been representations against the proposed merger of services from all quarters of railway officers.

The national transporter is also reworking the contract documents for station redevelopment projects and for private trains. The two ambitious projects have been moving slowly and there was a lukewarm response to the tender for private trains.

“There is a need to revise the contractor documents or MCAs, which can be made win-win for railways, private investors and passengers. There are ample funds available across the world for investment. We are confident that Indian players will be the first ones to invest in the sector. You will see results in the next 3-4 months,” said an official.

He added the technology and quality of coaches in railways has undergone sea change to make them safer and more comfortable for passengers. The transition so far has been from conventional ones to LHB, then Tejas and Vande Bharat, which can run at maximum speed of 180 kmph. “India is the ninth country to manufacture a train that can run at 180 kmph. Our target is to introduce more modern coaches,” the official said.

Putting safety as the top priority, the railways has also set an internal target to put the Kavach on 10,000 route km of railways by 2024, which is more than double of the earlier target. The indigenous product will be upgraded for exports.

Meanwhile, Vaishnaw has set monthly targets for his new ministry. “Now there is a transformation in work culture. Every officer and stakeholder concerned is getting an opportunity to give suggestions and all this is happening in open meetings. There is focus on making contract documents, which have no scope for subjective interpretation,” said another official.

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